It's over for Schwapp. Asaph has declined an offer to play for a fifth year at Notre Dame, and will look to try and become a blocking fullback in the NFL according to the NFL Draft Bible.
Draft Daddy had this to say about Asaph:
Of the new names, not counting the 4 big names we reported Monday should've been on the list, Asaph Schwapp should be the most notable to college football fans. He was the top high school player from the state of Connecticut in the class of 2004 and was hotly recruited, but did not have a great career at Notre Dame. Schwapp accumulated only 98 rushing yards and 62 receiving yards, with no touchdowns, in his four years in South Bend. That said, he may earn a free agent deal and tried as a blocking back.
This is obviously not a surprise to most, but it does leave a gaping hole at the depth the Irish have at fullback for the 2009 season. Steve Paskorz will enter the spring as the #1 fullback... the only fullback. But does it really matter?
Notre Dame has not really used the FB as an effective offensive weapon since the departure of Powers-Neil. When RPN was playing in the Weis system, he was effective as a running fullback, a receiving fullback, and as the featured back near the goaline and short yardage. He worked.
Notre Dame can actually make this position viable again by incorporating those same type of principles with the 2009 offense. But, that depends on the player available.
As mentioned earlier, Steve Paskorz is now the #1 FB on the roster. A converted Tailback from High School, Steve started as a linebacker for the Irish until an onslaught of injuries at the TE and FB positions, along with an influx of talent at the linebacker position forced a move.
Steve certainly has the athleticism to help improve the play at the fullback position. He had his senior season in high school cut in half because of a bad hamsting, but before that happened, Steve rushed for over 4000 yards in his career at Hampton High School in Allison Park, Pennsylvania. He had over 2000 yards duiring his sophomore season.
There may be other options for the Irish as well. Notre Dame was actively recruiting two prospects this year as a fullback- Tyler Gaffney and Toben Opurum. Opurum verballed to Kansas and the opportunity to be more of a featured back. Gaffney is making his verbal declaration on Monday, and it is looking like a Stanford and Irish battle. Gaffney was the player of the year in his division in California and he is exactly what we are needing in a fullback. The problem is, is that he may want to be more of a featured back and Stanford has shown what it can do with a powerful, fullback like runner with Gearhart (I really don't care if I spelled this right... he plays for Harbaugh).
Now, listen to Yoda... "There is an...oth...er, Sky...walk...er." There is, but his name ain't Luke- it's Robert. Robert Hughes to be exact. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that there is no way that is going to happen, and maybe you are right for the most part. While recruiting Hughes, Weis assured Robert that he would be used as a feature back and not as a fullback. Weis is many things, but he is no liar. That's not to say that Weis won't have a talk with Hughes about playing a little more fullback, but I'm sure the conversation will be more of a tester than a demand.
The thing is, Hughes should jump at this chance. I see the Irish offense spreading itself out more in 2009 and using its best weapons in the passing game. There will be more and more formations used that offer only a one back set, but you know Charlie will pull out the regular two back formations a lot as well. How would a switch help Hughes then? Well, it wouldn't be a full switch. The times that ND would need or want Hughes in the same backfield as Allen, Aldridge, and Gray they would be able to put him there with the confidence that he can accomplish the goal of the play.
Really, all I'm saying is that an athletic fullback can drastically improve the offense that has a hard time getting the short yards that it needs to sustain drives. Look at U$C and their fullback Havili. That guy may be their MVP. He's fucking ridiculous the way he catches the ball out of the backfield, blocks, and runs. That's what wee need, and at the moment- we probably lack. That could change soon however.
Yoda thinks Hughes is the shit.
Some other quick roster news... Nyshier Oliver is probably going to decommit from the Irish and head back to his original commitment of Tennessee. This is not fact yet, but I 've read enough to just face it and admit that he is probably gone. Nyshier visited Tennessee this weekend, and all signs point to him spurning the Irish. Oliver was a very nice grab for this class, but the combination of a very talented depth chart at WR at Notre Dame, and a smooth-talking Lane Kiffin, will probably end this relationship. Good luck to Oliver.
Updating the Eligibility Chart for 2009. As I was taking Schwapp off of the chart, I decided to do the same with Oliver. Again, this may be jumping the gun, but someone has to be the asshole... it might as well be me. I also put Gary Gray back on the chart as it was reported that he will be back at ND this summer. (BTW- I will have an eligibility chart for 2010 out soon as we already have one commitment for that class and we may get another this week).
The Irish have 5 spots open for 2009, and as of right now, they are in the mix for Starling, Moore, Te'o, and Gaffney. The Irish are in good shape with 3 of the 4 with Gaffney probably heading to the Farm. Te'o is down to three, and Moore decommited from USC and most likely will sign with the Irish... knock on wood.
Special Thanks to Frankie V at UHND.com Blog for posting a lot of good recruiting info that I and other bloggers have neglected this last few weeks. Good show.