Signing Day 2019 has come and gone, which means it’s time for me to review my Way (Way) Too Early Guess at Notre Dame’s Recruiting Class of 2019.
Of the 23 recruits (I was just over on the actual total number of 22) I predicted would end up signing with Notre Dame this cycle, only 9 actually ended up in this class. Obviously I got some things wrong, and I got some things right. Mostly, I got things wrong. But I will go over all of that here.
The Predicted Class
(Correct predictions are bolded, players in italics were committed at the time of the prediction)
QB — Cade McNamara
RB — Cesar Mellusi, Kyren Williams
WR — Kendall Abdur-Rahman, Bryce Kirtz, Cornelius Johnson
TE — Hudson Henry
OL — Quinn Carroll, John Olmstead, Bryan Hudson
DT — Mazi Smith, Jacob Lacey, Hunter Spears
DE — Joseph Anderson, Adam Berghorst, RJ Oben
LB — Cameron Williams, Keith McGuire
CB — Kenyatta Watson, KJ Wallace
S — Kyle Hamilton, Litchfield Ajavon
K/P — Anthony Pecorella
(Again, correct predictions are in bold)
QB — Brendon Clark
RB — Kyren Williams
WR — Kendall Abdur-Rahman, Cam Hart
TE — N/A
OL — Quinn Carroll, John Olmstead, Zeke Correll, Andrew Kristofic
DT — Jacob Lacey, Hunter Spears, Howard Cross
DE — NaNa Osafo-Mensah, Isaiah Foskey
LB — Osita Ekwonu, JD Bertrand, Jack Kiser, Marist Liufau
CB — Isaiah Rutherford, KJ Wallace
S — Kyle Hamilton, Litchfield Ajavon
K/P — Jay Bramblett
What I Got Right
Offensive line was also a pretty decent prediction. This OL haul was a tad bigger than I expected, but two correct predictions plus two other guys that were listed in the “other names to keep an eye on” section is solid.
I was also correct in predicting a solid haul of defensive linemen, but I actually undersold it a bit — hooray for overachieving!!
Where It Went Wrong
Well for starters, our already-committed quarterback, Cade McNamara, got cold feet at the prospect of being sandwiched in between two elite quarterbacks (Phil J and Drew Pyne). He has since signed with some school that I can’t quite remember the name of — though I’m sure it’s a pretty crappy place.
For some reason, Notre Dame cooled a bit on 4-star running back Cesar Mellusi. He seemed ready to commit to the Irish but ended up doing very well for himself and signing with the national champions.
Wide receiver was a big projection on my part that I only ended up getting partially-right. KAR signed with the Irish but Bryce Kirtz ended up at Northwestern while Cornelius Johnson signed with Michigan.
Things were going very well between Hudson Henry and Notre Dame at the time of my class prediction, but things started to fade with him not long after. He ended up signing with his in-state Arkansas Razorbacks over the Irish and Stanford. After landing early commitments from two of the top tight ends in the class of 2020, Notre Dame decided not to push for one in the class of 2019.
Notre Dame decided they had bigger fish to chase after (and eventually reel in) than Bryan Hudson, and he committed to Virginia Tech.
Notre Dame was the top team for Mazi Smith for basically all of last spring, but then everything mysteriously ended between the two parties. Scuttlebutt on the interwebs were that Mazi and his family wanted certain things off the field that the Notre Dame staff just wasn’t comfortable with, but this of course hasn’t been confirmed anywhere. Mazi ended up signing with Michigan, and the Irish ended up with 4-star Howard Cross instead.
I refused to add NaNa Osafo-Mensah into my prediction — even though the Irish led for him at the time — for the sake of not jinxing it. You’re welcome. But overall, I whiffed pretty hard at defensive end. Joseph Anderson would have picked Notre Dame, but he wasn’t able to get through admissions — blast you academic standards!! Adam Berghorst and RJ Oben ended up at Michigan State and Duke respectively. I would have gladly traded those two for the other guy the Irish were actually able to land anyway — Isaiah Foskey.
I totally whiffed again at linebacker. I guessed that the Irish would land an in-state prospect, but I guessed the wrong one. Cameron Williams never received an offer Notre Dame. And the Irish cooled on Keith McGuire around the time Clemson started gaining steam with him.
The Irish led for blue-chip cornerback Kenyatta Watson following his junior day visit to South Bend, but Texas came on strong and eventually earned his pledge. In his stead, the Irish landed 4-star Isaiah Rutherford (another guy that was in my “other names to keep an eye on” section).
At this time last year, we knew the Irish would be looking for a specialist, but there weren’t really any names out there. I basically threw out a random guess which I figured would probably be incorrect. Landing Jay Bramblett was the best-case scenario and we should all be happy he’s on board.
So there you have it. Another year, another class prediction that only ends up being ≈40% correct. I did make a small improvement over last year, though!
These always end up being fun pieces for me to write. So I will of course, keep doing these annually. You guys can expect another class prediction from me soon!