Blue and Gold Illustrated

June/July 2017

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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www.BLUEANDGOLD.com JUNE/JULY 2017 21 Sophomore Javon McKinley was the highest-ranked receiver in the class, with Scout listing him as the na- tion's No. 55 overall player and Rivals rating him No. 59. He was primarily a special teams player in 2016, but a broken fibula ended his season after seven games, and it kept him from being 100 percent during the spring. McKinley started to show more burst toward the end of the spring, and the result was Irish defensive backs having a harder time handling his size (6-2, 220) and ball skills. He lacks the speed of Stepherson or the athleticism of Claypool, but he's a savvy receiver that knows how to get open. When locked in, he has top- level ball skills. Running back Tony Jones Jr. was a breakout performer for the Irish offense throughout the spring. He combines good size (5-11, 224) and nimble feet, which allows him to run with power between the tackles but also the ability to make defenders miss. It seemed every time Notre Dame had an open practice, Jones ripped off at least four or five huge gains as a runner or pass catcher. Jones is pushing for the backup spot behind Adams, and the odds are strong that he'll make his presence felt this fall. He provides a complementary running style to Adams, who is more of a slasher. He is also the best pass catcher in the backfield, another trait that will earn playing time next fall. 6. DEPTH AND SPECIAL TEAMS PRODUCTION Sophomore quarterback Ian Book isn't pushing for a starting role, but he will be an important player on the depth chart. Book had a strong spring and has solidified himself as the backup to junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush. Remember how vital DeShone Kizer was as the soph- omore backup in 2015. Jonathan Jones and Jamir Jones, no relation, are backing up senior Nyles Morgan at Mike linebacker. Jamir Jones showed glimpses of pass rush- ing potential, which could ultimately lead to him moving to drop end or at least finding a role in Notre Dame's third-down packages. John Shannon is the least heralded of all the 2016 recruits, but he's vital to Notre Dame's special team success. Shannon is being tasked the next four years with replacing reliable snapper Scott Daly. The Irish need Shannon to be equally consistent as the team's short and long snapper. ✦ Players Signed: 23 Players Available in 2017: 22 (Three-star safety Spencer Perry announced his intention to transfer in April) 2016 Recruiting Rankings: Rivals (No. 11), Scout (No. 13), 247Sports (No. 15) and ESPN (No. 16) Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Ian Book* QB 6-0 205 A strong spring allowed him to emerge as the backup quarterback. Parker Boudreaux* C 6-4 288 Still adjusting to center and is still at least a year away from contributing. Chase Claypool WR 6-4½ 224 He's still learning the position, but is too talented not to play. Liam Eichenberg* OT 6-6 294 Will challenge classmate Tommy Kraemer for the staring right tackle spot. Jalen Elliott S 6-0½ 208 Heads into the summer as the front-runner at free safety. Daelin Hayes DE 6-3½ 255 If healthy, he could provide a significant boost to Notre Dame's struggling pass rush. Jamir Jones LB 6-3 243 Depth and special teams will be his primary responsibilities in 2017. Jonathan Jones* LB 5-11½ 227 Emerged as the top backup to senior Nyles Morgan. Tony Jones Jr.* RB 5-11 224 Expect him to compete for touches next fall. Khalid Kareem DE 6-4 267 Finished the spring on a good note on the strong side behind two seniors. Tommy Kraemer* OT 6-5½ 313 Completed the spring as the front-runner at right tackle. Julian Love CB 5-11 190 Instincts and tackling ability have him in the starting lineup. Deon McIntosh* RB/WR 5-10½ 190 Provides depth at both running back and wide receiver. Javon McKinley WR 6-2 220 Still recovering from a season-ending leg injury, but could crack the two-deep. D.J. Morgan* S 6-2 208 Will look to find a role on special teams this fall. Adetokunbo Ogundeji* DE 6-4½ 251 Showed a knack for getting to the quarterback during the spring. Julian Okwara DE 6-4½ 235 Speed off the edge should allow him to find a role on the Irish defense. Troy Pride Jr. CB 5-11½ 183 Must continue improving his technique, but his speed is elite. John Shannon* LS 6-2 235 Notre Dame is counting on him to take over the short and long snapping duties. Kevin Stepherson WR 6-0 180 If he can stay focused, he gives the Irish a home-run threat. Devin Studstill S 6-0 198 Has to become a more consistent player to get back in the starting lineup. Donte Vaughn CB 6-2½ 209 His length and playmaking ability will help him find a role next year. * Eligible for a fifth season in 2020 Sophomore Class Review Ian Book capped a strong spring by passing for 277 yards and a touch- down in the Blue-Gold Game, and will serve as Notre Dame's backup quarterback in 2017. PHOTO BY COREY BODDEN

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