Looking back at signing day 2016

Looking back at signing day 2016

Here are my evals from the 2016 class. Some guys are gone, others didn't pan out, and a few were home runs. How'd I do?

Ian Book

Book is a leader. He will arrive on campus at Notre Dame and push the upperclassmen. Great mental makeup. Book is an exceptionally gifted passer with impeccable finesse and touch. He displays comfortability both in the gun and under-center. On play action bootlegs and out of pocket throws, Book is very efficient in regards to properly positioning his body to make accurate throws on the run to either side. Book flashes a smooth, quick release with great accuracy and put his receivers in great positions to make plays. In the pocket, Book displays active feet and has the ability to extend plays when needed. Consistently creates a solid lower-half power position for his throws which allows Book to get the ball out with velocity and high levels of spin. Book has a tremendous upside as a passer, and is only beginning to scratch the surface. Great athleticism in and out of the pocket. Hawkeye vision and playmaking ability.

Tommy Kraemer

Kraemer is a monster. Five-star body with room for added poundage, especially in his legs and shoulders. He has all the attributes of a top tier collegiate offensive lineman. Kraemer blends a perfect amount of finesse with an impressive physical style of play. Kraemer’s ultra cool demeanor almost lulls his opponent to sleep before he completely stones anything in his path with a swift, powerful pass set punch to the chest. Comfortability and versatility to play on both the right and left side of the line. While trending him toward a specific is much too early, Kraemer displayed ample athleticism and a strong lower half which would allow him to play either side. Kraemer has the base tools to play multiple spots.

Liam Eichenberg

Eichenberg is a very impressive, well put together athlete. Eichenberg looks like an elite offensive lineman. Before the snap, Eichenberg displays comfortability in his stance, fantastic posture and lower back strength, as well as balance and flexibility. Eichenberg has a natural feel with his hand on the ground or in pass set situations. Once the ball is snapped, Eichenberg exhibits sound technique as a run blocker, showing great growth in understanding of edge angles from his sophomore to junior year. Eichenberg has added plenty of polish in a years’ time and expectations are high for the future. In pass protection, Eichenberg is at his best when he engages defensive linemen, uses his lengthy arms to create space, and manipulates the opposition with quick/powerful hands. Overall, Eichenberg has plenty of athleticism to go with his size and strength, a trait Harry Hiestand continues to recruit with much success. Eichenberg’s demeanor is calm, cool, and professional.

Parker Boudreaux (Transferred)

High motor player with tremendous explosiveness and push off the line.Tenacious and relentless both as a run and pass blocker. Looks to demolish those in his path. Boudreaux is at his best when he engages defensive linemen, manipulating the opposition with his quick/powerful hands. Boudreaux can add value to his skills by progressing within the nuances of interior line blocking, which can include tandem and multi-level schemes. One of the nicest kids, but on the field, teams will hate to go against him. Nasty player.

John Shannon

Per the 247Sports Composite, Shannon is the No. 1 long snapper in the nation and No. 43 player in the state of Illinois.

Kevin Stepherson (Transferred)

Stepherson is super smooth! Flashes the ability to create space against press man or zone coverages. Exceptional agility, highlighted by efficient transitional cuts. Stepherson blends a perfect amount of finesse with an impressive physical style of play. Electric in space. Showcases elite footwork and lateral to linear cutting abilities. Stepherson is severely underrated. Plenty of elite tools. Fantastic balance and body control. Big play potential. Lengthy levers. Shifty route runner. Early enrollee.

Javon McKinley

McKinley gets off the line very quick and runs clear routes. He is a more physical version of Donnie Corley without the fluidity of route running like Austin Mack. McKinley has the size and speed to dominate opposing defensive backs. Playmaking ability everytime he touches the football. Potential game changer. Uber-athletic wide out. With the ball in his hands, McKinley has sneaky speed. Not characterized as a burner, but does cover plenty of ground. McKinley’s greatest assets are his size and strength, which will continue to progress in the future. He possesses exceptional balance while adjusting to ball flight and positions himself to high point the catch.

Chase Claypool

Exceptional length, size allowed for Claypool to create a number of winning matchups. Could see him used as a flex tight end sets. Claypool is very raw, but is a definite take for the Irish. Potential to perform at a high level and become a big factor in the Irish passing attack. Claypool is a physical pass catcher. He is still learning the finer points of route running, but the capabilities are evident. Fights the ball at times, but utilizes his size to high point jump balls. For Claypool's size he has solid footwork and hip action. With improvement in this area, he will become more efficient and more explosive. Prototypical "X" receiver. Gives the quarterback options on the back side of plays to tag routes comebacks, deep returns, and back shoulders.

Tony Jones, Jr

Jones possesses tremendous size and strength. Physically, Jones is built in the mold of a power back, but does have ample amount of speed. As a ball carrier or lead blocker, Jones showcases consistency is lowering his pad level allowing him to maintain balance and body control during contact. Jones’ vision is by far his greatest asset. Jones has an impressive ability to read pad level on the line of scrimmage and make quick, decisive, upfield cuts. Once in the open field, Jones is comfortable running with the football in either hand. Jones has experience at the tight end position lending great promise to his ability to pass catch out of the backfield. Jones has shown great improvement from year to year, increasing overall speed, footwork, and technique.

Deon McIntosh (Transferred)

McIntosh is a slasher with fluid ball skills. In the open field, McIntosh is extremely difficult to pin down. He is seen being utilized out of the backfield, an area he will continue to excel. McIntosh hits the hole hard and displays unique field awareness. This vision results in a devastating spin move leaving defenders in the dust. Impressively elusive. McIntosh’s most valuable asset is his ability to create chunks of yards after the catch. McIntosh has tremendous potential as a hybrid back. While he does not have the physical traits of Tony Jones Jr., or the elite speed of Melquise Stovall, he might be the most balanced as far as his overall skills.

Khalid Kareem

Kareem is a high effort, high energy edge rusher. His great size, coupled with powerful strength and quick-twitch bursts of speed make him difficult to block. Pure upfield speed with active hands. Plenty of size and lengthy levers. Fantastic ability to play both the run and the pass. Kareem has the ability to get lateral with impressive quickness. Bright future. Kareem’s best asset is his explosive first step off the snap. Covers large amount of ground with each step. Very consistent in creating positive motion forward without any wasted movement. Kareem is extremely efficient with each and every step. He is a tough matchup in space for edge blockers. Shows several inside pass rush moves, adding to his impressive upfield outside speed rush. Early enrollee.

Jamir Jones

Jones has ample strength to play inside, but has the frame to add even more power. On the edge he has plenty of speed to rush, if needed. His great size and athleticism coupled with powerful strength and quick-twitch bursts of speed make him difficult to block. It is no secret that Notre Dame needs interior/edge rushers and Jones’ versatility could project inside or outside depending on future development. Fantastic ability to play both the run and the pass. Instinctive football player with great potential. Irish247 saw Jones work out at tight end while at the Columbus Nike Camp, showcasing fantastic footwork for a big man. For his size, he flashed surprisingly quick upfield burst as well as change of direction. His greatest assets are his power and athleticism. Must continue to show development as an edge presence by polishing moves inside and outside. Jones will be much more productive in college, once he adds more weight. He could be rush end or play linebacker. Yet to be determined. Most believe he will leave Notre Dame as the better player in comparison to his older brother. Very athletic player. Lacrosse and basketball background as well.

Julian Okwara

Okwara possesses a fantastic frame with extremely long levers. Okwara showcases tremendous athleticism, moving with the grace and ease of an outside linebacker. Okwara’s lengthy limbs and active hands allow him to create space in pass rushing situations by limiting offensive linemen to engage him. Okwara’s style is more of speed and finesse, but well able of lowering the boom when needed. Okwara has plenty of linear speed rushing the quarterback and lateral speed to defend stretch runs. Has shown improvement in overall speed since junior year. Okwara is a high effort, high energy player. Okwara has shown the ability to cover in space during blitz zone schemes, an element not always seen at the high school level. Thick, long frame that will for a lot of growth physically.

Adetokunbo Ogundeji

Upfield speed with room for added first step explosiveness. Size cannot be taught, and Ogundeji has plenty of it. Size and lengthy levers, with room to add size and strength. Very consistent in creating positive motion forward without any wasted movement.The 6-5, 225-pound Ogundeji has plenty of room to add size and strength to his lengthy frame. Intriguing prospect, no doubt, but raw talent. Injured in his senior season.

Daelin Hayes

Hayes is an athletic, slashing linebacker with exceptional strength. His low center of gravity allows him to create proper leverage when taking on opposing players. Hayes’ size and skill set are versatile enough to trend him towards any number of defensive positions. He has enough pure athleticism to play in space and will continue to develop his coverage skills. Hayes flashes a high motor, and is not afraid of contact. Hard-nosed physical linebacker that will get better with maturity. He combines a great blend of size and speed. Starting to understand how is body works, particularly the use of his hands in shedding blocks and putting himself in position to make tackles. Great lateral movement. Passionate and infectious personality. Early enrollee set to compete at linebacker following the departure of Joe Schmidt, Jaylon Smith, and Jarrett Grace.

Jonathan Jones

The size and skill of Jones trends towards an interior linebacker position, but does have enough talent to play in space if he continues to develop his coverage skills. Game is best suited as a MIKE linebacker although his dexterity and athleticism will give him license drop in coverage and affect the passing game.

Devin Studstill (Transferred)

Studstill is one of my favorite athletes in the 2016 class. Saw him in person at the Irish Invasion and liked him even more. Safety is his most natural position. Understands passing routes as well as zone run and stretch run concepts. Impressive improvement from sophomore to junior year to season year that included honing coverage skills and tackling technique. Most impressive is his ability to run fill. High level of comfort in space making open field tackles. Flashes explosive speed and physicality. Could provide defensive coordinators with the skills to incorporate secondary blitzes or added box support in run formations and packages. Early enrollee that could play his way into the rotation at safety.

Spencer Perry (Transferred)

Perry is a bigger, better version of Michigan State commit and former Irish target Kenney Lyke. Perry displays a combination of size and speed. At Irish Invasion, Perry showcased slick footwork, but will need to improve.On tape, Perry shows exceptional open field tackling skills and he has great instincts reacting to the quarterback. Perry’s long levers are helpful in cover radius, as well as in high point and jump ball situations. His longer frame also increases his ability to cover larger zones when the Irish implement zone schemes. Hard-nosed, downhill tackler. Another early enrollee in the 2016 class.

Troy Pride Jr

Notre Dame has made it a priority to target athletic corners and hybrid safeties in the 2016 class. Pride has shades of Jalen Elliott and Julian Love. The trio collectively possess premium athleticism and are very good two-way players. Like Love, Pride displays efficient, smooth speed on both sides of the football. While Love may be more polished as a cover guy, Pride has the necessary tools to progress and add refinement to his technique. Pride’s versatility is evident demonstrated by his ability to play multiple positions on offense, defense, and special teams. He makes plays all over the field.

Donte Vaughn

Vaughn’s coveted size could trend him toward corner or safety at the next level. Enough athleticism to play multiple positions. Versatility is king. Long levers allow Vaughn to bully opposing wideouts on the snap of the ball. Added speed, quickness on the outside will allow him to compete with smaller, faster skill players. Runs mid 4.5s. In Nickel situations, Vaughn’s frame would ensure he matches up well with hybrid tight ends in the slot, overpower smaller receivers, and be a factor in run stopping. Exceptional technique in coverage thwarting opposing players from stacking their routes. If continued coverage speed is not developed, Vaughn could settle in at safety where he would provide a hard-hitting physical presence and extraordinary range in coverage.

Jalen Elliott

Elliott possesses premium athleticism. At 6-1, 175-pounds, Elliot has the perfect size and frame to mature into a stout defensive back with strength, power, and speed. While much of Elliott’s experience is playing quarterback, he did log time at cornerback and safety. With Notre Dame’s obvious need at the safety position, expect Elliott to fill the void. Elliott’s experience at quarterback will help his development at safety. His understanding of passing concepts and coverage schemes will accelerate his learning curve. Elliott is physical, passionate.

DJ Morgan (Transferred)

Morgan can be used in a number of defensive schemes. On tape, Morgan is solid in coverage, used as an edge rusher in blitz zone and man coverage scenarios, and as a spy with free range to hard run fill or float in coverage. Morgan shows solid open field tackling skills and has above-average instincts. At 6-3, 205-pounds, Morgan possesses the necessary frame to play extremely physical. His long levers are helpful in cover radius plus increases his ability to cover larger zones. Length and size are foundations of Morgan’s potential. Unfinished product, raw around the edges. Definite potential to play linebacker at the next level. Has shown more athleticism on tape than expected, especially compared to his junior year. Seeks out contact and plays fearless.

Julian Love (NFL)

Love makes the game of football look easy. Displays efficient, smooth speed on both sides of the football. In coverage, he showcases polished footwork and tremendous hip mobility. His experience on the offensive side has developed outstanding ball skills best displayed in coverage when high pointing an interception or undercutting a route. Love’s athleticism is evident demonstrated by his ability to play multiple positions on offense, defense, and special teams. Most impressive from Love are his stupendous instincts for making plays. Superb vision allows for Love to analyze running lanes and make tackles. Love is a playmaker. Love’s passion and excitement for the game of football is seen time and again.


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