After two and a half months without any commitments, Notre Dame picked up a pick one yesterday from offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley. Will Stanley’s commitment be what gets the ball rolling towards a strong finish? We Notre Dame fans can only hope.
With Stanley on board, numbers are getting low. We took a look at the numbers game earlier, now here’s a run down of who is left on the recruiting board on the offensive side of the ball.
- Gunner Kiel – Stanley’s commitment may very well be the first domino that starts off a strong close to this year’s recruiting class, but if there’s one recruit whose commitment would be the biggest domino, it’s Kiel. Rivals.com’s #1 rated quarterback has had the Irish near the top of his radar since decommiting from Indiana in the fall but has yet to pull the trigger on a commitment to Notre Dame. He is rumored to be down to Notre Dame and Vanderbilt, but as an early enrollment candidate, time is running out for the 5-star quarterback. A commitment from Kiel could be just what the Irish need to get some of the remaining skill position players left on the board to jump on board as well.
It’s all or nothing at quarterback with Kiel and things have looked great for Notre Dame for a while here, but the longer this draws on, the more nervous Notre Dame fans are going to be about where Kiel ends up. If Kelly can secure a commitment from Kiel in the near future, it really could set in motion a strong close to this year’s class.
- Keivarae Russell - There aren’t any other true running backs remaining on the board for Notre Dame other than Russell so it’s really all or nothing when it comes to finding a complimentary back to big back Will Mahone who committed to Notre Dame back in September. Washington appears to be Notre Dame’s toughest competition for Russell at this point. He has already visited Notre Dame officially (USC weekend), and he visited Washington last weekend. No timeline for a decision has been reported though.
Notre Dame would love to add a complimentary back in this class to Mahone, but right now it looks like that is anything but a given. No new names have popped up at the position lately and while it’s always possible a new name could pop up ala Cam McDaniel last year, the numbers game this year could prevent that from happening.
- Nelson Agholor – Outside of Kiel, Agholor is the highest rated prospect left on the board for Notre Dame and would be a huge addition to this year’s class. Notre Dame is in need of playmakers at the wide receiver position and the 5-star receiver is a legit home run threat at the position. Notre Dame remains in the race here, but the Florida native also has instate Florida and Florida on the top of his list along with USC. Agholor visited Florida last weekend even though the Gators are without an offensive coordinator after Charlie Weis left for the head coaching job at Kansas. How Weis’s departure from Florida impacts Agholor’s recruitment is not clearly known yet. A commitment from Kiel could really help the Irish with Agholor and the other remaining wide receivers on the board.
- Jordan Payton – For a while it looked like Payton would be committing to Notre Dame, but lately it appears as though the California native has cooled on the Irish – especially after a strong official visit to Cal last weekend. Once a USC commitment, Payton at one time appeared to favor Michigan as well so where Payton ends up is really anyone’s guess at this point.
- Jordan Westerkamp – One of the newest offers sent out by the Irish coaching staff, Westerkamp, a Nebraska commitment, will visit Notre Dame officially and rumors are there is a strong chance he flips to Notre Dame while on his trip. Westerkamp is a big, physical wide receiver. He isn’t a home run threat like Agholor, but he is a guy who will move the chains and catch everything thrown his way. Even if Westerkamp does commitment this weekend though, expect Notre Dame to continue to recruit Agholor at the very least at receiver.
- Davonte Neal – Notre Dame impressed Neal on his official visit last weekend and have a legit chance to land the playmaking wide receiver. Neal’s visit to South Bend last weekend was his first official visit anywhere and he only has one more scheduled (January 21 at Arkansas) according to his Rivals profile so look for his recruitment to drag on well into January.
Notre Dame already has commitments from three wide receivers in this year’s class with Deontay Greenberry, Justin Ferguson, and Chris Brown but with the departure of Michael Floyd and a real void of playmakers at this point at the position heading into next season Notre Dame will gladly add more to this year’s haul. Westerkamp seems like the most likely at this point, but if the Irish can somehow sway Agholor or Neal to add another homerun threat to the class, Notre Dame will have done very, very well here this year.
- Tyler McNamara - McNamara visited Notre Dame already, but is still without an offer from the Irish coaching staff and as an early enrollment candidate, it appears as though one may not be coming. Tyler Eifert deciding to leave for the NFL draft could change that in a hurry though. Should Eifert leave for the NFL, Notre Dame would have some depth issues at the position and could likely extend an offer McNamara’s way.
Right now, it at least looks like the staff is content with not adding a tight end in this year’s class. Hopefully that means they feel confident that Eifert will be returning for his senior season.
- Zach Banner – There hasn’t been much news on Banner in a while, but the Seattle Times still listed Notre Dame as one of Banner’s finalists as recently as this week so there is at least a little bit of hope here for Notre Dame.
- Josh Garnett – The most likely addition along the offensive line, should the Irish land another lineman appears to be Garnett. Garnett visited Notre Dame last weekend along with Ronnie Stanley and the two apparently hit it off while on the trip. With Stanley committing to Notre Dame this week, Notre Dame’s chances of adding Garnett as well likely increased.
Adding Stanley to this year’s class earlier this week was huge for Notre Dame because it gives them three very good offensive linemen in this year’s class – Stanley, Mark Harrell, and Taylor Decker. If Notre Dame is able to land one of the three linemen listed above, they will have done about as well as anyone could have hoped for this year. Closing out this class with 4 offensive linemen would give Notre Dame 15 scholarship linemen (assuming Cave returns and not counting Jordan Cowart and Scott Daly as offensive linemen) giving them the luxury of a 3 deep along the offensive front – a luxury Notre Dame hasn’t enjoyed in quite some time.