Notre Dame's success in 2012 is but a precursor of things to come given the way Brian Kelly and Co. have been recruiting. The 2013 recruiting lineup is arguably the best in the nation, with defensive stars like Max Redfield, Jaylon Smith, Hunter Bivin and Steve Elmer all firmly committed to the 2013 class.
With all of that talent showing up to bolster Notre Dame's already top-ranked defense, the Irish will need some serious offensive talent to keep them in the hunt for the national championship. There is little doubt that starting quarterback Everett Golson will continue to improve under the tutelage of head coach Brian Kelly, but with outbound stars like Cierre Wood, Theo Riddick and Tyler Eifert, the Irish have some big shoes to fill.
Enter Rivals.com 5-star running back Greg Bryant.
Son of Westover High School football coach Greg Bryant Sr, it is safe to say the younger Bryant has football in his blood. This was evident during the U.S. Army All-American game, where he helped lead the East squad to victory.
Bryant's commitment to the Irish is solid, and he's quick to admit it, telling Beth Long of Scout.com:
“It's all about football at Notre Dame, everything about Notre Dame is amazing. The tradition its crazy. It would have been hard for me to not choose them." He continued, "“I am getting more and more excited to sign and get to South Bend."
With a unique mix of power, speed and versatility, it would not be surprising to see Bryant on the field making plays this fall—a Robin to George Atkinson's Batman, if you will.
Here are three things that make him so special:
Bryant is a remarkably quick and elusive player. In his senior year at American Heritage High School he attempted 187 runs for 1,464 yards with an average of 7.8 yards per play and 19 touchdowns. His compact build and low center of gravity allow him to be quick on his feet and make defenders miss tackles in small spaces.
Strength is arguably Bryant's trademark asset. Standing at 5'11" and weighing in at a stout 196 pounds, you only have to look at the kid to see he's the bruiser who will be able break tackles and get the tough yards. This has not gone unnoticed by the experts.
Dave Berk of IrishEyes.com noted:
"Bryant has the combination of brute strength and recoil in his upper and lower body. This makes him a very explosive prospect and allows for him to run through tackles and gain extra yards after contact."
Chad Simmons of Scout.com seconded:
"Bryant is a running back that runs with power behind his pads. He is someone that can run through tackles, get the extra yards after contact, and break tackles on a regular basis. He has good straight-line speed, but he is not an elusive back. He is a power guy, a straight ahead runner, and someone who can wear defenses down. He has also shown the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield."
Bryant is a dynamic player who complements his powerful rushing skills with the ability to catch the football. During his senior season, Bryant received for 385 yards and three touchdowns. Obviously those aren't the kind of stats that blow your hair back, but when you watch Bryant's highlight reel you can't help but notice the potential there. If he develops into a dual threat at the college level, his skill set will be lethal to Irish opponents.
With all of the skills mentioned above, Bryant will be an invaluable addition to the Notre Dame offense. On the field he displays a preternatural ability to read plays and find holes in the defense, and his speed off of the snap combined with his great balance and flexibility will make him an Irish star in no time.
*Unless otherwise noted, all statistics and star rankings are from Rivals.com