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Irish Insights


Kelly on offensive recruits

George Atkinson III

Receiver, 6-2, 194, Granada, Livermore, Calif.

George is an extremely talented young man. He can play a number of positions. In the Army All-American game he played on defense.

“Great speed. I think if you were going to separate him from maybe some of the other players in our class, long at 6-foot-2. And extremely versatile.

He's a punt returner as well. So he's going to be competing for time on all of our kick teams as well. But great speed. … And obviously with the ball in his hands, he's extremely dynamic as a football player.

Kyle Brindza

Kicker, 6-2, 195, Plymouth, Canton, Mich.

Kyle, we believe, to be the most talented kicker in the country. His versatility in a sense he can do all the jobs. He can kick off. Obviously, extra points and field goals, and he's an outstanding punter. So he gives us such versatility coming in that he can take all of those positions and compete for all of those positions.

Out of Plymouth, Canton High School. Set the state record with 18-made field goals, including 6 of 9 from 50 yards or more. And he was single-handedly the man that got his football team to the State Finals in Michigan. He made winning kicks in a couple of the games in the playoffs. He's played in all those conditions. In other words, he's played in big games. He's had to make the big kick. He's been involved in those situations, and again his versatility is really the thing that we felt made him the best kicker in the country.

Coach Elston is very excited about having Kyle. I'm excited about having him as well. He does a lot of jobs for you. Great young man. And he's somebody that plays high school football, not just as a kicker. He contributed. I mean, he's a big physical kid. When he gets off the bus and everybody knows he's the kicker we're going to scare a lot of teams because our kicker looks pretty good. Outstanding player for us.

DaVaris Daniels

Receiver, 6-3, 190,Vernon Hills, Vernon Hills, Ill.

Played in the Under Armour All-American game. Offensive player for us, even though he's listed at skill. He's somebody that we'll focus particularly at the wide receiver position for us.

Incredible upside relative to his athletic ability. He's got great pedigree. His dad is 15 years, Phillip Daniels, now in the NFL. Phillip said to me he's hoping to have the first father-son combination in the NFL. We'll hope that Phil is still in the NFL. We just hope DaVaris is here for four years. A little bit on both ends there. That's the kind of family system. Very competitive. The family is a wonderful family and DaVaris is a young man we think from an offensive standpoint has incredible skills.

Very good ball skills. And I think the thing that stands out is his size and his ability to make people miss for his size. It's pretty clear to see his raw athletic ability.

Led Vernon Hills this year to state playoff game wins. Hasn't happened a lot. He’s a return man as well. Extremely versatile football player.

Everett Golson

Quarterback, 6-0, 170, Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

He was a player that, again, we felt was a great fit for what we want to do offensively. I think you'll see that. He's also a great young man. Great because I got a chance to see him interact within his school and the respect that the principal and the teachers all had for Everett, the way he handled himself. He's just going to be a great representative of Notre Dame, both on and off the field. He's also pretty prolific in throwing the football.

I think the thing I'd like to point out before we get going, when you look at Everett Golson, think of him as a point guard. He's always got his head up. Always looking to distribute. Always looking for that pass. Not necessarily the next shot, but he's got to keep his head up. What you'll see about Everett he plays the game of football the same way. Eyes always down field. Always looking to throw the football and make that play. Where we tried to distinguish the quarterback position is we didn't want a guy that at first sight of any problems would drop his eyes and run. Here's a guy that keeps his eyes up and is always looking downfield to make a play. That's extending the play. He extends the play and delivers the football as well as anybody that we had watched. And I think you'll see that in the way he plays the game.

Strong arm. I think you'll find that. The ability to make people miss.

Conor Hanratty

Offensive lineman, 6-4, 305, New Canaan, New Canaan, Conn.

He was an early commit for us. He's got a great last name. Terry Hanratty, you may have heard of him. He played here at Notre Dame. Pretty good player for us here at Notre Dame. Went on to a great career.

What we liked about Conor was young, first of all, at the position; was somebody that we believed over a period of time as we developed him he was going to be a really good football player for us. But we liked his tenacity. He really got after people. And you'll see that in everything that he does, uses his hands very well and had an edge to him in the way he played. When I say an edge to him, he had that gnarly kind of demeanor at the offensive line.

And for a young guy, he's made incredible progress, even after the season in terms of weight training and conditioning and all the things that he's going to continue to work at. But you can see that he's just a guy that gets after you. And obviously from our standpoint we're looking for guys that can move their feet. He can move his feet but he also likes to finish things off.

He's got a little nasty to him, which we really like. Again, uses his hands very well. Understands the pocket. You can see he's got a great sense of where the quarterback is. … He's got a great awareness of it already. Going to have to get stronger, going to have continue to work hard. Those are the things that we think we can teach him.

Matt Hegarty

Offensive lineman, 6-5, 265, Aztec, Aztec, N.M.

Just extremely athletic … It starts there. Can move his feet very well. We saw him move and felt like he was our target right away at the offensive line position. And you'll be able to see that with his athleticism.

He will finish his blocks, periods. He finishes things off. You'll see it from a number of offensive linemen. The most consistent theme will be their athleticism and their ability to finish.

Ben Koyack

Tight end, 6-5, 230, Oil City, Oil City, Pa.

Big skilled player for us. Played in the 2010 Under Armour All-American game. We had him on our board as No. 1 tight end in the country. Whatever other people had, they had him, they had him anywhere from 1 to 10 or 15. I really don't know.

We loved Ben Koyack from the very beginning. Great size. If you're going to compare him to anybody, Tyler Eifert, has the ability to split out as a wide receiver, can lock in, put his hand on the ground and base a five technique or a nine technique.

He's got all the skills necessary to be a great, great fit within our offensive structure. … He can get vertically down the field and his ball skills are outstanding. Very soft hands. Naturally catches the football. Doesn't fight it at all. And, again, he can play physical at the line of scrimmage or you can even spread him out and use his size. … Brings all the components necessary. Great size. Speed, ball skills. He's the complete package at that position.

Nick Martin

Offensive lineman, 6-5, 260, Bishop Chatard, Indianapolis

Nick is out of Bishop Chatard High School, won the state championship, and First Team Indiana. Again, the common theme here with the offensive linemen is their ability to move. He’s got really good athletic ability, and he finishes off blocks. He's got a demeanor again. That offensive line demeanor for us is the way they play the game. And he plays it very, very well.

And his brother's not bad either, Zack Martin, here at Notre Dame. See him at right tackle. He's a brawler. … He moves to the second level very well.

Anyway, the things that we're looking for here is his physical ability. You can see that. That's pretty clear. Finishes blocks off. Stays on his feet and takes the defender down.

Cam McDaniel

Running back, 5-11, 192, Coppell, Coppell, Texas

Here's a young man that's got great durability. Played at the highest level in Texas. Carried the ball inside. This is not a guy that lined up at the slot and they threw screens to. This is a guy that was able to run.

The real sell for us was his durability, toughness and his ability to play through some injury and also have a dynamic piece to him as well. He can catch the football. He can play in all of the special teams for us. And he's physical enough at 190 pounds that he can run inside. He's got an inside presence. We needed somebody that could bang it up inside as well. And his durability and his ability to play through some nicks and a couple of injuries was a huge component for us. He's got good speed at the top end of competition.

Plays with a great deal of confidence. He's probably one of the more confident men in this class. He really has a great deal of confidence and plays that way. This guy's a football player. He was meant to play this game of football. And, like I said, he loves to compete. He loves the game. He'll bring an energy level which we're looking for as well.

Troy Niklas

Offensive lineman, 6-7, 240, Servite, Fullerton, Calif.

Big skill player for us. L.A. Times Lineman of the Year in 2010. And just a really physical specimen relative to what he can be and where he is right now.

Pretty good hands… Very good foot speed. Can just do all the jobs at a number of positions for us … Loves to play. Plays basketball right now. … Another big physical presence.