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Notre Dame

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National signing day preview

Irish recruits among elite

Kelly’s class expected to be among top 10 again

Tranquill

– Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly is expected to add another top-10 recruiting class today.

The Irish’s 22-member class was ranked No. 6 by Scout.com and No. 9 by Rivals.com and 247Sports coming into signing day.

Notre Dame’s 2013 class was ranked No. 3 by Rivals.com and 247Sports and No. 5 by Scout.com.

“No holes in this class, and really, no holes in the way Brian Kelly is building the roster,” said Steve Wiltfong, 247Sports national recruiting writer.

Wiltfong said what stands out most in the Irish’s class are the incoming offensive and defensive linemen.

Notre Dame’s offensive line recruits are Alex Bars (6-foot-6, 309 pounds), Jimmy Byrne (6-4, 295), Sam Mustipher (6-4, 292) and Quenton Nelson (6-5, 301).

“I think Notre Dame continues to upgrade the talent at the point of attack under Brian Kelly,” Wiltfong said.

“The offensive line class, they are bringing in four touted guys.”

On the defensive line, end Andrew Trumbetti (6-5, 249) enrolled early and he is expected to be joined today by Grant Blankenship (6-6, 252), Jonathan Bonner (6-3, 253), Jay Hayes (6-4, 265), Pete Mokwuah (6-5, 305) and Jhonathon Williams (6-6, 230).

“Those are some big muchachos now,” Wiltfong said.

“I think they are bringing six talented defensive linemen that will add some immediate depth. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of them contribute next fall.”

It also wouldn’t be a surprise if Notre Dame added a few more names to its recruiting haul today.

The Irish are still in the running to sign Terrence Alexander, a 5-10, 178-pound cornerback from River Ridge, La.; John “JuJu” Smith, a 6-1, 207-pound safety from Long Beach, Calif.; Michiah Quick, a 6-foot, 170-pound receiver from Fresno, Calif.; Daniel Cage, a 6-3, 275-pound defensive tackle from Cincinnati; and Courtney Garnett, a 6-2, 280-pound defensive tackle from New Orleans.

Alexander is scheduled to announce his choice at 10 a.m. today on ESPNU, and Smith will announce his decision at 4 p.m. on the network.

Notre Dame will be adding another player from Fort Wayne as Carroll senior Drue Tranquill signs his letter of intent.

Tranquill is the fifth player from the city to sign with the Irish in the last seven years, joining current Irish linebacker Jaylon Smith and defensive lineman Tony Springmann, and former tight end Tyler Eifert and receiver John Goodman.

“I’d be surprised if Drue Tranquill is not making an impact on special teams from Day One with his athleticism and ability to run,” Wiltfong said. “He’s going to walk in and be one of the more athletic people on Notre Dame’s roster right away.

“I do think he is an impact guy. I do think he will play. I do think he will be a major contributor during his Notre Dame career.

“He is a guy that went a little under the radar, but he is as athletic as anybody in Notre Dame’s class.

“He brings a different type of athleticism.”

tkrausz@jg.net

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