Defensive recruiting got another much needed boost when Kentucky defensive lineman Brandon Newman publically committed to Notre Dame on Friday and became the 13th member of the Class of 2008.
"When it boiled down to it, I looked at my options, and when it comes to academics and athletics Notre Dame was at the top of the list," Newman said. "If any other school would have come in and offered, Notre Dame would have still been at the top."Newman had been favoring Notre Dame for awhile, but decided to make it official during a trip to campus this past weekend. At 6'1", 305 pounds, Newman will play nose tackle when ND is in a 3-4 defense. It's one of the least glamorous positions as he'll have to constantly fight off double teams, but Newman seems happy that ND is talking about switching to the 3-4.
"It played a huge factor," Newman said of the switch. "That's exactly what I'm doing in high school."Newman picked ND over offers from Stanford (thanks to his 3.8 GPA), Louisville, Kentucky, and Ole Miss. Reports had Tennessee and Alabama after Newman, but both wanted to see him in summer camp before offering. Neither recruiting site has ranked him yet star-wise, but scout.com has him listed as the #19 prospect in the Midwest. On ESPN.com, he's a member of the Top 150 recruits list. As a junior, Newman was named 2nd team All-State and added to the "Tremendous 26" which is Kentucky's High School Coaches Association All-Star team.
While Newman doesn't have the lofty offers or shiny recruit stars that other members of the current recruiting class have, he does fill a very important need for ND. Between ND's current starting nose tackle being listed at a relatively slim 272 pounds and the fact that ND has had to switch players in the last two recruiting classes from tight end and the offensive line into defensive tackles, defensive tackle was priority #1 for this year's recruiting class. Newman at 6'1", 305 pounds combines with recruiting classmate Hafis Williams (6'3", 295 pounds) and last year's Ian Williams (6'2", 295 pounds) to finally give ND a semblance of young depth at the defensive tackle/nose guard position. More importantly, depth with the requisite heft needed. And with a coach-reported 365-pound bench press and 600-pound squat, Newman shouldn't require too much prep time in the weight room before being able to see the field.
Another benefit of Newman's commitment is that, assuming that ND sticks with the 3-4 defense and its solitary nose tackle, the addition of Newman to the depth chart means that guys like Andrew Nuss, Emeka Nwankwo, and possibly even Chris Stewart could return to the offensive line, which will only serve to improve depth at that position as well. While the rebuilding of the OL depth chart has been going better than that at defensive tackle, it doesn't hurt to move guys back to the positions for which they were originally recruited.