Notre Dame's top newcomers

Notre Dame pulled in the nation's No. 9 recruiting class for 2012, and it added three new assistants as well. Let's take a look at the Irish's top newcomers for this fall.

QB Gunner Kiel (Columbus, Ind./Columbus East). The early enrollee is engaged in a four-man quarterback battle for 2012. Regardless of the immediate outcome, Kiel figures to have a bright future with the Irish after a prep career that saw him throw for 7,175 yards. He was ESPNU's No. 3 signal caller from the 2012 class.

WR Justin Ferguson (Pembroke Pines, Fla./Flanagan). Michael Floyd leaves a hole among the Irish receiving corp, and Ferguson figures to get a chance to make an immediate impact. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder caught 29 passes for 527 yards and nine touchdowns during his senior year of high school. He is the No. 14 receiver in his class, and his arrival becomes all the more important following the defection of four-star wideout Deontay Greenberry to Houston.

OL coach/running game coordinator Harry Hiestand. A little outside the box, no? No matter, as Hiestand's hiring has paid immediate dividends since his arrival from Tennessee in the offseason. Little things such as a practice visit from Pro Bowl center Olin Kreutz (Hiestand coached him during a five-year stint with the Bears) have endeared him to his players, and a couple of big, early offensive line commitments from the 2013 class have him on a roll this spring.