Notre Dame Football: 5-Star RB Greg Bryant Joins the Irish Mob

Matt Smith@MattSmithCFBCorrespondent IIIDecember 9, 2012

Notre Dame once again capitalized on its momentum generated from its 12-0 regular season on Sunday when 5-star running back Greg Bryant of American Heritage High School in Delray Beach, Fla. became Notre Dame's 22nd commitment of the 2013 class. Bryant is rated as the No. 16 player in the country by Rivals and No. 27 by ESPN.

Bryant was in South Bend this weekend for an official visit, a trip so convincing that he wasted no time in joining the class hailed as "Irish Mob '13."

Bryant had previously committed to Oklahoma in April, seen as a bit of a surprise at the time with national signing day more than 10 months away. In July, the 5'11", 197-pound Bryant put himself back on the market. Notre Dame did not appear to be a significant player in Bryant's recruitment at that time, but he reached out to Fighting Irish coaches to express his interest in what is now the No. 1 team in the country.

With the commitment of the only other running back in the class, Jamel James of Katy, Tex., beginning to waver, Bryant gives the Irish an elite back in a class that could end up as the top class in the country when commitments officially become signees on Feb. 6.

Of Notre Dame's current running back stable, Bryant most compares to Theo Riddick. He doesn't have the straight-line speed of a Cierre Wood or George Atkinson III, but he'll be highly effective between the tackles with great vision and ability to cut back without losing a step. Like Riddick, he can also be a factor in the passing game.

With Riddick a senior and Wood likely to bypass a potential fifth year for a chance at the NFL, Bryant, along with Atkinson III and Amir Carlisle, gives the Irish the variety of running backs that Brian Kelly likes to have for both 2013 and 2014. Will Mahone, who is redshirting this season, could also be a factor next season.

With two months to go, Notre Dame appears to be looking at a class size of 24 or 25, a couple spots higher than was anticipated. Safety Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif.) and defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad (Ramsey, N.J.) both appear to be leaning heavily toward Notre Dame, and a final spot could be used for a surprise commitment from a player such as defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes (Placer, Calif.)

Winning isn't everything in recruiting, as evidenced by Manti Te'o committing to Notre Dame after consecutive seasons of 3-9 and 7-6, but Bryant is a player Notre Dame would likely not have landed if it had gone 8-5 again. Lead recruiter Tony Alford didn't have to do a ton of selling with Bryant, as 12-0 basically sold itself.

Keep it here on Bleacher Report for more analysis for the newest member of Notre Dame's 2013 class.