The Notre Dame Recruiting Numbers Game

With 17 verbal commitments after Monday’s news of Giovanni Bernard’s pledge to the Irish, Notre Dame is quickly running out of room at the in for the Class of 2010. As Notre Dame prepares for the final five games of the season and the stretch run in recruiting, here is an update on how many spots are left and who is left on the board.

First off, let’s talk about how many spots the Irish have left. Notre Dame, as it stands now, can probably only take 25 commitments this year – even with some early enrollment recruits such as Spencer Boyd, Lo Wood, and Tai-ler Jones. They can only take 25 because for the first time in a long time, Notre Dame will be right up against the 85 scholarship maximum.

Assuming Notre Dame only brings back Darrin Walls (CB), Chris Stewart (OG), and Dan Wenger (OC/OG) for fifth years, the Irish will have exactly 25 scholarships remaining. Each of the three have a very good case for coming back and will be needed in 2010.

  • Darrin Walls – Despite his struggles this year, we all saw that Walls is a very talented corner in 2007. As a true sophomore he was as close to a lock down corner as we’ve seen at Notre Dame in a while. That player isn’t suddenly gone after his year away from the program in 2008. Walls still has his best football in front of him and would be a vital asset to the Irish defense next season.
  • Chris Stewart – Stewart has been a starter since onset of the 2008 season and will be needed along the Irish offensive line next year after Notre Dame has to replace both starting tackles. Stewart still has a lot of room for improvement and could benefit greatly with another year of teaching from Frank Verducci.
  • Dan Wenger – Wenger lost his starting job this season, but has been one of the top replacements in the offensive line rotation. Wenger should be back in 2010 as either the starting center or left guard if Trevor Robinson moves to tackle and one of the young centers can fill in at center.

This number could increase if Notre Dame has any players leave early for the NFL or has any transfers or serious injuries.

If Notre Dame can take 25 this year, that leaves 8 scholarships available with a lot of talent, difference making recruits still very interested in the Irish. Here’s a quick look by position of who is still looking at Notre Dame.

  • WR (1) – Kyle Prater (5 star)
  • OL (4) – Seantrel Henderson (5 star), Brandon Linder (4 star), Matt James (4 star), James Stone (4 star)
  • DE (1) – Ego Ferguson (5 star)
  • DT (3) – Louis Nix (4 star), Beau Allen (3 star), Bruce Gaston (3 star)
  • LB (3) – Anthony Barr (4 star), Christian Jones (4 star), Hayes Pullard (4 star)
  • CB (4) – LaMarcus Joyner (5 star), Cody Riggs (4 star), Josh Shaw (4 star), Toney Hurd (3 star)
  • S (4) – Corey Cooper (4 star), David Amerson (4 star), Sean Parker (4 star), Dietrich Riley (4 star)

That’s 20 recruits left for 8 spots. That list also features the kind of talent that could take this class from good to great. From solid to difference making.

Assuming 8 spots are remaining, here’s how I’d like to see them used.

  • WR (1) – If Notre Dame can land an elite talent like Prater, they have to even though they already have three wide receivers and even if it’s at the expense of another position.
  • OL (2/3) – Christian Lombard is the only offensive lineman in this class so far. The margin for error here is small, but Notre Dame needs to land at least two of the remaining offensive linemen – preferably Henderson and Linder. Henderson is most likely the starting RT against Purdue next year if the Irish land him.
  • DE (0/1) – Ferguson is the only DE left on the board. He’s an elite talent and could team with Chris Martin to give Notre Dame the best pair of defensive ends in the country in the class of 2010.
  • DT (1/2) – Nix is almost a must get at this point for Notre Dame. He’s the best interior defensive lineman possible for this class.
  • LB (1) – Barr is the most likely since he is the son of former Irish running back Tony Brooks. Barr is a versatile athlete who could also be a pass rushing end or a bruising running back.
  • CB (1) – Notre Dame already has Lo Wood and Spencer Boyd in the fold so it seems likely they’d only take one here. If an elite recruit like Joyner wanted to join late in the game though, the Irish would have to take more than one if one of the other corners is already in the fold.
  • S (1/2) – Notre Dame really can’t go wrong here. All of the remaining safety prospects have considerable talent. Ideally Notre Dame will get two out of the four depending how the other scholarships get divided up.

If Notre Dame were to somehow end up with Prater, Henderson, Linder, Nix, Ferguson, Joyner, Barr, and Riley for the final eight the Irish would easily have one of the best classes in the country. That would be if everything worked out perfectly for Notre Dame though. If the Irish can’t land that set of eight, I’d like to see the Irish load up more along the lines and at safety.

As I’ve said since April though, winning will be the biggest thing for the Irish down the stretch. A 10-2 finish and a decent bowl game will go a long way in getting some of those five star recruits to join the current group of 17 commits.  If nothing else, it should be an interesting ride over the next 3+ months between now and Signing Day

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    1. Prater is a soft verbal to USC as Shaq Evans was too, just like Tai-ler Jones was to Stanford. Parter is also catching pressure from family and friends to stay closer to home. That’s why Kyle still has interest in ND.

  1. Hasn’t Kyle Prater already committed to USC?
    Also, unfortunately, Henderson is beginning to lean towards Minnesota and/or Ohio State.

  2. So if you offer a kid a scholarship, you don’t have to honor it if there isn’t space left? IE if 9 kids take the scholarship, what does ND have to do at that point?

  3. Does anyone have the list of players that will attendence for the WSU game? I understand that ND can give tickets to recruits however can’t talk to them…so much for “home game.”

    1. Im happy- however how will that effect the Higher rated CB’s out there…(joyner/shaw/riggs)? Now we have 3 CB’s committed…

      1. Hopefully they’ll see their window is closing and swah or Joyner will jump on. I don’t see them taking both of them now though.

  4. I know its a little bit off topic but I am watching the VT / NC game and the running back Williams for VT just fumbled – he is on the side lines not feeling too good about himself but as I continue to watch, I am wondering if it even enters his thoughts that it isnt all about him? The NC defensive player made a great hit and caused a good play. It leads me to an all too lost familiar realization that it is team that wins and loses game not one player. I shall go forward no longer dumping on Harrison or Sergio – I believe they are doing their best on nationally televised gridiron play. I think these guys have the character in them to learn and make amends and hopefully not take to heart a broken play on their part may solely cause demise for their team. Holtz was truly right – it is all or nothing, each player depends on one another not just for a victory but for success in life. One more game is yet another chance to redeem – but do so with team in mind then things might just be ok for the Irish! GO IRISH! Just win baby but do it as a team!

    1. are you trying to make me feel bad? lol! i, too have been very harsh on harrison smith. most of my remarks should have been towards the defensive coaches for not realizing he is not a safety. i do believe he is more comfortable close to the line, but should not be used at all in coverage until they work the kinks out of him in practice. anyways, here’s to hoping he can redeem himself in the games to come.

    1. i don’t think we will hear anything until after the season. that’s when he said he will sit down with his family and decide.

  5. I agree what I went by timing was we seem to be a second late. Our backers need to work on timing the snap. I watch the Ravens alot and their backers time the snap perfectly. Plus I never see faking the blitz and dropping. I just see the same backers blitzing all the time Flemming, Teo or Smith. I don’t see any other people from the defense blitzing. Like with the Eagles, when Jim Johnson was alive the safties blitzed alot. I just think it gets predictable always bringing pressure. Dial it back a bit. I actually think Corwin called a better game sometimes.

  6. By blitzing the LB they leave the middle of the field open because the saftey is making sure he doesn’t get beat deep. I say blitz a corner or a saftey once in a while instead of constantly blitzing LB. They used to bring Sergio out of the slot last year which worked great. Get creative with the blitz package instead of constantly bringing pressure off the edge with an outside LB. Come up the middle and work on timing the blitz.

    1. exactly, my point. let the dline run wild while the backers drop back or spy the qb/rb until someone starts getting doubled, then bring a backer.

      as far as timing, i would rather be a step late than show it pre-snap giving it away to the o line and qb.

      1. If you are going to blitz a LB let it be T’eo. He seems to be the only ND linebacker that has the speed and tenacity to make the play with any consistancy.

  7. Doubt Prater would sign with ND unless the top WR leave early.
    ND will be in serious need of playmakers on Defense … as I see it McCarthy & Teo are the only playmakers and both might be gone next season.
    Most Importantly recruit a good DB coach… how can these once talented DBs continue to get worse every week.(Walls Blanton Smith)

    1. these dbs, esp. walls and blanton, were lockdown corners in high school. that being said, we are running a cover 2 and they are better suited for man to man coverage. plus blanton was scouted as being a safety in college, not cornerback. that tells me as well that a new db coach would be a welcome change. that hurts to say because i really like corwin and i know tenuta is at fault as well for not meshing with him. they need to scheme to the strengths of these players and simplify things/limit packages. drop a linebacker or two into zone coverage, have the corners play man, use the ss to blitz occasionally, let the line play which i feel would benefit them if the lb’s were dropped into coverage/spy packages.

      1. Heck, Blanton was pretty close to it last year and Walls even closer the year before. They have the skill. Not sure why they are so dormant this year.

      2. if i’m not mistaken, cover 2 is a zone coverage. zone does not agree with these corners. like i said, scheme to their strentghs, reduce lb blitzing, and let the line play with their ears pinned back. the line is too concerned with gap control because the lb’s are blitzing, which they need to be. if you have the lb’s spy or just play the play, that would allow the dline to stunt more or use their speed on the ends, leaving the lbs to react and fill gaps. like i said before, i am no expert, so what do i know. lol!

  8. hi frank…

    what’s your opinion of sean cwynar???

    he’s a local kid and it would be nice to get an independent view from somebody who knows…

    sounds like he’s got to beef up some for one from some of my reads…


    oinker ^-@-^ ~

    1. Cwynar has looked pretty good in the time he’s played this year. I think he’s going to be a pretty good interior d-lineman for ND before all is said and done.

  9. Frank what is the realistic possibility that Prater switches from SC to ND? Henderson, Ferguson, Nix, Barr, and a top of line safety need to be address first. Notice the theme… Line of scrimmage and playmakers on the defense. That is what separates SC from ND.

    1. If Notre Dame can get Prater on an official visit, they’ll have a chance. Dunno how good of a chance, but ND is still in it.

  10. Frank,

    I saw George mention a kicker, is there any recruit out therre that can punt the ball more then 30 yards. My God I’m 47 years old and I know I can punt it more than 30 yards.

  11. Frank,
    You don’t mention RB Jordon James on your list. Even though ND landed Gio Bernard as a RB, I am pretty sure that CW will give him a scholarship if he decides for the Irish.

    1. ND has 2 RB commits now with Bernard and Roberson. They’re done at RB and won’t take any more RBs in this class.

  12. What about a good kicker? If there is anything ND could use it’s kicker with precision who can kick more than 35 yards.

      1. What happens to their legs when they get to notre dame? They were both good kickers in high school, now they can’t reach the end zone.

  13. Frank,

    I have read on the recruiting sites that the USC game went a long way for recruiting. They keep saying if ND keeps winning and Charlie is here next year they should bring in a great class. To add to Svenghali’s question we have a lot of talent at d-tackle, why not move Ethan to the end position and use Cwynar, Newman, Williams, Stockton, and Nwanko. I though Newman had a great spring but I haven’t seen him play much. We have D-tackles why not move Johnson to end with Moore. Also what happened to Cierra Wood?

  14. Frank,

    If they don’t keep Kallen Wade, there will only be three dedicated returning DE’s. Do you think Ethan is moved back outside or Fleming finds a permanent home on the line? I just can’t imagine the coaches would want to be forced to have a true frosh in the two-deep.

    Also, Weis said in the past that he saves one spot for a walk-on. Do you think that will continue?

    1. If there is one spot left and say Henderson, Prater, Joyner, or Ferguson want it, there’s no way Weis would hold a scholarship for a walkon.

      I’m sure Weis would like to give a walkon a scholarship every year, but now that ND is pushing the 85 limit that might not always be possible.

      1. V-Man,

        Charlie Weis has been the head coach for 5 years and we are just now,in year 5, getting to the 85 man limit???
        I’m not sure I understand the reason behind that.
        I can only assume that there weren’t enough quality recruits who could meet the requirerments and standards of ND. I could possiably understand that in CW’s first year when he got a late start in recruiting. But not so sure about the last 4 years.

      2. It takes time. Notre Dame was really, really low on the scholarship limit when Weis took over. He brought in 28 recruits the first year to get the numbers back up, but as we’ve seen – there are a lot of transfers when you bring in that many kids in one class.

        When you are as low as Notre Dame was, its tough to get back to 85 without offering kids you know don’t have a chance to make a difference. There’s been plenty of swings and misses by the staff, but overall they’ve done an amazing job recruiting compared to the previous staff.

      3. By far, the two most important recruits left on the board are Anthony barr, and Sentreal Henderson. Prater is probably the best, but I see no reason for him to leave SC. Barr could be very versitile, he could play RB or LB, some of NDs most needed posistions. Just imagine if ND had Teo and Barr side by side….. as we have seen with the play of Harrison Smith, safteys are very much needed.

      4. The big problem has been too many transfers including Munir Prince (speedburner to MO), QB’s Zach Frazier, Demetrius Jones & David Wolke, TE’s Konrad Rouland and Will Yeatman (Rouland starts at Stanford & Yeatman starts at Maryland), OL Zach Giles to Northeastern, OL Matt Carufel to Minnesota (6’5″ 303 lb.starter), Also: Duerson, Parrish, Leitko, Incarnato, Kadous and Vaughn. We’ve also lost numerous superstar verbal commitments over past several years at the last minute including: DT – Omar Hunter, DL/DE Justin Trattou to FL, WR Arrelious Benn to IL and WR Greg Davis to NC. I know there are several more. If my memory is correct I think Weis has had more players transfer in his first 4 years than Holtz did in 11yrs. It does appear that Weis is having fewer problems lately.

      5. Shaz a Taz:
        The V-Man is in the house with his assessment. Keep it real!!!!!!!! Don’t be a player hater on Charlie!!! He had a few defections that he did not count on. It takes time. Don’t pull that bush league scooby doo attitude on my boy the V Man:( He keeps it real!!!! On that note the J mack attack from Hotlanta GA is over and out baby!!! Bop bop a lou bop bam boom!!!!

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