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Irish Insights

  • Investigation ends as Irish await outcomes
    Notre Dame's academic investigation reached an end, Irish coach Brian Kelly said in a media briefing Thursday.
  • Eilar Hardy 5th player targeted by probe
    Notre Dame announced that a fifth player, confirmed by a university official as Eilar Hardy, is being held out of football activities because of the school's ongoing investigation into potential academic fraud.
  • Notre Dame releases 2014-15 basketball schedule
    Notre Dame released its 2014-15 basketball schedule Wednesday, with home games against Michigan State and ACC foes Duke and Syracuse highlighting the 31-game slate.
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Meet the recruits

Notre Dame announced 17 new members to its team Wednesday with 16 high school recruits and one transfer joining the Irish.

Here are each players bios, provided by the university, and coach Brian Kelly's take on the new players:

Nick Baratti, DB, 6-2, 200, Tomball, TX (Klein Oak)

Multipurpose standout who worked most notably at safety at Klein Oak High School in Spring, Texas . . . played as many as five positions in a game in 2011, including quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end and safety and also punted . . . named first-team all-state for class 5A by Texas Sportswriters Association in 2011 . . . helped Klein Oak to 9-4 mark as senior in 2011, including 6-1 district record . . . completed 13 of 33 passes in 2011 for 214 yards; rushed 59 times for 338 yards; caught 48 passes for 570 yards and four TDs . . . helped Klein Oak in 2011 defeat top-ranked Klein Collins in triple overtime and end its 28-game regular-season winning streak . . . caught 11 passes for 168 yards and two scores in 49-21 win over Spring . . . rated 71st among Texasplayers by SuperPrep . . . named to Houston Chronicle Top 100list prior to 2011 season as one of six players in "athlete" category . . . rated second-team quarterback on Chronicle All-Greater Houston team prior to senior season . . . played primarily at quarterback as junior in 2010, including one game in which he had two scoring runs of 60-plus yards . . . rushed 188 times for 1,267 yards and 17 TDs and completed 136 of 237 passes for 1,873 yards and 13 TDs (five interceptions) as junior in 2010 on 8-4 Klein Oak team . . . played mainly at safety as sophomore in 2009 . . .also competed in 110- and 300-meter hurdles in track . . . coached by David Smith at Klein Oak High School . . . born Nov. 13, 1993.

Kelly's take: He was named AllState in Texas, which is certainly not a feat that is easy to accomplish. He's an extremely versatile athlete. This year he played tight end, he has played quarterback, we see him fitting well in at the safety position for us, an outstanding athlete, great young man and somebody we're excited about here at the University of Notre Dame.

Chris Brown, WR, 6-2, 175, Hanahan, SC (Hanahan)

One of four wide receivers on HSSR Division I-AA South Carolina all-state team for 2011 . . . top-flight wide receiver at Hanahan High School in Hanahan, S.C. . . . ranked the 26th-best athlete in the nation and seventh-best prospect in South Carolina by 247Sports . . . rated 29th among all receivers nationally and seventh among all South Carolina players by SuperPrep . . . ranked 11th-best player in South Carolina by Rivals.com . . . caught 33 passes as senior in 2011 for 532 yards and 12 touchdowns . . . made five catches for 130 yards and four scores in 57-6 win over Stall . . . had nine grabs for 145 yards and three scores and also returned a punt 72 yards for a score in third round of South Carolina playoffs in 42-18 win over Lake City . . . missed handful of games in 2011 due to broken collarbone . . . had 52 receptions for 1,105 yards and 16 TDs as junior in 2010, to go with three kick returns for scores . . . also intercepted three passes, returned one for a score, and returned three fumbles for TDs in 2010 . . . caught 31 passes as sophomore in 2009 for 332 yards and five TDs, while also making 32 tackles and five tackles for loss on defense . . . had more than 450 kick return yards in 2009 . . . ranked as top triple-jumper in the nation as junior in 2011 . . . broke 32-year-old South Carolina high school record for triple jump as junior at 51-2.5 . . . helped Hanrahan to 2011 South Carolina state title in track while winning the triple jump and long jump (23-9), taking second in 200 meters (21.9) and helping 4x100 relay squad (he ran the third leg) to blue ribbon . . . ran in Puerto Rico with U.S. Junior National Track team in June 2011 . . . coached by Charlie Patterson at Hanahan High School . . . born Dec. 8, 1993.

Kelly's take: You know, here is a young man that had a short senior season because of injury, and I think if we were talking from an NFL standpoint, and I was the general manager after draft day, we would consider this young man a "steal" of the draft. We believe he has a skill set that we do not have currently on this football team. As you know he's also a top triple jumper in the nation. He's got great explosiveness, good size at 62. He's a guy that can take the quick short pass and turn it into a touchdown. Could be a 5yard completion, and he can take it the rest of the way. He has size and he's got speed, and he hasn't come close to his potential. We're excited about Chris Brown, a great young man.

Scott Daly, LS, 6-3, 245, Downers Grove, IL (South)

Named national high school long snapper of the year for 2011 in winning the first Herbalife 24 Chris Rubio Award . . . ranked the number-one long snapper in the nation by Scout.com . . . rated the second-best long snapper in the nation by 247Sports . . . listed the third-best long snapper in the nation by ESPNU . . . played tight end and handled long-snapping duties at Downers Grove South High School in Downers Grove, Ill. . . . helped Downers Grove South to 10-2 record as senior in 2011 before losing in Illinois Class 8A state quarterfinals . . . scored first career touchdown as tight end in 2011 opener vs. South Elgin . . . earned special mention on Chicago Tribune all-state team for 2011 . . . rated 55th player in Midwest by SuperPrep . . . earned all-conference honors at tight end as junior in 2010, as well as all-area honorable mention . . . helped Mustangs to 7-3 mark as junior in 2010, including 6-0 record in West Suburban Gold play and first-round loss to Neuqua Valley in Illinois 8A playoffs . . . has worked extensively at camps with former UCLA long snapper Chris Rubio . . . began long-snapping in fifth grade . . . owns black belt in tae kwon do and practices yoga . . . coached by John Belskis at Downers Grove south High School . . . born Feb. 2, 1994.

Kelly's take: In each class there are specialists, and last year, as you know, we took a kicker in our class. This year we went with a long snapper, Scott Daly, from Downers Grove. Not often do you specialize, it sometimes might be two or three years before you do that, a lot of times a long snapper will walk on. His value will be seen immediately, and his value and the kind of kid he is somebody we could not overlook, especially somebody that brings that skill set to our football team.

Sheldon Day, DL, 6-2, 275, Indianapolis, IN (Warren Central)

Second-team selection on SI.com High School All-America team . . . ranked the sixth-best defensive tackle in the country and 50th-best player in his class by Scout.com . . . rated 81st nationally on 247Sports list of top prospects . . . considered 10th-best defensive tackle in the nation and second-best player in Indiana by 247Sports . . . rated number-143 player nationally on 2012 ESPNU 150 list . . . listed as second-best player in Indiana, 12th-best prospect in the Midwest and 14th-best defensive tackle in his class by ESPNU . . . rated number-121 player nationally and eighth-best defensivetackle in his class by MaxPreps and Tom Lemming . . . listed 244th nationally on Rivals.com Rivals250 . . . ranked third-best player in Indiana and 18th-best defensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com . . . rated 24th-best defensive lineman nationally and 12th-best player in Midwest by SuperPrep . . . named Indianapolis Star Super Team Player of the Year for 2011 . . . runner-up for 2011 Indiana Mr.Football award as chosen by Indiana Football Coaches Association . . . one of eight defensive linemen on IFCA Top 50 all-state squad in both 2011 and 2010 . . . first-team defensive lineman on Associated Press Indiana Class 5A all-state squad for 2011 . . . starter on defensive line for Warren Central High School in Indianapolis, Ind. . . . made 55 tackles, 12 for loss, nine sacks, 12 quarterback pressures, two fumble recoveries as senior in 2011 . . . named Marion County Coaches' Player of the Year at Indianapolis Kiwanis Club's 55th Annual High School Awards program for 2011 . . . first-team defensive lineman on all-Marion County team . . . helped Warren Central to 11-1 record and number-one ranking in 2011, with only loss in sectional final to eventual Indiana 5A champion Carmel . . . played in Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Phoenix . . . honorable mention AP all-state pick as junior in 2010 . . . coached by John Hart at Warren Central High School . . . born July 1, 1994 . . . enrolled at Notre Dame for 2012 spring semester.

Kelly's take: The thing we love about him is not only his personality and who he is, but incredible motor, a great work ethic, he is already here and we have gotten comments back from our strength and conditioning staff and Coach Longo about his work volume and his work ethic and enthusiasm for what he is doing. He's a dynamic player, one of the best defensive linemen in the country, and he will immediately, like all of our freshmen, be expected to come in and complete right away.

Justin Ferguson, WR, 6-2, 205, Pembroke Pines, FL (Flanagan)

Rated as number-85 player nationally and 14th-best wide receiver in the country on 2012 ESPNU 150 list . . . listed as 19th-best player in Florida and 41st-ranked prospect in Southeast by ESPNU . . . rated number-127 player nationally and 15th-best wide receiver in his class by MaxPreps and Tom Lemming . . . listed as 41st-best player in Florida by SuperPrep . . . member of the Florida Top 100 as selected by Orlando Sentinel . . . standout wide receiver at Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines, Fla. . . . helped Flanagan to 6-4 record in 2011 while grabbing 29 passes for 527 yards and nine touchdowns . . . made four catches for 213 yards in 33-30 win over Western, including TD receptions for 58 and 99 yards . . . caught 44 passes for 953 yards and 12 TDs as junior in 2010 . . . first-team all-Broward County pick by both Miami Herald and Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel in 2010 . . . selected for USA Football U-19 team that played against World team inAustin, Texas, Feb. 1, 2012 . . . played in Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Phoenix . . .coached by Don Simon at Flanagan High School.

Kelly's take: As we talked about addressing the wide receiver position, Justin Ferguson out of Pembroke Pines, for us, a dynamic player with the ball in his hands. He can make things happen. He's physical, strong, but more importantly what we like about it is the yards after catch.He has great frontline speed, but the things he does with the football after the catch were probably the things that attracted us the most to him. A skilled player, but, again, yards after catch, the ability to break into the second level and separate himself. He's got the ability to be that big play wide receiver, guy that can catch it and go. Again, one of the top wide receivers in the country.

Mark Harrell, OL, 6-5, 270, Charlotte, NC (Catholic)

Second-team pick on MaxPreps 2011 U.S. Air Force All-American team as offensive lineman . . . second-leading vote-getter among offensive linemen on 2011 Associated Press North Carolinaall-state team . . . first-team offensive lineman on All-Observer squad named by Charlotte Observer in both 2011 and 2010 . . . rated 16th among North Carolina players by SuperPrep . . . ranked 17th-best prospect in North Carolina and 25th-best offensive lineman in the nation by Rivals.com . . . helped Catholic average 333 rushing yards and 43points per game in 2011 to go with 5,197 yards of total offense and also played some at tight end . . . two-time first-team All-Mecklenburg selection by Observer in 2011 and 2010 for players in immediate Charlotte area . . . three-time all-MEGA 7 3A/4A selection . . . helped 2010 Catholic team to 14-1 record in junior campaign that featured 4,904 team rushing yards and included advancement to North Carolina Class 3AA playoff semifinals . . . played in Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Phoenix . . . chosen to play in North Carolina-South Carolina Shrine Bowl . . . also played basketball and throws the shot in track and field . . . coached by Jim Oddo at Charlotte Catholic High School . . . born May 3, 1993.

Kelly's take: I think when you talk about this class, it's still about Notre Dame and how they fit here, the right kind of guys and how they fit in here. And I know you hear that all of the time, RKGs, they have to be RKGs. They have to have the right character traits, they have to understand Notre Dame and the value of an education, and Mark Harrell comes from that environment. He's got a great family, he's very versatile, he's played at the center position in AllStar games; he's played the tackle position, tight end. He's somebody when you talk about an offensive lineman, who can bend, he's flexible, has good feet, and we like the fact that he is an intense competitor. He will fit in very well with our offensive linemen.

Jarron Jones, DL, 6-6, 298, Rochester, NY (Aquinas Institute)

Rated number-20 player nationally by MaxPreps and Tom Lemming. . . listed 107th on 247Sports rating of national prospects . . . ranked number-10 offensive tackle in the nation and second-best player in New York by 247Sports . . . rated number-102 player nationally on 2012 ESPNU 150 list . . . listed 11th-best offensive tackle in the nation, second-best player in New York and 13th-best prospect in Northeast region by ESPNU . . . rated 199th nationally on Rivals.com Rivals250 list . . . listed as second-best player in New York and 14th-best defensive tackle in his class by Rivals.com . . . listed 229th nationally on the Scout.com Scout 300 rankings . . . ratedbest player in New York and 43rd-best offensive lineman nationally by SuperPrep . . . first-team defensive lineman on all-Greater Rochester team for 2011 by Rochester Democrat and Chronicle . . . helped Little Irish win New York Section V Class A title again in 2011 . . . standout defensive lineman at Aquinas Institute in Rochester, N.Y. . . . made 71 tackles, five sacks, recovered a fumble, broke up nine passes and blocked two field goals in 2011 . . . made nine tackles in 19-16 state playoff semifinal loss to Mane-Endwell . . . as junior in 2010 made 68 tackles (32 unassisted), 14 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, one interception, four passes broken up, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery on team that finished 13-0 and claimed New York Class A state crown . . . two-time first-team defensive lineman on New YorkState Sportswriters Association Class A all-state team . . . also plays basketball at Aquinas . . . recorded a triple-double on Jan. 27, 2012, recording a school record 33 rebounds to go with 20 points and 11 blocks . . . played in U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January in San Antonio . . . coached by Chris Battaglia at Aquinas Institute . . . born March 11, 1994.

Kelly's take: Jarron is one of those young men when you talk about defensive linemen, you want to look toward their athletic ability. I think the other night he had incredible numbers on the floor, I got a chance to see him play basketball, an incredible athlete at 66, 290 pounds, and he still hasn't developed yet. His ceiling is so high relative to strength and work volume. He's a young man that plays the defensive side of the ball.

Again, I think when you look at Jarron Jones, you see a young man that is going to impact our football program just because of his work ethic. We love the way he handled himself when he came on campus, he's got a great family, and he's already done this before. He's at Aquinas Institute, and their curriculum and what they do in the high school prepares him to come to Notre Dame.

Gunner Kiel, QB, 6-4, 220, Columbus (Columbus East)

Second-team pick on USA Today All-USA high school football team for 2011 . . . honorable mention selection on SI.com High School All-America team . . . rated 24th on 247Sports list of top national prospects . . . listed the top QB in the country and number-one player in Indiana by 247Sports . . . rated number-two player nationally and top-ranked quarterback by MaxPreps and Tom Lemming . . . rated 20th on Rivals.com Rivals250 list . . . listed number-one QB in the nation and top player from Indiana by Rivals.com . . . ranked the top QB in the nation and 38th-best prospect in the country by Scout.com . . . rated number-52 player nationally on 2012 ESPNU 150 list . . . ESPNU ranked him the third-best QB in the country, second-best player in the Midwest and top player in Indiana . . . listed 10th player nationally on SuperPrep Elite 50 team . . . rated number-one quarterback nationally and SuperPrep Midwest Offensive Player of the Year . . . named top player in Indiana on Detroit Free-Press Best of the Midwest team . . . received 2011 Indiana Mr. Football Award from Indianapolis Star . . . named Gatorade Indiana Player of the Year for 2011 . . . named to Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50 all-state team for 2011, as one of three quarterbacks selected . . . Associated PressIndiana Class 4A first-team all-state quarterback selection . . . threw for2,517 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior in 2011, while also rushing for 482 yards and 11 TDs . . . helped East to 12-2 record and Indiana Class 4A state semifinals in 2011 . . . career statistics included 7,175 passing yards . . . honorable mention Associated Press 5A all-state pick as junior in 2010 after throwing for 2,500 yards and 25 TDs and also rushing for 425 yards and six TDs . . . played in U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio . . . uncle Blair Kiel played quarterback at Notre Dame from 1980-83 (throwing for 3,650 career yards in 29 career starts) and also spent seven seasons in NFL with Tampa Bay, Indianapolis and Green Bay . . . enrolled at Notre Dame for 2012 spring semester . . . coached by Bob Gaddis at Columbus East High School . . . born July 23, 1993.

Kelly's take: I think you have to appreciate the fact that he comes from a family of quarterbacks. They grew up playin' the game of football. I think one of the things that stands out on my visit to Gunner's home, they had the basketball courts, they had the football fields, and they had the pole barn with the batting cage. This is a young man that comes from a very competitive family; his brothers have played college football, and you can see that when you talk to Gunner.

He's a young man that loves to play the game. That's what you love when you're recruiting, you want to see that passion for the game and that probably stood out more than anything else. Certainly I think we all know about his ranking and how he's perceived. He fits in very well to our offense, somebody that is familiar with the spread, moves his feet very well. As I said earlier about our other early enrollees, really has been impressive to our strength and conditioning staff in his workouts, moves his feet very, very well and has a great focus.

I think when you cut through all of this, in the recruiting process I think everybody has heard about his process, really what you're looking for as a coach is that somebody is happy where he is. You can see that Gunner is happy at Notre Dame, and I think when you're dealing with 17 and 18 years old, the end, for me, is that they're at the right place, and Gunner is at the right place here at Notre Dame because he'll tell you that.

Will Mahone, RB, 6-0, 210, Austintown, OH (Fitch)

Rated 197th player nationally on Rivals.com Rivals250 list . . . listed ninth-best player in Ohio and 18th-best running back in the nation by Rivals.com . . . ranked the 23rd-best running back in his class by Scout.com and the 201st player on Scout 300 list . . . rated 50th player in Midwest by SuperPrep . . . earned second-team 2011 Division I all-Ohio honors from Associated Press as linebacker . . . helped Fitch High School in Austintown, Ohio,to 6-4 mark in 2011 after 10-2 season in 2010, while playing as both running back and linebacker . . . captain of team as senior in 2011 . . . rushed 81 times as senior for 700 yards and nine touchdowns, despite missing about half of senior season with ankle injury . . . also caught two TD passes and returned two kickoffs for scores . . . recorded 30 tackles and an interception on defense in 2011 . . . made five interceptions on defense as junior, returning two for scores . . . also played basketball for Fitch as standout three-point shooter . . . coached by Phil Annarella at Austintown Fitch High School.

Kelly's take: When you talk about the running back position here at Notre Dame you've got to be able to do it all, pick up blitzing linebackers, catch the ball, lineup as a wide receiver, run the ball between tackles, get it out on the perimeter. We feel like he has that skill set that we're looking for at the running back position here at Notre Dame. Outstanding athlete, great character kid, and when you look at the players that are out there at the running back position, certainly you could make the case for another five or six or ten players.

What we liked about Will early on is he understood Notre Dame and recognized what was the ultimate goal for him. That was to get a degree, to win a national championship, and to continue on in his football career. We liked the principles in terms of what he was about in this process.

Romeo Okwara, OLB, 6-4, 240, Charlotte, NC (Ardrey Kell)

First-team defensive lineman on all-Observer squad by Charlotte Observer for 2011 . . . considered the 13th-best player in North Carolina by 247Sports . . . rated 15th-best player in North Carolina by SuperPrep . . . ranked number-19 player in North Carolina by Rivals.com . . . led team with 76 tackles, 14 sacks and 27 tackles for loss, to go with 18 quarterback pressures, three pass breakups, a forced fumble and a field-goal block . . . two-time all-Mecklenburg select by Charlotte Observer . . . as junior in 2010 recorded 70 tackles, nine sacks, two forced fumbles and a blocked field goal . . . an all-league selection on 8-5 Ardrey Kell team as junior . . . chosen to play in North Carolina-South Carolina Shrine Bowl . . . from same high school that produced current Irish defender Prince Shembo . . . moved to United States from Nigeria as sixth-grader . . . coached by Adam Hastings at Ardrey Kell High School . . . born June 17, 1995.

Kelly's take: Romeo Okwara is out of Ardrey Kell, Charlotte, we have had great success at that high school, Prince Shembo, current starter for us was also at the same high school, so we have a young man who already done well here at Notre Dame, Romeo follows that line. Again, when you look at players that have not reached their potential yet, here is a young man just started playing the game just a few years ago, extremely athletic, love his size, almost 6-4, 240 pounds, and he's going to continue to get bigger. He's our one, bigskill player in this group. As you know it's about our skill, our power, our specialist, and he's our one bigskill player that really will impact our football team, and we will expect him to compete right away. We are excited about Romeo, his family and, again, you know, when you're looking for the kids out there, you want guys that love Notre Dame, and he was somebody that showed that right out of the gates.

C.J. Prosise, DB, 6-0, 205, Petersburg, VA (Woodberry Forest)

Earned first-team Virginia all-state honors in both 2011 and 2010 . . . named Central Virginia defensive player of the year for 2011 by Charlottesville Daily Progress . . . first-team defensive back on all-Central Virginia squad . . . listed as ninth-best player in Virginia and 24th defensive back nationally by SuperPrep . . . ranked 276th on Scout.com Scout 300 list and 21st-best safety in the nation by Scout.com . . . rated the 13th-best player in Virginia and 22nd-best safety nationally by 247Sports . . . Prep League player of the year and first-team defensive back on Richmond Times-Dispatch Prep League all-district team for 2011 . . . receiver, safety and kick returner at Woodberry Forest School in Woodberry Forest, Va. . . . credited with 51 tackles, six interceptions and 10 passes defended as senior safety in 2011 . . . scored seven touchdowns on returns in 2011, five on kicks, one on an interception, one on a fumble . . . helped Tigers to 8-2 record and Virginia Prep League crown in 2011 . . . made 42 tackles and seven interceptions as junior in 2010 . . . returned four kicks for scores as junior . . . finished second in 100 meters at 10.9 in 2011 Virginia state track meet . . . coached by Clint Alexander at Woodberry Forest School . . . born May 20, 1994.

Kelly's take: First Team All-State and, again, when you talk about and I'm being redundant with each of these young men, but when you talk about the defensive backfield, we wanted versatility back there, because he can return punts, kick offs, and when you're talking about our defense he is somebody that can play half the field. He has to be a great tackler at times, he will be asked to play close to the line of scrimmage, he has the size and the athletic ability and, again, coming from Woodberry Forest, an excellent academic institution, there was a great connection right out of the starting box for us with C.J.

KeiVarae Russell, RB, 6-0, 177, Everett, WA (Mariner)

Listed 122nd player nationally on 247Sports chart of top prospects . . . ranked the fifth-best all-purposeback in the nation and third-best player from Washington by 247Sports . . . rated 124th on Rivals.com Rivals250 list . . . listed as ninth-best athlete in the nation and third-best player in Washington by Rivals.com . . . rated number-138 player nationally and 12th-best tailback in his class by MaxPreps and Tom Lemming . . . rated 12th nationally among running backs and fourth-best player in Washington by SuperPrep . . . listed 207th nationally on Scout.com Scout 300 rankings . . . named to Tacoma News Tribune Western 100 list as one of the 100 best players in 13 western U.S. states . . . first-team 2011 Washington Class 4A all-state running back by Associated Press . . . gained 1,293 rushing yards on 177 attempts with 14 touchdowns as senior in 2011 despite missing three games due to injury . . . also caught five passes n 2011 for 69 yards and one TD and completed all three of his passes for 58 yards and another TD . . . first-team all-area running back by Everett Herald: and finished second in voting for all-area offensive player of the year . . . standout running back at Mariner High School in Everett, Wash. . . . rushed 30 times for 284 yards and four TDs in 28-24 win over Mount Vernon in second game of 2011 season . . .accounted for 1,850 rushing yards on 288 carries with 20 TDs as junior in 2010 . . . rushed 159 times for 1,232 yards and 14 TDs as sophomore in 2009, to go with five catches for 120 yards and two TDs . . . also played defensive back as a sophomore, making 25 tackles and three interceptions . . . carried 36 times as freshman for 182 yards and two TDs in 2008 . . . selected for U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio . . . coached by John Ondriezek at MarinerHigh School . . . born Oct. 19, 1993.

Kelly's take: I think the first thing that hit me when recruiting KeiVarae is his personality, always positive, always talking about the future and what he hopes to accomplish. I love being around young men that have a plan, have an understanding of what their future looks like and how Notre Dame can best help him get there. Always has a smile on his face, always upbeat and, again, he's an outstanding player or we wouldn't be recruiting him. The playing ability fits that profile that we're looking for at the running back position, he lined up in the AllStar game as a wide receiver, he can play wide receiver, he can play the running back position and also can be a specialist for us, so he is a guy that has the ability to do a lot of jobs for us, if you will.

Tee Shepard, DB, 6-1, 175, Fresno, CA (Washington Union)

Rated number-36 player nationally and third-best cornerback in his class by MaxPreps and Tom Lemming . . . listed as 39th-best player in the country and third-best cornerback nationally by Scout.com . . . rated 50th on 247Sports listing of top prospects nationally . . . ranked the fifth-best cornerback in the country and eighth-best prospect in California by 247Sports . . . listed 76th on Rivals.com Rivals250 chart . . . considered fourth-best defensive back in the nation and 13th-best player in California by Rivals.com . . . rated number-90 player nationally on 2012 ESPNU 150 list . . . ranked ninth-best cornerback in nation, 10th-best prospect in California and 14th-best recruit in the West by ESPNU . . . listed 22nd player nationally on SuperPrep Elite 50 squad . . . rated as number-three defensive back nationally and fourth-best player in California/Hawaii/Nevada by SuperPrep . . . named to Tacoma News Tribune Western 100 list as one of the 100 best players in 13 western U.S. states . . . sat out 2011 senior regular season, as Washington won third straight state title with 21-16 victory over Campolindo of Moraga in CIF State Division III championship contest in Carson, Calif., for final 14-0 record . . . played in Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Phoenix and Cal State All-Star Game . . . made 10 career interceptions . . . transferred following his junior season after playing in 2010 at Central East High School in Fresno . . . born March 18, 1993 . . . enrolled at Notre Dame for 2012 spring semester.

Kelly's take: Tee is here, an early enrollee and, you know, I think it's been well chronicled, he did not play his senior season but that did not change our feelings about Tee and what he stood for. He's always wanted to be at Notre Dame, he knew that coming here would set him up for the rest of his life. It was great to see him, again, this morning with a smile on his face, excited about being here at Notre Dame and we believe he is the best corner back in the country, and he can come in and compete right away just like all of our freshmen, and he's excited about the challenge, about coming in here now and getting an opportunity to compete as a freshman.

Elijah Shumate, DB, 6-1, 205, East Orange, NJ (Don Bosco Prep)

Rated 37th player nationally on SuperPrep Elite 50 squad . . . listed seventh nationally among defensive backs and third-best player in New Jersey by SuperPrep . . . ranked 55th on Scout.com Scout 300 list and consideredfourth-best safety in the nation by Scout.com . . . rated 103rd on 247Sports list of top prospects nationally . . . ranked the sixth-best safety in the nation and fourth-best prospect from New Jersey by 247Sports . . . listed 113th on Rivals.com Rivals250 . . . ranked eighth-best defensiveback in nation and fourth-best recruit in New Jersey by Rivals.com . . . rated number-136 player nationally and ninth-best safety in his class by MaxPreps and Tom Lemming . . . listed the 14th-best safety nationally by ESPNU . . . rated number-four player in New Jersey in Newark Star-Ledger The Ledger 50 listing . . . played defensive back and running back for Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J., in 2011 . . . first-team all-state pick on defense by Star-Ledger . . . first-team selection on Star-Ledger all-Non-Public squad . . . first-team all-Suburban by Bergen Record . . . scored 14 rushing touchdowns on 60 attempts for 361 yards and averaged more than six yards per carry as senior running back . . . helped Don Bosco to sixth straight New Jersey SIAA Non-Public Group 4 title, with Don Bosco finishing the 2011 season as the top-rated high school team in the country according to USA Today . . . had 41 tackles and two interceptions in 2011 . . . returned an interception 21 yards for a score as Don Bosco defeated Bergen Catholic 42-14 in 2011 New Jersey title game for final 11-0 mark . . . made 67 tackles, five sacks, two fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and an interception as junior in 2010 . . . played in U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio . . . also a track standout who ran 49.6 leg on championship 4x400 relay squad . . . coached by Greg Toal at Don Bosco High School . . . born Jan. 12, 1994.

Kelly's take: Here is a young man who played on the best high school team, well coached, Coach Toal does an incredible job of teaching and demanding excellence from his kids on a daytoday basis, and that's why this was an immediate thing for us, because he's been down that road, excellence in the classroom and on the football field he's already heard that story, so this isn't anything new to Elijah Shumate.

He's a young man that played running back, returned kicks, played safety position. He's got great versatility, can play off the hash, close to the ball, excited about having Elijah with us. He's a young man – and his family understood and recognized what Notre Dame could do for him, and we're excited about Tee Shepard being part of our program.

Ronnie Stanley, OL, 6-6, 285, Las Vegas, NV (Bishop Gorman)

Ranked the 11th-best offensive tackle in the country and 66th-best prospect nationally by Scout.com . . . rated number-118 player nationally and 17th-bestoffensive tackle in the country by MaxPreps and Tom Lemming . . . ranked the 145th-best player in the nation by 247Sports . . . rated thebest player from Nevada and 16th-best offensive tackle prospect nationally by 247Sports . . . listed 176th on Rivals.com Rivals250 . . . ranked as best player in Nevada and 15th-best offensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com . . . rated 17th nationally among offensive linemen and 12th-best player in California/Hawaii/Nevada by SuperPrep . . . named to Tacoma News Tribune Western 100 list as one of the 100 best players in 13 western U.S. states . . . first-team offensive lineman on Nevada Class 4A all-stateteam for 2011 . . . selected first-team all-Southwest League as senior in 2011 . . . honorable mention pick on SI.com High School All-America team . . . played at offensive tackle for Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, Nev. . . . helped Gorman finish 16-1 in 2011 and win third straight Nevada Class 4A state crown with 72-28 win over Reed in title matchup . . . three-year starter who helped Gorman to combined 43-3 record and final number-five ranking in 2011 by USA Today . . . played in Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Phoenix . . .also a standout in basketball, averaging 10 points, eight rebounds and fourassists per game as junior on Gorman team that reached state semifinals . . . as a senior, his high school basketball team has been ranked in the top-20 by USA Today and ESPN all season . . . high school basketball teammate is Shabazz Muhammad, the nation's top recruit . . . coached by Tony Sanchez at Bishop Gorman High School . . . born March 18, 1994.

Kelly's take: He's probably as gifted of an offensive linemen that we have seen in many years. A great basketball player but also when it comes to football, just has all the things necessary to be that left tackle, if you will, when you use that term. He can bend, he plays with toughness, he has a skill level already that is very, very impressive. I know Coach Elstan was excited about getting the opportunity to spend time and be one-on-one with Ronnie, as you know he's played in a number of the All-Star games but, again, he gives us that athleticism at the tackle position and he's still growing, 6-6, 280 pounds and brings that athleticism that we look for at the tackle position.

John Turner, DB, 6-0, 206, Indianapolis, IN (Cathedral)

Named to Indianapolis Star Super Team for 2011 . . . first-team defensive back on 2011 Indianapolis Star all-city team . . . first-team defensive back on Associated Press Indiana Class 4A all-state squad for 2011 . . . ranked the fifth-best prospect in Indiana by 247Sports . . . rated 62nd-best player in Midwest by SuperPrep . . . made 49 tackles and broke up six passes as senior defensive back in 2011 for Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, Ind. . . . helped Cathedral to second straight Indiana Class 4A title in 2011 with championship game win over South Bend Washington . . . his Cathedral team eliminated Columbus East andcurrent Irish teammate Gunner Kiel in semifinal matchup . . . made 55 tackles and four interceptions as junior in 2010 in Cathedral's state title season . . . won AAU national championship in tae kwon do as junior high competitor . . . coached by Rick Streiff at Cathedral High School . . . born June 10, 1994.

Kelly's take: John is a young man that comes from a very, very successful high school football program. Well coached, very disciplined. The high school demands excellence on a daytoday basis so if there is a current theme in terms of the kids and what we're looking for, for them to be the right fit here at Notre Dame, John is certainly that. Now there is more to it than that, you have to be a really good football player, too, and we got a chance to spend time with John. He was here on campus, we really loved him in person and in personal workouts, and he carried that on to the field.He's a young man that's continually getting better and, again, when you talk about the secondary, has the versatility at that position that we really, really like.

Amir Carlisle, RB, 5-10, 180, Santa Clara, CA (Kings Academy)

Attended USC as a freshman in 2010 . . . played in eight games for the Trojans and totaled 19rushes for 118 yards (6.2 avg.) plus recorded seven receptions for 41 yardswith one touchdown . . . gained 90 yards on 10 carries at Colorado and added two receptions for 31 yards including one receiving TD against the Buffaloes . . . His 2010 honors included Parade All-American, Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, Under Armour All-American, ESPNU 150, Rivals 100, Prep Star Dream Team, Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star All-West, Orange County Register Fab 15 second team, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team, Cal-Hi Sports All-State Small Schools first team, SectionSports.com All-Central Coast second team and Palo Alto Daily News Offensive Player of the Year as a senior running back at Kings Academy in Sunnyvale (Calif.) . . . ran for 2,110 yards (10.0 average per carry) and 28 TDs in 2010 and also caught 12 passes for 231 yards (19.3 avg.) with 3 TDs . . . as a junior in 2009, he made Cal-Hi Sports All-State Small Schools first team, Cal-Hi Sports All-State Underclass first team, Max Preps All-State Division III second team and San Jose Mercury News All-County . . . ran for 2,037 yards on 187 carries (10.9 avg.) with 29 TDs and caught 11 passes for 182 yards (16.5 avg.) in 2009, plus he returned kicks and punts . . . as a sophomore in 2008, he made Cal-Hi Sports All-State Small Schools second team and Cal-Hi Sports All-State Sophomore while running for 961 yards with 14 TDs . . . rushed for 5,108 yards (11.0 average per carry) with 73 TDs in his high school career, and had 26 100-yard performances (in 28 games) . . . father,Duane, ran track at Maryland and then was a strength and conditioning coach/speed and performance coach with numerous high school, college and pro teams, including the Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Penn State,Philadelphia Charge (women's pro soccer), New Jersey Pride (pro lacrosse), San Francisco 49ers (2005-10) and currently is director of sports performance at Purdue . . . played for coach Ron Kellner at Kings Academy . . . born Sept. 24, 1992.

Kelly's take: As you know, he has transferred into the University of Notre Dame, he attended USC in 2010. He played in a number of games for them last year, and, you know, the transfer process is never an easy one, but we knew Amir, we recruited him last year, we knew about his background, his academics at Kings Academy. We knew about his family, and when he approached us about the potential for transferring, we were excited about it because we felt like he had the right traits, the right character traits to come here and be extremely successful. He's here on campus right now, he was released by USC to pursue the transfer, so he is on scholarship and he is in our workouts right now and, again, we're very, very excited about adding his speed, his athleticism to our football team.

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