Cobbling together thoughts, facts and wild ass speculation from around the interwebs for your ridicule.
We'd better hope Wimbush stays healthy. Seems everyone is thrilled with his potential. He's faster and has a stronger arm than Kizer, but the rest hasn't been tested since he was in HS. He did get rid of the loopy throwing motion. BTW, just from the early installation videos, it looks like the RPO (which helped Penn State this past year) will be a staple of the offense. Wimbush is the highest ranked QB recruit (sans Kiel) recruited by Kelly. Book is no where near Wimbush in terms of talent. I assume Montgomery (NR) is in the same boat.
With Bars now at guard and Kraemer at RT, ND is going to have a massive OL. 329,315,305,320,315. Since part of the reasoning behind Tempo is to equalize up-front disadvantages in size, does pushing these big boys to run at tempo play to their strengths? Not so sure (and I like the use of tempo and I can't believe ND didn't use Tempo more with the one dimensional Rees,) but we've got some bruisers up front, lots of options for two tight end sets and some big backs. 8 four star kids who are sophomores or older. 3 more joining the fold. Theoretically, this could be the strength of the team, Nelson and McGlinchy are both being thought of as 1st round picks. Bars, Mustipher and Kraemer were all highly rated kids.
With Alize Jones returning and Brock Wright now on campus, Long's going to have a lot of options for his two tight end looks. Brock is over 250 right now. Durham Smythe is 256. Jones is really interesting as he can play WR and TE. Two four star kids who are soph +. 2 more joining the fold.
Josh Adams, now 220, is the clear leader at RB, but Tony Jones is in at 225. He looks like a Wisconsin type back. Williams is the lone four star recruit here that's a soph +. Holmes will up that number by 1.
If ND really wants to go big and still maintain flexibility, there are a lot of options to be able to do that. Claypool, Boykin and McKinley (still injured) are all 220 pound wide receivers. ESB is 6'4" and Jones ran with the WRs at least at times. CJ sanders is the lone gamebreaker on the team, though some might put Stepherson there. 5 four star kids at WR who are soph +. Any sign of Freddie Canteen? He would make 6.
Long walked into a good situation, let's see if he's any good and if Kelly can stay out of his way. “I'm going to give him that autonomy to do that. I think over the last few years it's been a committee running the offense. There is no committee now. It's one guy that can kind of turn it loose and run it.”
Defense is where it gets a bit more interesting.
With Elston shifting Bonner inside (I think he's got a little Zorich in him), Trumbetti to SDE, Tillery to nose and Hayes the younger to WDE, it looks like he's downshifting those positions. Trumbetti didn't have great speed for a WDE, but he does have very good speed for a SDE. Same with Bonner and Tillery. Good for penetration, but that ends up being a pretty small front four with a pretty small LB corps. Bama would have a field day. What's interesting is the sheer size and numbers of upperclassmen we have: Tiassum, Dew Treadway (2 deep), Cage and Mokwuah (signs of life last year) are all 300 pounders. That's a lot of raw clay to make something out of. We have 5 four star players on the DL (Tillery, Kareem, Hayes, Hayes and Okwara) who are sophs +. Pagano would be 6, but I don't know how realistic he is. We seem to lose every kid to OU these days. We have something like 17 total DL, which has to be a record. Overall, a big box of chocolates here.
I think everyone feels really good about Morgan at Mike. But is Martini/Coney the answer at Buck? Can Bilal cover at Rover? Some good pieces to play with, but it looks like we've got a lot of Mike types. What happened to four star Army AA Barajas? With the creation of the hybrid rover role, where do Perry and Morgan (both bigger, but slower safeties) fit in? Does Tranquil play here? 4 four star kids at LB. A bit thin.
Love, Watkins, Pride and Vaughn (with Crawford still injured) look like the two deep at CB. Vaughn is Spiderman/Bobby Taylor big at 6'2" 3/4 and 209 pounds. Watkins, some might forget, was offered by just about everybody. 5 four star kids at CB. Everyone seems to feel pretty good about CB.
Looks like Elko did something similar in the secondary (as Elston did on the DL) by moving Coleman and White to safety. Coleman struggled as a CB but has good skills at safety. Safety with Coleman and Tranquil doesn't look that exciting on the surface. People are high on Studstill and Elliott. Morgan and Perry are also here. This is probably the worst recruited position on the team with two kids ranked 4-stars or higher. And one of those kids looks more like an LB. Robertson, a lone 4-star recruit here, checked in at 209 pounds.
It certainly looks like OL and TE positions are the strength of this team and with a couple of 220 pound backs, ND should be able to create a power play action team that works out of a two tight end set often ( as Long says he prefers.) Wimbush is more than talented enough to be effective in such an offense, but of course, talent doesn't always translate into results.
Defense is just too hard to tell. Elko did not have a great first year at Wake Forest, I don't know if that was a talent issue or a learning curve situation. I like Elko, but I don't think we got a Venables here.
* Why talk about 4-stars? It's not exactly in-depth analysis, but each NC team of the past three years had at least 50+% of their starters ranked four stars or higher. In no way is this a a hard and fast rule, but it's a very rough guide to talent. This was the ratio of 4-5 star starters for teams last year: Alabama-77% Clemson-52% Ohio State-70% Washington-26%. I separated out the freshmen... the only two I think could make an impact are Wright and Ewell.
ND would have 56% if you go by Rivals and the current two deep (which will change.)
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