Growing concerns that 4-star DE/OLB Alquadin Muhammad (Ramsey, N.J.) will eventually find his way to South Bend for a visit -- or as a college destination -- have opened speculation that another explosive athlete, Missouri City, TX (Marshall High School) DE Deon Hollins could fill one of the program's remaining four slots for the 2013 class.
Smaller than Muhammad (previewed in the next section below) and perhaps a bit more likely to play on the perimeter should he join defensive coordinator Bob Diaco's unit, Hollins, who committed to the Bruins last March, projects easily as a Cat 'backer for the Irish.
Blessed with rare quickness followed by straight-line speed off the snap, Hollins is likely an inch or two short and presently 20 pounds lighter than the prototype set forth by head coach Brian Kelly's recruiting model for an outside linebacker. Then again, so too is Danny Spond (6'2") at the Dog and Prince Shembo (6'2" at the Cat/DE).
Muscle mass won't be an issue, not with strength and conditioning coach Paul Longo in charge of Hollins' development should he sign for the Irish. Nor would his 6'2" frame, as Kelly noted often that his height/weight specificities bend when "compelling reasons exist" to go off profile in search of impact athletes.
"Give me the compelling reasons that he doesn't hit the 6'6" range as an offensive tackle," Kelly used as a general example. "There must be compelling reasons (to nevertheless recruit a player)."
For Hollins, the compelling reason that jumps off his highlight tape is the following truth: his innate ability to get from point A (scrimmage) to point B (the opposing quarterback and/or ball carrier) in a hurry.
While Muhammad might have an edge in terms of position versatility (3-4 DE, Cat 'Backer, and 4-3 DE), Hollins (Cat and 4-3 DE) has a burst that would doubtless translate at the next level. Could he play at 6'2" 250-55 and hold up vs. the run as a DE as well as the absurdly strong Shembo? If not, could his quick feet and speed allow for more 3-4 sets with Hollins as a Cat, thereby adding more speed to boundary side coverage on first down and second down, while then allowing him to put his hand on the ground in passing situations.
Defensive end is more of a position of need for the Irish in 2014, '15, and beyond than is Cat linebacker. But as noted in the Max Redfield writeup below -- the need is for explosive athletes, not to slot high school stars to college positions.
Kelly & Co. have already proven they can make the right pieces, fit.
Rounding out the class
For a look at previous columns regarding Irisheyes.com's top targets to fill out Notre Dame's 2013 class, click the links below. Including in Muhammad's write-up is a breakdown of the Irish roster at the Cat LB position.
Interior Strength -- a breakdown of 5-star DT/NG prospect, Eddie Vanderdoes
Hybrid Hopeful -- a look at Alquadin Muhammad as both a DE and Cat LB prospect
Crowded House -- a look at 4-star S Max Redfield
Two In, Two Out? -- Today's review of 4-star RB Tarean Folston
For a preview of recent verbal pledge Greg Bryant's potential fit upon arrival, and a breakdown of the 2013 running backs unit, Click Here.