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Brian Kelly got Notre Dame football back to national prominence by emphasizing a strong defense, most notably, up front.
He continues in that regard with the 2013 recruiting class, which is highlighted by Bishop Luers High School linebacker Jaylon Smith.
Here is what coach Kelly had to say about his defensive front recruits:
Again, I think sometimes when we talk about superlatives as it relates to stars and things of that nature, those are important, but we had eyes on Michael Deeb. Michael came here to our camp. We were able to observe Michael. Coach Diaco was able to spend time, and we know what we want from that position. We have a pretty clear understanding of the skill set necessary and the intelligence.
And here's what else he brings: He brings an energy to everything he does. When he walks in that locker room, it's time to play football, and if you're not locked in, he's going to make sure he says something to you. We love his energy, we love the way he plays the game, and obviously from our standpoint feel like he's a guy that can come in and obviously compete for us.
Jake Matuska, again, when you talk about he led his team to a 13 1 record, another winner, another guy that can play in the profile that we have at the defensive line position for us but is also versatile enough that he can play on the other side of the ball. Our target is to play him on the defensive side of the ball. He's going to physically get bigger and stronger. We just like his work ethic. We're really excited about him as a person. He's going to fit in well here at Notre Dame, and another young man that really adds to the depth that we're looking for in our program.
Another great program at Woodberry Forest. Dual athlete, excellent lacrosse player, played basketball, can do a number of different things. He's somebody that's long at 6'3", very versatile, can stand up or put his hand down, he gives us that kind of flexibility at that position. Great student, great family.
I know I sound I keep saying the same things, but they're true. I mean, these are really this is why you're at Notre Dame. You get a chance to coach these kinds of kids, and he's a terrific young man. He's going to be a nice football player for us, as well.
Another state champion, Eagles Landing Christian High School. I got a chance to spend some time in the high school, and you could just sense the discipline and the faith, and the way the football program is run, it's a great fit, Isaac coming here to Notre Dame. I think Isaac is a guy that didn't play in lot of the postseason games and didn't get a ton of exposure. He's a fine football player. I mean, we're really excited as a staff to have Isaac Rochell. He's going to play on the defensive line, and he's going to impact this program. I think he's got a huge upside, and we're really excited about getting a player of this caliber here to Notre Dame.
Jaylon Smith out of Bishop Luers: Again, the 2012 Butkus Award winner. We could list all of these things, but the thing that's most impressive is the character of this young man and his energy. He just has it. When he walks into a room, the room kind of lightens up, and that's the kind of personality that he is, and he is one tough football player, as well. He's got all the things that you're looking for, that quickness, that ability to strike. He can play any position really. Great running back, as well. He'll play on the defensive side of the ball, and he's somebody that has great versatility. But he's also going to be a great leader here, and I see great things for Jaylon Smith.
Vanderdoes had not yet signed his national letter of intent when coach Kelly met with the media this week, so he was not available to comment on the California standout. However, here is some information on Vanderdoes regarding his achievements:
First-team defensive lineman on 247Sports All-America team . . . second-team USA Today All-USA high school All-American . . . ranked 33rd player nationally on ESPN 300 list . . . ranked 43rd on MaxPreps/Tom Lemming Top100 list . . . ranked sixth on 247Sports list of top 247 players . . . rated 21st overall on Rivals 250 list and fourth among defensive tackles . . . ranked ninth overall and second among outside defensive tackles on Scout 300 by Scout.com . . . first-team defensive lineman on Sacramento Bee All-Metro team for 2012 . . . made 72 tackles, nine sacks, 10 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery as senior in 2012 for Placer High School in Auburn, Calif. . . . added 65 tackles, 10 sacks, three forced fumbles, ands two fumble recoveries as junior in 2011 . . . earned MVP honor for defensive linemen at The Opening elite combine in 2012 . . . played in U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio and was credited with three tackles and a sack for West squad . . . played for coach Joey Montoya.