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irish insider

Class of 2018: Offense

| Thursday, February 8, 2018

KEVIN AUSTIN

Photo courtesy of Blue & Gold Illustrated, Rivals

WIDE RECEIVER

6’3” • 185

Coconut Creek, Fla.

North Broward Preparatory School

A wide receiver from Coconut Creek, Florida, Austin signed with Notre Dame during the early signing period. The 4-star wide receiver stands at 6-foot-3 and weighs in at 185 pounds.

Per Rivals, Austin is the No. 15 receiver in the nation and makes the top-100 overall players nationwide. He was named to the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl. He had a total of 2,495 receiving yards and 36 receiving touchdowns in three years of football at North Broward Preparatory School. Austin turned down offers from the likes of USC, Ohio State, Clemson and Miami (FL) to play under head coach Brian Kelly.

JOHN DIRKSEN

Photo courtesy of Blue & Gold Illustrated, Rivals

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN

6’5” • 303

Maria Stein, Ohio

Marion Local High School

Standing at 6-foot-5, Dirksen is an offensive lineman from Maria Stein, Ohio. Dirksen spent his high school career at Marion Local High School where he helped lead his team to two Ohio High School Athletic Association Division VI state championships. Dirksen is the No. 37 offensive tackle in the nation according to Rivals. In addition, Dirksen was named first team all-state in 2017 by the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association. The offensive lineman’s natural strength and size give him a notable advantage on the line. He officially committed to Notre Dame during the early signing period in December.

C’BO FLEMISTER

Photo courtesy of Blue & Gold Illustrated, Rivals

RUNNING BACK

5’11” • 192

Zebulon, Ga.

Pike County High School

In a late turn of events, Notre Dame was able to flip three-star running back C’Bo Flemister, who signed with the Irish despite being initially verbally committed to Georgia Tech. The Zebulon, Georgia, native visited the Irish on Jan. 26-28, and the late push paid off for Notre Dame.

The 5-foot-11, 192-pound back ran for 2,348 yards and 35 touchdowns during his senior season en-route to being named the Atlanta Journal Constitution’3A Offensive Player of the Year.

After being offered by the Irish on Jan. 17, Flemister is Notre Dame’s second running back signee of the class, joining fellow three-star North Carolina native Jahmir Smith, who committed to the Irish this past summer.

LUKE JONES

Photo courtesy of Blue & Gold Illustrated, Rivals

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN

6’4” • 289

Little Rock, Ark.

Pulaski Academy

The 6-foot-4 offensive lineman out of Little Rock, Arkansas, had to wait until Wednesday to officially sign with the Irish after committing on Dec. 27, but adds a promising piece to Notre Dame’s offensive line.

Rated a three-star recruit by Rivals, Jones was named first-team All-Arkansas by USA Today and won the Willie Roaf Award as the top high school offensive lineman in Arkansas. A four-time state champion with Pulaski Academy, Jones’ greatest strength is perhaps his versatility, as he can line up at the guard position or center.

After Bret Bielema’s firing at Arkansas, where Jones was initially committed, Notre Dame was able to flip Jones, who chose the Irish over the likes of Oregon, Arizona and Missouri.

MICAH JONES

Photo courtesy of Blue & Gold Illustrated, Rivals

WIDE RECEIVER

6’5” • 202

Gurnee, Ill.

Warren Township High School

A top receiving recruit from Gurnee, Illinois, Jones committed to play at Notre Dame during his junior year of high school. The wide receiver is coming off a successful senior season, hauling in 50 passes for 681 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. He helped lead Warren Township High School to an appearance in the Illinois State Playoffs. Jones also won All-State honors in Illinois and was named 2017 Player of the Year by the Lake County News-Sun. Per Rivals, he is the No. 2 player in the state.

An explosive offensive producer with plenty of height, Jones is poised to be an important addition to an Irish receiving corps. Jones enrolled early at the University, and has been attending classes since January 2018.

PHIL JURKOVEC

Photo courtesy of Blue & Gold Illustrated, Rivals

QUARTERBACK

6’5” • 190

Pittsburgh

Pine-Richland High School

Irish head coach Brian Kelly was quoted saying that the Phil Jurkovec is “the best in the country.” The four-star quarterback weighs in at 190 pounds, with a height of 6-foot-5. The Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year has been committed to Notre Dame since May 2016. Before receiving this honor, he led his high school football team to the 6A state championship. Jurkovec, the No. 5 quarterback in his class, per Rivals, finished his high school career with over 8,000 passing yards and 71 touchdowns, with 3,969 of those yards coming in his senior year.

LAWRENCE KEYS III

Photo courtesy of Blue & Gold Illustrated, Rivals

WIDE RECEIVER

5’11” • 160

New Orleans

McDonogh 35

After receiving over 25 offers from universities around the country, including Texas, Alabama and Georgia, Keys III ultimately signed with the Irish. The 5-foot-11, four-star wide receiver weighs in at 160 pounds. Keys brings his talent speed, playmaking ability and athleticism to the table for Notre Dame.

BRADEN LENZY

Photo courtesy of Blue & Gold Illustrated, Rivals

WIDE RECEIVER

6’0” • 165

Portland, Ore.

Tigard Senior High School

Lenzy, a 6-foot, 165-pound athlete out of Portland, Oregon, committed to Notre Dame to close out its early signing period. He originally committed to Notre Dame but flipped his commitment to Oregon in June. However, after Ducks head coach Willie Taggart left Oregon, Lenzy flipped back to Notre Dame, announcing his final decision in a story in The Players’ Tribune. Lenzy is the No. 12 athlete in the country, per Rivals, and the No. 3 recruit coming out of Oregon.

COLE MABRY

Photo courtesy of Blue & Gold Illustrated, Rivals

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN

6’6” • 255

Brentwood, Tenn.

Brentwood High School

Notre Dame adds some strength to the offensive line with Mabry from Brentwood, Tennessee. At 6-foot-6, 255 pounds, Mabry is ranked as the No. 63 offensive tackle in the country by Rivals.com and the No. 23 from his home state. After being on the radar of offensive coordinator Chip Long from his time coaching at Memphis, Mabry was quick to commit to Notre Dame after receiving an offer in December. Mabry brings versatility as he can play at either the guard or tackle positions. In the spread offensive scheme that the Irish run, Mabry’s size and athleticism are a sound fit even if it remains to be seen where he will be lining up. Mabry is described as a lineman who plays with a bit of an edge to his game.

JARRETT PATTERSON

Photo courtesy of Blue & Gold Illustrated, Rivals

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN

6’6” • 275

Mission Viejo, Calif.

Mission Veijo High School

Jarrett Patterson, a 6-foot-5, 275-pounder hailing from Mission Viejo, California, got the Irish off to a good start on National Signing Day this year, committing to Notre Dame over Auburn, Arizona State, Michigan, UCLA and numerous other top programs. A student at Mission Viejo High School, Patterson is listed as the No. 29 offensive tackle in the nation by Rivals and has received first team all-league, first team all-county, first team all-CIF and second team all-state honors. Patterson has the potential to become a multi-year starter at Notre Dame.

JAHMIR SMITH

Photo courtesy of Blue & Gold Illustrated, Rivals

RUNNING BACK

6’0” • 199

Sanford, North Carolina

Lee County High School

Hailing from Sanford, North Carolina, Smith looks to strengthen the depth of the Irish rushing core after Josh Adams to the NFL draft and Deon McIntosh after being dismissed from the team. Smith is ranked the No. 20 running back by Rivals.com. The 6-foot, 199-pound back had a strong 2016 campaign with Lee County High School; Smith had over 2,000 rushing yards and 40 rushing touchdowns in his junior season. Smith only played two games in his senior year.

Smith committed to Notre Dame in July. He turned down schools including Minnesota and USC for a chance to make an impact in the Irish running back rotation. The 3-star recruit enrolled early at Notre Dame.

GEORGE TAKACS

Photo courtesy of Blue & Gold Illustrated, Rivals

TIGHT END

6’6” • 235

Naples, Fla.

Gulf Coast High School

Takacs committed to Notre Dame in June and signed his National Letter of Intent during the early signing period. Takacs, standing at 6-foot-6 and weighing 235 pounds, was a tight end for Gulf Coast High School in Naples, Florida. During his senior season in 2017, Takacs recorded 23 catches for 207 receiving yards and one touchdown. He was selected to participate in the 2018 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. Ranked as the No. 11 tight end nationally and No. 50 player from Florida by Rivals.com. Takacs’ size and weight makes him a difficult matchup for any defensive back. He also provides an imposing blocking presence and can clear holes for running backs.

TOMMY TREMBLE

Photo courtesy of Blue & Gold Illustrated, Rivals

TIGHT END

6’4” • 224

Johns Creek, Ga.

Wesleyan

Tremble, a three-star tight end, signed with Notre Dame during the early signing period. Standing at 6-foot-4, Tremble is ranked the No. 20 tight end of his class and No. 50 player out of Georgia, per Rivals. The Georgia recruit joins a strong tight end class for the Irish, which should prove to be a force under offensive coordinator Chip Long. Tremble chose Notre Dame over the likes of Michigan and UCLA.

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