Notre Dame Football Recruiting: Commits Who Will Fix Irish Offense

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIJanuary 24, 2013

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - JANUARY 06:  Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly spreaks with members of the media during the Discover BCS National Championship Head Coaches Press Conference on January 6, 2013 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

National signing day is right around the corner, and every program is scrambling to finalize its commitments. Notre Dame is one such program, and for the first time in a long time its had its hands full this recruiting season.

The Irish have enjoyed a massive influx of recruiting PR this season—going 12-1 and making it to the BCS Championship will do that for a program.

However, as the national title game showed, Brian Kelly still has holes to fill.

Many of those holes come on offense, which the Irish greatly lacked in 2012. The Notre Dame ranked 54th in total offense (412.2 yards per game) and 80th in points per game (a mere 25.8) last season.

With the foundation of a sound defense in place, it's time for Kelly to look to his offense and make some improvements. And he's certainly done that with these top commits.


Torii Hunter Jr., WR

The one thing the Fighting Irish really lacked in 2012 was a solid wide receiver. It affected their downfield game, and limited the kind of damage Notre Dame could do.

TJ Jones led the wideouts in receiving yards with just 649, and he only had three games in which his longest reception was over 30 yards.

The son of Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter Sr., Torii Hunter Jr. has all the tools of a great receiver.

While height remains an issue—he's only 6'0—Hunter has the athleticism and body control to go over defenders and make great catches.

More importantly, he has solid running ability and great hands.

The only issue with Hunter is a grisly leg injury suffered during practice for the All-American Bowl, which ESPN later reported would keep Hunter off the field for six to eight months.


Mike Heuerman, TE

Without a great downfield threat, Notre Dame relied heavily on its star tight end to lead the receiving corp in 2012.

That tight end would of course be Tyler Eifert, who led the Irish in receiving yards (685) and receiving touchdowns (four) last season.

But Eifert will head to the NFL draft this spring, leaving the Irish without a midfield threat.

Matt Heuerman could certainly be that threat. At 6'4" and 220 pounds, Heuerman has the size and build to succeed as a college tight end.

He's been praised as not only a solid receiver, but also a good blocker. That makes him a perfect fit for Brian Kelly's run-heavy scheme, while keeping him a threat in the passing game.


Hunter Bivin, OT

The Irish didn't have many issues against pass-rushers this season, but it never hurts to build depth at the O-line.

Notre Dame hopes to find some of that depth in offensive tackle recruit Hunter Bivin.

Bivin's been praised for his work ethic and ability to hold his own at the line. He's a physical player, who guards his quarterback while working to ware out the defense.

Bivin also has the size (6'6", 290 pounds) and versatility to move to center if necessary. That kind of ability will go a long way at the next level, and should keep Everett Golson well protected.