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Ranking Notre Dame Commits


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Ranked and ordered

 

By Pete Sampson – Rivals.com

 

Sometimes it's a measurable. It can also be an injury. A position, or even the lack of a true one, can also play a part. And every so often all three factors will influence the evaluation of a prospect for the analysts at Rivals.com, who this month released their picks for the nation's Top 250 players.

 

After checking the NIKE Camp circuit, taking in spring practices, interviewing high school coaches and watching hours and hours of game film, Rivals.com released its first batch of rankings, ones sure to evolve after the fall schedule and the postseason all-star exhibitions. The initial rankings serve as a starting point for the eventful eight months leading up to Signing Day, said analyst Jeremy Crabtree.

 

"It's really tough to make comparisons from one region to another, it's probably the single most difficult thing we do," Crabtree said. "To say a kid in the Midwest is better than a kid in the Southeast that's then better than a kid from the Pacific Northwest, that's a difficult comparison to make."

 

Texas and Florida both put 13 prospects in the Rivals100, with California (10), Georgia (six), North Carolina (six) and South Carolina (five) following from there. Michigan and Ohio paced the Midwest with four Rivals100 prospects each, although the former also included two five-star prospects in Joseph Barksdale and Ronald Johnson.

 

The rankings, which last year sat about as well with Notre Dame fans as Ted Ginn streaking down the sideline at the Fiesta Bowl, included five of the seven Irish commitments. Aside from Jimmy Clausen grabbing the No. 1 overall spot, Duval Kamara and Mike Ragone earned Rivals100 inclusion while Justin Trattou and Steve Paskorz landed in the Rivals250.

 

The omission most noted by Irish fans was defensive end Kerry Neal. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound pass rusher committed to the Irish in late February as a little-known prospect, then picked up offers from Alabama, Florida, Miami and Nebraska to grow into to a full fledged regional recruit.

 

"Certainly he's a guy on tape that's very aggressive and pursues the ball well," said analyst J.C. Shurburtt, adding that he sees Neal as possible college linebacker. "I think he's a little bit of a tweener instead of having ideal size for a defensive end."

 

Neal will start as one of the nation's top three-star recruits, and with a closer eye fixed on Bunn High School this fall plus opportunities to play in the Shrine Bowl and possibly the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, he'll have opportunities to play his way up, not unlike another Irish commitment from North Carolina last year, cornerback Raeshon McNeil.

 

"When projecting to college and especially the next level, height is an issue," said analyst Mike Farrell. "A player can be a great college player without height like Elvis Dumervil, but those cases are rare."

 

Height worked in Notre Dame's favor with Kamara, who checked in at No. 39 overall and ranked as the nation's fifth-best receiver.

 

"He's not as plain fast as Dwayne Jarrett was out of high school, but he's bigger," Farrell said. "He's strong and a tough match-up for anyone. He's exactly what colleges are looking for in a wide receiver these days. I see him playing the Maurice Stovall role at Notre Dame but being more consistent and more ready to contribute early."

 

At tight end, Ragone ranked second at his position and No. 63 overall. A serious knee injury suffered during a wrestling match will cut short Ragone's senior season and helped give the No. 1 tight end nod to Florida commitment Aaron Hernandez. Both are expected to be U.S. Army All-American picks, meaning a head-to-head competition.

 

"They are very close to each other but different types of guys," Farrell said. "Hernandez is better at going and getting the ball in traffic and has better ball skills. Ragone is quicker and can stretch the field and has a great frame to become a big pass-catching tight end.

 

"We had the two of them in a dead heat and it was going to be a difficult decision as to who was No. 1, but Ragone's knee injury was ugly and we are playing a wait and see game with him. I'm pretty sure he's going to be back to 100 percent and will have a big senior season, but Hernandez will likely have a big senior season as well so we'll see what happens. Both are top-notch prospects."

 

That goes for the recruits offered by Notre Dame on the offensive line too where the Irish are in on Ryan Miller, Lee Ziemba, Matt Romine and James Wilson among others.

 

"Miller has got a great frame, has great footwork and is as strong as an ox, he almost looks like Sam Young, just maybe not as tall," Crabtree said. "What you see about Lee is he's very athletic and can get after it. He likes to go out and knock big guys around to the ground. He's a physical wonder and three or four years down the road he could really, really be something special.

 

"Matt was a kid that was almost right on the Rivals100 bubble. Matt does so many things really well. He's a fundamental kid who moves extremely well. He's an adept pass blocker in one of the top programs not just in Oklahoma, but in maybe the entire country."

 

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Guest VagasFerguson44

Pulling in guys like Benn "ain't" gonna get us Ginn like speed. You see he film on Benn. I think a few defensive tackles ran that boy down. Benn for TE is my vote!

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Guest kramer116

I know this is off target, but I just found out that New England had the most college graduates of any NFL team. Says something about these players that are gonna be coming in under Weis that can "read and write." With smart, top flight talent across the board in three years, we are gonna be scary good. I get so worked up just thinking about it.

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Guest Kgreene2343
I know this is off target, but I just found out that New England had the most college graduates of any NFL team. Says something about these players that are gonna be coming in under Weis that can "read and write." With smart, top flight talent across the board in three years, we are gonna be scary good. I get so worked up just thinking about it.

 

I know exactly what you mean. I'm already getting that sanity-be-damned grin on my face, and considering shaving ND into my chest. :twisted:

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I know exactly what you mean. I'm already getting that sanity-be-damned grin on my face, and considering shaving ND into my chest. :twisted:

 

I already got the Charlie Weis for President tattoo on my butt....guess I shoulda started with the ND on my chest. :oops:

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Guest TDJesus3

vegas seriously underestimates Benn, Benn is CW's top reciever target and has been for two years, add the services rankings, and what more love do u want for the kid vegas? Its u versus the world on Benn, and im with the world

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