Notre Dame gives a big boost to its RB room, signs top-110 recruit Kedren Young out of Texas

Kyle Kellyby:Kyle Kelly12/20/23


One big-bodied running back out, another bruiser in. Six days after the 5-foot-11½, 227-pound Audric Estimé announced he was leaving Notre Dame to enter the 2024 NFL Draft, the Fighting Irish added another back with a similar stature. On Wednesday, 5-11, 225-pound running back Kedren Young officially signed with Notre Dame. 

Lufkin (Texas) High’s Young was a gem discovered by Irish running backs coach Deland McCullough last winter. McCullough offered a scholarship to the now 2024 class recruit on Jan. 31. 

At the time, Young only held Power Five offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Purdue, Texas Tech and Vanderbilt. Now, Young is one of the best running backs in the 2024 recruiting cycle.

The On3 Industry Ranking — a proprietary algorithm that compiles ratings and rankings from all four primary recruiting media services — considers Young the No. 108 overall player, No. 9 running back nationally and No. 19 prospect in Texas. 

In On3’s own rankings, he’s the class’ No. 73 recruit, No. 4 running back and No. 15 Texas prospect. His On3 ranking also holds some historical weight with Notre Dame’s running back recruiting efforts. 

Suppose Young maintains or increases his ranking when On3 finalizes them after next month’s All-American games. In that case, he will be Notre Dame’s top overall signee at running back since 2009 when Santa Clara (Calif.) High’s Cierre Wood finished as the No. 69 overall player, No. 8 running back nationally and No. 8 prospect in California. 

On3 did not start rating recruits until the 2021 cycle, so Wood’s ranking is via the On3 Industry Ranking. 

Also worth noting, if Young remains the No. 4 running back in the class, he’ll tie Jeremiyah Love as the top positionally-ranked running back Notre Dame signed in the internet recruiting era, which dates back to 2002. Young is six spots better than Love in the overall rankings. The St. Louis Christian Brothers College product, Love, was the No. 79 overall player, No. 4 running back and No. 2 prospect in Missouri in the 2023 cycle.

Wood and Crown Point (Ind.) High’s James Aldridge — the No. 28 overall player and No. 6 running back in 2006 — were higher ranked overall. But Young has them both beat in the positional rankings. 

After the Irish entered Young’s recruitment, he reeled in scholarship offers from Baylor, Houston, Miami, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M and UCF. 

Young paid unofficial college recruiting visits to Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and the University of Texas at San Antonio. He even returned to Texas Tech and UTSA on official visits. But after leaving the South for the first time as a recruit for a trip to South Bend, Young shut down his recruitment one day later in favor of the Fighting Irish. 

He officially visited Notre Dame from June 2-4 and verbally committed on June 5. His only return visit was for the USC game on Oct. 14, but it was his first visit that finalized where he would play college football. 

“It’s not even just about the name. The community and people are great,” Young told Blue & Gold on June 5. “I felt comfortable there. This program — everyone knows about Notre Dame — but being around the people and staff, it really changed me.”

Young will enroll early with the Irish in January. Before that, he will participate in the All-American Bowl on NBC in San Antonio on Jan. 6.

Kedren Young arrives at Notre Dame as the top running back in his high school’s history

With the help of a terrific senior season, Young solidified his spot as his high school’s all-time leading rusher. He finished his career with 3,936 career rushing yards.

In 2023, Young had 1,366 yards and 15 touchdowns on 226 carries in 11 games, which helped him earn first-team All-District honors. 

With one less game in 2022, he had an even more impressive output. On 237 carries, Young rushed for 1,751 yards and 19 touchdowns. He was again All-District and Texas Sports Writers Writers Association Class 5A Honorable Mention. 

Young registered 973 yards and 11 scores on 168 rushes as a sophomore.

Among other notable accomplishments, Young holds his school’s record for yards in a game (317), attempts in a game (34) and the longest run (99 yards). 

Young is also a track and field athlete. His best mark in the 100-meter dash is 11.18 seconds, and he also clocked a 23.02 time in the 200.

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