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Recruiting: Irish add Drue Tranquill, will host more visitors

Mike Monaco | Thursday, November 21, 2013


Notre Dame added another commitment to its class of 2014 on Tuesday night when in-state linebacker/safety Drue Tranquill pledged to the Irish.

Tranquill had been committed to Purdue since July 23, but he received an offer from Notre Dame soon thereafter and flipped his allegiance this week.

“I think it just comes down to comfort,” Irish recruiting expert Mike Frank said. “It comes down to, ‘what did I think I am and what do I want to accomplish in life?'”

The Fort Wayne, Ind., native visited Notre Dame multiple times following the offer, most recently for the USC game in October. The 6-foot-3, 207-pounder, depending on position, would be the third linebacker pledge in the class and the first safety to commit to Notre Dame, putting its class of 2014 at 18 members now.

Frank, who runs the ESPN-affiliated Irish Sports Daily, said Tranquill initially committed to Purdue as a safety, though Notre Dame may have viewed him as more of an inside linebacker. During Tranquill’s visit in October, however, Frank said the Irish didn’t restrict the prospect to a single position. He also noted that Irish graduate student inside linebacker Dan Fox played safety in high school before changing positions at the collegiate level.

“Some schools look at [Tranquill] as a big safety and a guy who can bring the lumber,” Frank said. “In this defense, he probably fits pretty well because you want some bigger guys. If you play this kind of defense, you want some bigger guys who can play in the alley, play in run support. And I think he definitely fits that role.

“But at the same time Notre Dame has the same need for a linebacker. So he has a body right now that could grow into an inside linebacker. So I think that’s kind of the thing about him. What is he?”

The search for inside linebackers continued over the bye week for the Irish, as Notre Dame extended offers to the likes of Kolin Hill and Nile Sykes. Frank said both players are undersized but make up for it with their effort and athleticism.

Defensive end Jhonny Williams also added an Irish offer during the bye week, though the 6-foot-5, 230-pounder remains committed to Missouri, after committing in late September. Williams, though, will visit Notre Dame this weekend, per Irish Sports Daily. Frank praised the 2014 prospect’s quickness, relentlessness and size.

“You look at that kid, he has as much potential as anybody they have signed on the defensive line. … I think he’s a fantastic prospect,” Frank said.

Quarterback Blake Barnett, a member of the class of 2015, is scheduled to make a return visit to Notre Dame this weekend, according to Frank. Barnett visited South Bend for the USC game and received an offer during the trip. Frank compared the 6-foot-4, 185-pounder to Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and noted that Barnett has drawn the highest praise from quarterback coaches on the West Coast.

“Blake Barnett can play all the types of schemes and offenses that Brian Kelly wants,” Frank said. “Brian Kelly made it a big, big priority on him and said ‘Look, this kid’s going to be a great player. We really, really want him.’ And they’ve made a big, big effort to get him back on campus again this weekend. 

“So I think there’s a good shot, a really good shot that they’re going to get him this weekend. If they do, that’s a huge, huge plus.”

Frank added that location and weather can always be tough sells to California prospects such as Barnett, who hails from Corona, Calif. Nonetheless, Frank said Notre Dame is still in the running for 2014 prospects from the Golden State, namely tight end Tyler Luatua, athlete Juju Smith and receiver Michiah Quick. Frank praised the recruiting work of Irish assistant coach Mike Denbrock in California during the bye week. Still, in the end, Frank said winning plays a major role.

“You have to win games,” he said. “You have to win a lot of games in order to entice those guys from the West Coast. … It’s hard to get them if you don’t win.”

For more on Notre Dame recruiting, check out Mike Frank’s irishsportsdaily.com. Email Mike at [email protected] and tell him The Observer sent you.

Contact Mike Monaco at [email protected]