NOTRE DAME - One month removed from playing for the BCS national championship, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly and his staff are adding to the foundation of the Irish football program by signing several highly rated high school seniors to national letters of intent.
"It's an exciting day at Notre Dame", Brian Kelly said. "It's exciting because it's centered upon our future, and our future is predicated on the last game that you play. I've made it pretty clear, that after the last game you play, you want to begin taking that next step forward, and for us, taking that next step forward is to continue to build our football program within and developing football players, so when they get back on that field in 2013, we finish it. We finish it off. And this class is that first step towards finishing off 2013 the right way."
So far, Notre Dame has received national letters of intent from the following 17 players, in addition to the five players who enrolled in the university as freshmen for the spring semester.
"We're a team that has gone from unranked to top ten ranking, top five
ranking, at times we're the No. 1 team in the country, and I think your class begins to reflect that as you move forward."
Greg Bryant (RB, 5-11, 200, Delray Beach, Fla., American Heritage-Boca/Delray)--Second-team USA Today All-USA high school All-American . . . rushed for 1,447 yards and 17 touchdowns on 186 attempts as senior in 2012 for American Heritage team that finished 11-1 . . . helped American Heritage School in Delray Beach, Fla., to Florida Class 2A title in 2011 . . . first-team running back on 2012 Associated Press Florida 3A all-state squad . . . ranked 22nd player nationally on ESPN 300 list . . . ranked 15th on MaxPreps/Tom Lemming Top100 list . . . ranked 128th on 247Sports list of top 247 players . . . rated 19th on Rivals 250 list . . . ranked second on Rivals.com list of running backs . . . ranked 70th overall and 13th among running backs on Scout 300 by Scout.com . . . as junior in 2011 rushed for 202 yards in team’s only loss, 41-34 in overtime to Florida Class 5A power Belle Glade Glades Central . . . finished with 2,180 rushing yards and 25 TDs as junior in 2011, including 39 carries for 243 yards and three TDs in Stallions’ 30-3 state title game win over Madison County that enabled team to finish 12-1 . . . contributed 861 rushing yards and 16 TDs as sophomore in 2010 . . . caught 16 passes for 308 yards and three TDs as senior, after nine reception for 272 yards and two TDs in 2011 . . . selected for U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, rushing eight times for 27 yards and catching three passes for 16 yards for East team in its 15-8 victory . . . father Greg Bryant Sr. coached defensive line for American Heritage.
Tarean Folston(RB, 5-10, 190, Cocoa, Fla., Cocoa)—Associated Press Florida Class 4A first-team all-state running back for 2012 . . . named offensive player of the year by Florida Today . . . rushed for 1,186 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2012 on Cocoa High School team in Cocoa, Fla., that advanced to Florida state semifinals . . . also caught eight passes for 85 yards and one TD and had four interceptions (one returned for a TD) as defensive back (and also punted) . . . returned two kickoffs for TDs in 2012 . . . helped Cocoa to wins over Clewiston (55-7) and Jones (35-7) in 2012 Florida Class 4A playoffs before loss to eventual state champion Washington in semifinal round . . . ranked 66th player nationally on ESPN 300 list . . . rated 119th on Rivals 250 list . . . ranked 122nd on 247Sports list of top 247 players . . . ranked 13th on Rivals.com list of running backs . . . ranked 198th overall and 24th among running backs on Scout 300 by Scout.com . . . chosen for Under Armour All-America Game and intercepted one pass and broke up another and made one tackle while playing corner and safety in his team’s 16-3 victory in St. Petersburg .
William Fuller (WR, 6-1, 180, Philadelphia, Pa., Roman Catholic)—First-team receiver on 2012 Pennsylvania Sports Writers AAAA All-State football team . . . named as receiver to Philadelphia Daily News All-City squad for 2012 . . . first-team receiver on Philadelphia Inquirer All-Southeastern Pennsylvania team . . . named MVP of Philadelphia Catholic League 4A . . . rated 176th player nationally on Rivals 250 list . . . ranked 28th on Rivals.com list of wide receivers . . . ranked 179th overall and 22nd among wide receivers on Scout 300 by Scout.com . . . made 57 receptions in 2012 for 932 yards and eight touchdowns for Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia, Pa. . . . had 10 catches for 232 yards and two touchdowns in 2012 win over Cardinal O’Hara . . . also played cornerback . . . honorable mention Pennsylvania all-state pick as junior . . . grabbed 46 receptions in 2011 for 758 yards and 10 TDs on 8-3 Roman Catholic team . . . all-Catholic League 4A pick in 2011 as both receiver and defensive back . . . a first-team All-City selection as sophomore in 2010 by Philadelphia Daily News . . . caught 39 passes for 650 yards and nine TDs in 2010 . . . chosen for Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl and played for East squad.
Mike Heuerman (TE, 6-4, 225, Naples, Fla., Barron Collier)—First-team defensive end on Naples Daily News all-area squad for 2012 . . . caught three passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns as 2012 tight end at Barron Collier High School in Naples, Fla. . . . tonsillectomy sidelined him parts of senior campaign . . . ranked 264th player nationally on ESPN 300 list . . . ranked 215th on 247Sports list of top 247 players . . . ranked eighth on Rivals.com list of tight ends . . . ranked 245th overall and 10th among tight ends on Scout 300 by Scout.com . . . had 23 receptions as junior in 2011 for 340 yards and five scores . . . made four receptions as sophomore in 2010 for 77 yards and one TD . . . played in Rotary Club of Naples North All-Star Football Classic in December . . . brother Jeff will be junior tight end at Ohio State . . . enrolled at Notre Dame in January 2013 .
Torii Hunter Jr. (WR, 6-0, 180, Prosper, Texas, Prosper)--Ranked 95th player nationally on ESPN 300 list . . . rated 181st on Rivals 250 list . . . ranked 21st on Rivals.com list of wide receivers . . . ranked 41st among wide receivers on Scout 300 by Scout.com . . . named to Waco Tribune-Herald Top 50helped Prosper High School in Prosper, Texas, to 10-3 mark in 2012 and Class AAAA Division II regional third-round playoff game . . . second-team all-state pick for 2012 on Texas Associated Press Sports Editors Class 4A squad . . . caught 71 passes for 1,235 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed 11 times for 89 yards in 2012 as senior . . . caught 43 passes for 749 yards and 11 TDs as junior in 2011 . . . MVP of 7-on-7 event The Opening in summer of 2012 . . . also plays baseball in high school, hitting .393 with six home runs, 27 RBI and 13 stolen bases as junior outfielder . . . son of major-league baseball outfielder Torii Hunter, now with the Detroit Tigers and formerly with Minnesota Twins (1997-2007) and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2008-2012) . . . selected for U.S. Army All-American Bowl but suffered broken leg while working out for West squad
Jacob Matuska (DL, 6-4 1/2, 255, Columbus, Ohio, Bishop Hartley)—First-team end on Associated Press All-Ohio Division IV team for 2012 . . . AP All-Central District tight end in Division IV for 2012 . . . first-team tight end on 2012 Columbus Dispatch All-Metro team . . . ranked 17th nationally on Rivals.com list of tight ends . . . ranked 299th overall and 32nd among defensive ends on Scout 300 by Scout.com . . . helped Bishop Hartley High School in Columbus, Ohio, to Ohio Division IV state semifinals and overall 13-1 record . . . Hartley finished first in final Associated Press Division IV poll with 10-0 regular-season mark . . . made 16 catches for 348 yards and four touchdowns on run-oriented team that scored 42.5 points per game as senior in 2012 and also dominated as outside linebacker in Hawks’ 3-5 system . . . made nine receptions, four for TDs, as junior tight end in 2011 . . . also played at defensive end .
John Montelus (OL, 6-5, 305, Everett, Mass., Everett) – Named to 2012 Boston Globe All-Scholastic team . . . three-year offensive line starter at Everett High School in Everett, Mass. . . . first-team offensive lineman on Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association All-State Super 26 team for 2012 . . . first lineman ever to be a finalist for ESPN Boston Mr. Football Award . . . ranked 82nd player nationally on MaxPreps/Tom Lemming Top100 list . . . rated 74th on Rivals 250 list . . . ranked first on Rivals.com list of offensive guards . . . ranked 51st overall and second among offensive guards on Scout 300 by Scout.com . . . played left tackle as a junior and senior . . . helped Everett to three straight Massachusetts Division IA Super Bowl crowns his final three seasons, including a 20-19 win over unbeaten Barnstable in 2012 at Gillette Stadium . . . helped Everett defeat top-seeded Masconomet Regional 42-14 in 2012 IA East semifinals . . . played in U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio .Mike McGlinchey (OL, 6-7 1/2, 280, Philadelphia, Pa., William Penn Charter)—First-team offensive lineman on 2012 Pennsylvania Sports Writers AAAA All-State football team . . . first-team offensive lineman on Philadelphia Inquirer All-Southeastern Pennsylvania team . . . first-team offensive lineman onPhiladelphia Daily News All-City squad for William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, Pa. . . . ranked 131st player nationally on 247Sports list of top 247 players . . . ranked 24th on Rivals.com list of offensive tackles . . . ranked 90th overall and eighth among offensive tackles on Scout 300 by Scout.com . . . captain of team as senior in 2012 . . . began as a high school tight end but shifted to offensive tackle . . . has played virtually everywhere on the field on both sides of the ball, other than secondary . . . also played basketball for Penn Charter . . . selected for Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl and played for East squad . . . first cousin of former Penn Charter and Boston College and current Atlanta Falcon quarterback Matt Ryan .
Colin McGovern (OL, 6-5, 280, New Lenox, Ill., Lincoln-Way West)—First-team Illinois Class 5A all-state pick for 2012 by Illinois Football Coaches Association . . . named to 2012 Chicago Tribune all-state team . . . first-team offensive lineman on Chicago Sun-Times all-area squad for 2012 . . . ranked 37th player nationally on Rivals.com list of offensive tackles . . . ranked 133rd overall and ninth among offensive tackles on Scout 300 by Scout.com . . . played left offensive tackle at Lincoln-Way West High School in New Lenox, Ill. . . . . helped Warriors reach quarterfinals in 2012 state 5A playoffs . . . made 70 pancake blocks as senior and did not allow a sack his junior or senior year . . . transferred from Lincoln-Way Central after his sophomore campaign . . . selected for Under Armour All-America Game but did not participate .
James Onwualu (WR, 6-1 1/2, 210, Saint Paul, Minn., Cretin-Derham Hall)—First-team running back on both Associated Press and Minnesota Football Coaches Association 2012 all-state squads . . . named to All-Pioneer Press 2012 all-star squad as running back/wide receiver/defensive back for 2012 by Saint Paul Pioneer-Press . . . ranked 22nd player nationally on Rivals.com list in “athlete” category . . . listed as top player in Minnesota on Detroit Free-Press Best in the Midwest ratings . . . ranked 296th overall and 39th among wide receivers on Scout 300 by Scout.com . . . finished senior season at Cretin-Derham Hall High School in Saint Paul, Minn., in 2012 with 574 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns on 74 attempts, plus 26 catches for 421 yards and five more TDs . . . led Suburban East Conference in scoring in 2012 with 116 points . . . averaged 26.1 yards (209 total yards) on kickoff returns . . . also made 10 tackles in 2012 and returned an interception 94 yards for a TD . . . had 246 all-purpose yards in 2012 season-opening win over East Ridge, including that 94-yard interception return for a TD and a 45-yard TD reception . . . piled up 428 receiving yards on 27 catches and five TD catches as junior in 2011 . . . rushed 71 times for 549 yards and eight TDs in 2011 . . . scored 80 points in 2011 and added an interception and eight tackles . . . finished with 420 rushing yards, 95 receiving yards, 70 kickoff returns yards and five tackles as sophomore in 2010 while scoring three TDs . . . from long list of Cretin-Derham Hall players to attend Notre Dame, most recently Michael Floyd and Ryan Harris . . . enrolled at Notre Dame in January 2013 .
Doug Randolph (LB, 6-3, 230, Richmond, Va., Woodberry Forest)—Helped Woodberry Forest School in Woodberry Forest, Va., to 7-3 mark as senior in 2012, making 33 tackles (12 solo), 10.5 sacks, 12 hurries, one fumble caused and one pass broken up . . . ranked 142nd player nationally on ESPN 300 list . . . rated 134th on Rivals 250 list . . . ranked 10th on Rivals.com list of outside linebackers . . . ranked 31st among outside linebackers on Scout 300 by Scout.com . . . only pass reception in 2012 went for 41 yards and a touchdown vs. Collegiate . . . had nine tackles and 4.5 sacks in 52-13 win over Kiski in 2012 . . . as junior in 2011 made 47 tackles, nine tackles for loss, seven sacks and forced a fumble . . . selected for U.S. Army All-American Bowl and played for East squad . . . also played as long-stick middie in lacrosse . . . from same high school as current Irish freshman C.J. Prosise .
Durham Smythe (TE, 6-5, 230, Belton, Texas, Belton)—Caught 37 passes for 547 yards and six touchdowns as senior in 2012 at Belton High School in Belton, Texas . . . helped Tigers to 6-4 record as senior on team that averaged 31.6 points per game . . . one of two tight ends on Waco Tribune-Herald Top 50 . . . rated number two onWaco Tribune-Herald list of Central Texas prospects for 2012 . . . two-time first-team tight end on Texas District 8-5A squad in 2012 and 2011 . . . rated sixth tight end nationally by 247Sports and 15th tight end by Rivals . . . Rivals rates him 40th among state of Texas prospects . . . ranked 188th on 247Sports list of top 247 players . . . ranked 170th overall and sixth among tight ends on Scout 300 by Scout.com . . . Texas High School Coaches Association named him to its all-state academic first team for 2012 . . . caught 22 passes as junior in 2011 for 341 yards and three TDs and also caught three two-point conversion throws . . . added eight receptions for 120 yards and two TDs as sophomore in 2010 . . . played defensive end as high school freshman before moving to tight end . . . father Roy was offensive lineman on 1980 Baylor Southwest Conference champion football squad .
Eddie Vanderdoes(DL, 6-3, 285, Auburn, Calif., Placer)— First-team defensive lineman on 247Sports All-America team . . . second-team USA Today All-USA high school All-American . . . ranked 33rd player nationally on ESPN 300 list . . . ranked 43rd on MaxPreps/Tom Lemming Top100 list . . . ranked sixth on 247Sports list of top 247 players . . . rated 21st overall on Rivals 250 list and fourth among defensive tackles . . . ranked ninth overall and second among outside defensive tackles on Scout 300 by Scout.com . . . first-team defensive lineman on Sacramento Bee All-Metro team for 2012 . . . made 72 tackles, nine sacks, 10 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery as senior in 2012 for Placer High School in Auburn, Calif. . . . added 65 tackles, 10 sacks, three forced fumbles, ands two fumble recoveries as junior in 2011 . . . earned MVP honor for defensive linemen at The Opening elite combine in 2012 . . . played in U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio and was credited with three tackles and a sack for West squad .
Malik Zaire (QB, 6-1 1/2, 190, Kettering, Ohio, Archbishop Alter)--ranked 194th player nationally on ESPN 300 list . . . rated 122nd on Rivals 250 list . . . listed 189th nationally on ESPN 300 . . . ranked third on Rivals.com list of dual-threat quarterbacks . . . ranked 172nd overall and 14th among quarterbacks on Scout 300 by Scout.com . . . lefthander earned 2012 Associated Press Ohio Division III Southwest District Offensive Player of the Year accolades with 1,990 yards passing, 1,120 yards on the ground and 33 total touchdowns (24 passing TDs and nine rushing TDs) for Archbishop Alter High School in Kettering, Ohio . . . threw five TD passes and for 251 yards in 2012 season-opening win over Kettering Fairmont while running for another 171 yards and another TD . . . first-team quarterback in 2012 on AP Ohio Southwest All-District Division III team . . . led Alter to 10-0 regular-season record as junior in 2011 before losing in first round of playoffs . . . completed 36 of 82 throws for 729 yards and five touchdowns and also rushed for 1,093 yards and 15 TDs in 2011 as junior . . . . took part in Elite 11 quarterback competition in Redondo Beach, Calif., in summer of 2012 . . . selected for Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl and completed two of five passes for 12 yards and rushed nine times for 20 yards for East squad . . . enrolled at Notre Dame in January 2013.