Monday, November 02, 2009

Filling up fast | by Pat

ND got some more good recruiting news this past week with two more public commits, bringing the current recruiting class up to 18. First up was Florida running back Giovanni Bernard.

The 5'9" 195 pound Bernard visited Notre Dame for the Southern Cal game and followed that up with a trip to Nebraska. After returning home he made the decision to commit to the Irish.

"Notre Dame is the perfect fit for me,'' Bernard said. "The education, the alumni and the entire college atmosphere. I am excited about the opportunity.''
Bernard goes to St. Thomas Aquinas in Florida, giving ND another player from the alma mater of Sam Young, Dan Wenger, Ben Turk, and Jordan Cowart.

Both Rivals and Scout rank Bernard as a 4-star recruit and the 12th overall running back recruit. Scout also has him as a Top 100 recruit, checking in at #88 while Rivals has him as the #162 recruit in their Top 250. ESPN gave Bernard 4 stars as well and put him as the #16 running back and a 79 overall grade. When it comes to offers, Bernard's list is long and impressive. In addition to finalists Nebraska and Oregon State, where his brother Yvenson was a star running back, Bernard has offers from Florida, Alabama, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Florida State, Miami, and many others.

ND is now likely done at running back with Cameron Roberson and Bernard both on board. Check out some of his highlights in this video interview from earlier in the year and see why Bernard is getting some Autry Denson/Darius Walker comparisons. Here's the depth chart breakdown at running back/fullback for 2010 when Roberson and Bernard show up on campus

Fifth Year
Senior Junior Sophomore Freshman

Armando Allen
Jonas Gray
Theo Riddick
Cameron Roberson

Robert Hughes

Cierre Wood*
Gio Bernard

Steve Paskorz*

The other good news came on Friday when Texas cornerback Toney Hurd, Jr. went public and announced for Notre Dame. Corwin Brown visited Hurd's high school on the same day as ND was making their way to San Antonio for the weekend's game, but due to NCAA rules, Hurd couldn't talk to Brown directly and had to call the staff on the phone to commit.

Rivals has the 5'9" 185 pound Hurd as a 3 star CB and only the 44th overall cornerback recruit, but they also put him as 2nd Team Defense from last January's US Army Bowl Underclassmen Combine. He's a 3 star on Scout and the #26 overall CB. ESPN slots him a bit higher than the other two, giving Hurd 4 stars and labeling him as the #10 corner in the nation. They also have him at #120 in their Top 150 list and give him a grade of 81, tying Tai-ler Jones for highest in the current recruiting class. (In completely unrelated news, both Jones and Hurd are also signed up to play in the ESPN All-American Bowl game in January.)

Like others in this class, Hurd has a strong offer list despite the 3-star recruiting site ranking. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Florida State, Oregon, and Texas A&M all offered Hurd.

Adding Hurd gives ND three corners in the current class as Toney joins the Florida duo of Lo Wood and Spencer Boyd. Here's the depth chart at corner for 2010.

Fifth Year
Senior Junior Sophomore Freshman
Darrin Walls*
Gary Gray*
Robert Blanton
E.J. Banks*
Lo Wood

J. Slaughter*

Spencer Boyd

Toney Hurd

With 18 recruits in the class already, there aren't too many spots left with plenty of players still on the board. There is still room for around 7 recruits, give or take a few depending on 5th year decisions and other attrition. Heading into the recruiting homestretch, ND already has a solid class but needs to close out strong with some of the remaining top players still heavily considering ND in order to have the kind of strong class needed to keep up with other top programs.