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Down the Stretch We Come – Remaining Offensive Targets

Gunner Kiel could be a linch pin recruit for Notre Dame this year that sets off a domino effect giving the Irish another strong close to the recruiting season. (Photo - AJ Mast/Icon SMI)

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.

Running Backs

  • 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.

Wide Receiver

  • 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.

Tight End

  • 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.

Offensive Line

  • 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.


  1. Looks like Davonte Neal stood up his Elementary School today and is not going to be making an announcement. He wants to attend Arizona and his father wants him to head to South Bend. I can only imagine that since Davonte Neal did not show up today to make his decision in his home state that it means he may be headed to South Bend. Kind of disappointing that he wasn’t mature enough to live up to his commitment today to announce his decision though.

  2. Just saw Fuller play in the state final in jersey. Kid sure is a player and makes 5 yards seem easy running the spread keep. He did throw one ball for a pick that was underthrown, and had one fumble i believe. Was the best player on the field.also got beat for the game winning touchdown in the corner of the endzone. Got turned around, looked bad in coverage. A better QB than DB. Would love him to be irish, good fit for our offense. Great athlete

  3. Aaron Taylor for offensive line coach.

    I hope they also get an equal repalcement for running backs coach.

    I also hope that Chuck Martin likes a little more smash mouth.

    Concerned but very hopeful.

  4. Is Tee Shepard Irish or Not? Is this kid doing this for attention or is he Irish?

  5. Shaq Thompson, kelly should be dropping by to see him, NOW, with lopu and father jenkins, this is how lou got us all those great recruits, he talked to their mothers and they loved him and believed in him, bettis, rice, brooks, the rocket, get off you a kelly

  6. When someone automatically resorts to personal, ad hominem, internet attacks (just because of a football disagreement), it speaks volumes about that person.

    It’s silliness. I am one who is faaar from politically-correct and have made jokes here before that some people didn’t like. Oh well.

    But I do think we ALL should be more civil on these boards. Indeed, we all want the same things in the end.

  7. JC and others on this board,

    My comments above were uncalled for. I will not take personal shots at people and was wrong in some of my comments. I enjoy the spirited debate and respectively disagree with aome of yoy, but will stick to the facts and layoff the name calling.

    • No worries Jack,

      Like I said above, I enjoy some of your posts. In this diverse setting we are indeed limited to the written word,
      which sometimes can be easily interpreted many ways.

  8. Agreed..

    I am frustrated just like everybody here but I will not take out the last 15+ years of frustation out on a coach thats been here two seasons. A coach that has brought in players we haven’t seen at nd in awhile. Guys like lynch, tuitt, atkinson, niklas, williams,etc. Hell lynch had more qb hurries this year than the entire team last year. Atkinson did what nobody has done since rocket. These players are very good. They are also very young. I don’t like “hey there is always next year” either but I knew this at the beginning of the season. Too many holes still needed filled. Now i think some of them are with more to come with another group of impressive guys coming in. Has anyone seen agholor’s highlights…wow speed speed and more speed. Greenbury looks like a star in the making. Very confident young man. Said he is going to come here compete and win the job. I like it….

    As always

  9. I think that one of the things that might help all of us here is if we just stick to the facts (at least as we see them!) and drop the ad hominem arguments. Let’s save our name-calling for those trolls from other schools that come to our discussion site. Losers!

    I know that I, too, have not been blameless on this account in the past. I believe I have apologized to C-Dog, JC, and others here with whom I’ve slung mud. Mea culpa!

    I think everyone here is very bright and sincerely love the Irish. I really do. Even those that I’ve disagreed with in the past I’ve learned from. It’s OK that we see things differently so long as in the end we want the same thing, namely, to see our beloved Irish on top again. Now, if you don’t want that, if you’re OK with ND becoming like Cubs, always talking about next season, then, no, we’ll never agree on that. But I really don’t think that they’re too many people like that here. At least I hope not!

    Like I said, this staff needs to regroup and keep all the current commitments while adding a few more key recruits. Just heard Shaq Thompson has dropped SC and replaced it with ND on his top 3. That would be a great get. Add in another top WR (Anghlor) plus another stud or two on D (Armstead) and ND will have another consensus top 10 recruiting class to build momentum for next season and beyond. Go get them BK and staff!!!

    Hail Notre Dame!

    • Steelfan Rob,

      I have had a difference of opinion with you and have no problem with that, but there is no need to take shots at people personally. JC is douche. I have no problem apologizing if I get out of line. I agree with your posts but am not going to let a tool like JC make stupid ass comments about people he doesn’t even know. I can bet you this much, if he saw me in a bar he wouldn’t be starting this shit.

  10. So now you want to fire kelly cuz he yelled at a football player. You are real piece of work. My pet rock? Did you think of that all by yourself? You sound pretty insecure. Anybody that doesn’t see it your way must be stupid. Right?

    Speaking of having nothing to do with wins…what is yor real problem with kelly? It can’t all be about football. He hasn’t been the coach long enough to know whether he is as bad as you think or as good as i believe he is.

    _______ >>>>>enter some insult about being stupid. You’re predictable.

  11. ITS BEEN 2 SEASONS!!!!!! Good god man. Losing 5 games consistently? You are talking like he has been for a decade.

    You don’t understand football. This isn’t the nfl? You just made my point. You have put this staff on an nfl timetable for winning.

    • Kelly’s harmonious mouth put himself on notice which has nothing to do with winning games.

      YOU JUST MADE MY POINT! I know you don’t want to acknowledge ND protocol.

      Further, Kelly was hired to win BCS BOWLS NOW not to develop a science project!

      Go argue with your pet rock your boring.

  12. If I’m right though* haha i should really double check be4 submitting haha

    • JTRAIN,

      Go back to your beer and chips. You really don’t understand Notre Dame. This is’nt the NFL.

      There is more to being a winning HC at Notre Dame than just winning games. You will learn eventually character does matter at ND.

      Hmmm…can you say George O’Leary?

      BK is now on a short rope for his ATTITUDE as well as losing 5 games a year consistanly.

      But hey, it’s America! Just keep believing in this CLASSLESS PRIMA DONNA! Who just got reprimanded for his nation wide display of RAGE against TJ Jones with ZERO remorse.

      Without question, a documented reprimand is a serious issue on your work record. Real ammunition for grounds to terminate employment without bias.

  13. Ok defense gives up 20.8 pts a game…BUT the offense turns the ball over more than all but 8 teams in the country. 15 i believe occur on our side of the 50. Most of those coming from the qb. Rees can not run so he in turn tries to make a play and makes a bad read or hangs on to the ball too long. This leads to my question. Did we honestly have a qb on our roster THIS season that would have won more than 8 games? I don’t believe so.

    The defense actually did very well for the positions that our offense consistently put them in.

    Look guys in the end i want exactly what you do but i actually do understand how far the progra m has fallen. Which is exactlythe reason for my plea of patience. I know its hard guys but we were not a good team when bk was hired which is why this will take some time.

    15-27 over the previous 3 seasons. Kelly has 16 in two years. They are improving. Maybe not as fast as you would like but they are. Give coach some time. If he is still going 8-5 in his 4th and 5th years i will be right back here eating every ounce of crow i deserve. But i’m right though…will you do the same?

  14. kelly has to get on a plane and get these last great prospects now and take father jenkins with him or lou holtz, if you want to win you try everything.

  15. the thing about the grades is called the ideology of failure. stanford a much tougher school to get into to kicked our ass. there are thousands of smart football players who can get us to a national championship!

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