With spring football underway, you probably have noticed something different at Subway Domer. There have been very few written posts and a whole lot of straight video posts. Perhaps I've been getting a little too lazy, but really- I just haven't had much time to do so
At any rate, a recruiting warm-up is needed for all of us paying attention to the future of the program. With spring football, comes a host of unofficial visits and hopefully a few commitments.
I'm going to make this really simple and easy to follow. What is the ideal breakdown of players by position and who those players might be. All of the players that I will list have been offered a scholarship by Notre Dame unless otherwise noted. The number of prospects that I have pulled out of thin air, was due to a close study of the 2010 Eligibility Chart. Obviously- these numbers could change dramatically as we have seen in the past with injuries, transfers, and yes... players leaving early for the NFL. Please keep in mind that the prospects listed are only my best guess early in the process... in fact it looks like more of a wish list than what will actually happen. The 2010 Eligibility Chart is posted at the bottom of this post.
Let's get started...
- RED- Current Commit
- GREEN- Best Bet
- BLUE ITALIC- Darkhorse
- GOLDISH ITALIC- Committed elsewhere, but still pursued
- Numbers in Parenthesis- Ideal number to take
- Nick Montana
- Austin Hinder
- Jake Heaps
Coach Weis would love to take two topflight quarterbacks, but there is a good chance that only one prospect will make that commitment. There is still a ton of talent in South Bend for the foreseeable future in Jimmy Clausen and Dayne Crist (both former 5 stars). Crist is the player that these prospects will keep their eye on the most as he still has 4 years of eligibility. There is a part of me that is just convinced that Nick Montana is going to follow tradition and play for the Fighting Irish.
If Montana pulls an early trigger, than I would bet Austin Hinder falls of the list. The staff is hard at work with Hinder- especially after Blake Bell made his commitment to Oklahoma.
Jake Heaps was the first QB to be offered, and despite an early high interest by Heaps- he looks as if he has cooled a bit.
Running Back (1)
- Giovanni Bernard
- Jordan James
The 2010 season has 5 players on the depth chart right now. Armando Allen, Robert Hughes, Jonas Gray, Cierre Wood, and Theo Riddick. That's a lot of talent. Notre Dame will likely take one running back this year. Bernard comes from an Irish friendly program in St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale.
After Bernard, perhaps California native Jordan James could become a possibility. Anyway you look at this position, the first one to commit will likely be the only one. Who that may be, may be one of the biggest mysteries in the 2010 class.
Tight End (1)
- CJ Fiedorowicz
Notre Dame is locked in on their number one target at Tight End. No other offers have gone out, and CJ has said he would like to go to a program that uses the TE a lot in the passing game. I think Coach Weis could oblige. As well as Notre Dame has done in recruiting tight ends, they have only one proven commodity in Kyle Rudolph. There is talent in South Bend to have a really good TE corps in 2009 and 2010, and the same talent will be on the team from the 2009 season to the 2011 season if everybody stays in school. Notre Dame will take one, and they really want it to be Fiedorowicz.
Wide Reciever (3)
- Daniel Smith
- Kyle Prater
- Tai-ler Jones
- Bennett Jackson
Notre Dame has put together a wide receiver corps that is bigger, faster, and more athletic than any other one in school history. These guys are really good- and really young. That doesn't mean that Weis will go light on the position this year. Notre Dame could lose up to 4 WR after the 2009 season; Golden Tate (NFL Draft), Robby Parris (Grad), Barry Gallup (Grad- denied 5th), and George West (Grad). With that kind of scenario, the Irish should take at least 2- but hopefully 3 wide outs.
They already have one commitment from hometown prospect, Daniel Smith, and they are looking to add at least two more. There are 6 more offers out to uncommitted WR prospects and more may go out still.
Kyle Prater is the creme-de-la-creme and is in fertile recruiting ground for the Irish in Chicago (same HS as Sergio Brown). Another name that is familiar to Irish fans is Tai-ler Jones- son of former Notre Dame LB Andre Jones. Just because Tai-ler is a legacy, doesn't mean that he is a lock by any means. The staff is working Jones hard. The last name is a very recent offer in Bennett Jackson. Jackson just feels like an Irish commitment.
Offensive Tackle (3 or 4)
- Christian Lombard
- Seantrel Henderson
- James Hurst
- Matt James
- Erik Kohler
Notre Dame struck out when it came to recruiting a true left tackle last year, and it shows with the lengthy offer list that they have for the 2010 class. Last years folly could really screw Notre Dame in 2010. The most likely starter at LT in 2010 would be Matt Romine, who has battled injuries since he stepped on campus. A LT prospect in this class would have as good a shot to start as a freshman as we have seen since Ryan Harris. So, we have that to sell... of course we had that to sell last year as well.
Lombards commitment means that we have a huge amount of talent at RT, but we still need that true LT to anchor the line. Seantrel Henderson is a fan favorite and comes from a ND freindly school in Cretin-Derham Hall. That doesn't seem to be much of a factor for Seantrel, and this will be a tough race all the way to signing day.
James Hurst is an in state 5 star, but his family has SEC roots. Hurst has expressed big interest in Notre Dame and Weis would love to land the home state stud. Matt James is another big prospect from Cincinatti that could spurn Ohio State and head to South Bend. The final name on the list is Erik Kohler from Oaks Christian in California- Clausen and Nick Montana'a school.
Offensive Guard (1)
- Brandon Linder
Notre Dame has done very well in recruiting its guards. So much so, that Linder (another St. Thomas Aquinas prospect) is looking like its only target at the position. The Irish look to be in great shape with Linder and will probably take him and him alone as far as the guards are concerned. Just a guess.
Defensive Tackle (2 or 3)
- Denzel McCoy
- Louis Nix
Only two offers have gone out to defensive tackles. McCoy just recently committed to the home state Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Louis Nix is a "soft" commit to Miami. What in sam hell is going on here? I have no idea. Defensive tackles have a habit of going somewhere other than ND, but shouldn't a wider net be cast? Notre Dame has quietly put together a potentially good defensive line, but their future is still unknown. I would have to think that more offers will be on the way soon, but don't hold your breath.
Defensive End (3 or 4)
- Chris Martin
- Blake Leuders
- Dakota Royer
- Prince Shembo
- Owamagbe Odigihuza
I have stated that ND should look at 3 or 4 commits at defensive end, but they may still only take 2 or 3. A lot of interest is going around some of the top prospects at this position. Chris Martin made a signing day commitment- a year early. This legit 5 star prospect will increase the level of talent on the depth chart as soon as he steps off of the plane from California (or New Jersey, as he is looking to transfer to the Hun School in Princeton).
Blake Leuders is an in-state talent that Notre dame should lock down either this spring or summer. He holds a lot of offers from very good defensive schools, and he will likely gain even more as the recruiting process continues to unfold.
Dakota Royer is another prospect that is picking up offers from all over the country. The Pennsylvania end would be a great pick-up for the Irish who would love to start getting more talent from the Keystone state.
Prince Shembo will be a name that I will never forget. (Not as original as Florida Atlantic linebacker, Yourhighness Morgan- but still a good name). The North Carolina native is another prospect that is gaining more and more offers, and the Irish he said in a recent interview are the top dog in that mix.
Speaking of names, Owamagbe Odighizuwa is another unforgettable- if not unpronouncable name on the offer sheet. This Oregon prospect is very athletic and is gaining more and more respect from the scouting services.
Inside Linebacker (1)
- Caleb Lavey
- Jeff Luc
The Fighting Irish would love to keep getting quality middle linebackers every year, but the offer sheet only has a few names since they have done pretty well these past few recruiting cycles. Caleb Lavey looks to be an ideal candidate and holds offers from a huge list of schools. The good news is that the Longhorns have not offered Caleb, and that makes the process a little easier for Notre Dame.
Jeff Luc is a big name in recruiting circles and a 5 star prospect. The Florida native holds offers from everywhere and the Irish have a huge task in convincing Luc to leave the south and head to the warm glow of the Golden Dome. He may be the best defensive prospect on the board.
Outside Linebacker (1 or 2)
- Anthony Barr
- Khairi Fortt
- Shaun Lewis
Notre Dame has done really well in getting outside linebacker prospects to sign a letter of intent. But, they must continue to fill depth and create competition. Anthony Barr would be a step in the right direction. Barr is the son of former Irish great- Tony Brooks and of course the nephew of Irish legend Reggie Brooks. He projects as an athlete because no one is for sure what position will best suit him in college. The majority of scouts believe he will end up as an outside linebacker with a whole lot of speed.
Khairi Fortt hails from the state of Conneticut, which isn't a hotbed of talent- but he stands out as one of the nations best. Fortt holds offers from all over the country and he could be a very interesting prospect.
Shaun Lewis is another Texas linebacker without a Longhorn offer. Coach Weis seems determined to start pulling talent out of the Lone star State, and Lewis would be a great start in that direction.
- Cody Riggs
- Spencer Boyd
- Lo Wood
Notre Dame has done very well for itself in regards to cornerback recruiting in the Weis era. That tradition will need a few plane tickets as Notre dame is looking almost exclusively in the Sunshine State. Cody Riggs, Spencer Boyd, and Lo Wood all are very similar in stature and skill sets. All have great speed, but they will have to get bigger for the college game. The Irish would love to land at least 2 of these prospects, but they may get only one.
- Sean Parker
- David Amerson
- Corey Cooper
Notre Dame struck out last year in landing a safety. Although the Irish look very sound in 2009 at this position they could have really used a guy like Byron Moore (USC) or Jawanza Starling (USC). That was a huge blow to a depth chart that was gaining talent. Now ND will have to get a least 2, if not 3, safety prospects to help make up for the whiffs.
Sean Parker is a former teammate of Byron Moore and is another big time safety prospect. David Amerson is another North Carolina kid that Irish fans would love to keep getting.Corey Cooper is a current commit to Illinois, but he is looking around so Charlie Weis is helping him see the light. Cooper is more of a WR prospect as it concerns ND, but I'll put him here anyways.
How Many again?
The list above contains 22-27 potential commits. Coach Weis has said that he would like to take 24-25 guys in this class. The offer list contains over 70 players, which by ND standards is quite a bit for this time of year. Look for more offers to go out sometime in the summer- if not sooner. A lot of the guys offered are "A" list guys. If you listen to Mike Frank's Power Hour, you know how important it is for the irish to have their "B" list ready as some of these very names I mentioned will head elsewhere.
Again, please keep in mind that this does not include the most recent offers, and any recruiting article should always be took with a grain of salt.
I'll keep updating this refresher list a few more times before the season and as always- I will monitor and update it as it sees fit.