Signing day is a distant memory, and with the smoke finally cleared (except drama queen Terrelle Pryor), it appears Notre Dame is on their way to rebuilding a crippled national image. I am excited for this incoming crop of young players, but history has taught me recruiting is an in-exact science, and high commit rankings don’t necessarily equal high rankings in the polls that matter down the road. Enclosed is my analysis/thoughts on the new look defense.
The Irish definitely upgraded the secondary, which has been a pressing need the last decade. I can’t think of many things more frustrating/depressing than watching our undersized, slow secondary get blown away by speedy, physical USC receivers. 6’1″ 185 lb. Jamoris Slaughter headlines at the safety position, and is going to make an immediate impact. Landing the Georgia native is a huge victory. He epitimizes the kind of player that flirts with the Irish, then signs with UGA or another SEC powerhouse. Kudos to Corwin Brown for landing him.
Safety Robert Blanton is almost identical in size and speed to Slaughter, but he doesn’t excite me nearly as much. It may have a little to do with me being partial to DB’s from SEC country, but mostly Slaughter’s tapes being more convincing, and his short list of schools much more impressive. A player’s hometown is irrelevant when it comes to school lists. Any guy worth his salt usually has two or more of, what I consider, the “Recruiting Juggernauts” on his list. These schools are, in no particular order, Oklahoma, Texas, USC, LSU, Florida, Ohio St., and Michigan. Before you flood FHT with angry e-mails, I fully admit my theory may very well have more flaws than the current BCS system. I honestly don’t know much about this guy, so the verdict won’t be out for a few more years.
Last is Ohio’s Dan McCarthy. The 6′2″ 190lb. safety could become a menacing linebacker if he beefs up, but that position is stocked (more on that later). He reminds me of LSU’s Craig Steltz in terms of leadership and intangibles. He has the size, speed, and smarts to play a series or two immediately. If he develops to be half the player Steltz was, this kid will be remembered in South Bend long after his tenure ends. *Dan’s older brother is the Irish’s Kyle McCarthy.
The biggest question mark in the defensive backfield will be at cornerback. The Irish didn’t sign any true corners for the future, and this is the position that has plagued the passing defense. Terrail Lambert looked lost and outmatched against receivers from even non-quality opponents, so we can only hope someone steps up this spring and improves the position, instead of also making a wideout’s highlight reel multiple times (i.e. Manningham, Jarrett). I’m rooting for Darrin Walls to look much more polished and have a good season
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