Notre Dame Heading Down the Home Stretch

With less than 24 hours before National Signing Day, Notre Dame is still in on several top notch recruits and could see its class improve drastically if a few dominoes falls its way after all of the ink is dry on all of the letters of intent.

Adding a star outside linebacker like Christian Jones on Signing Day would be a major boost for Notre Dame and the new staff. (Photo - IconSMI)

Here’s a quick look at all of the remaining possibilities for Notre Dame as we entered the final stretch.

  • Matt James (OT) – James visited this past weekend and by all accounts the visit went very well for Notre Dame. His high school teammate Luke Massa visited with him and committed to Notre Dame during the trip. Notre Dame has a huge need along the OL in this class and James would fill that need very nicely. Of all of four star recruits still considering Notre Dame, James is the most likely to sign with the Irish on Wednesday.
  • Seantrel Henderson (OT) – Henderson has been right at the top of Notre Dame’s recruiting board for a long time now, but as Signing Day approaches, the chances he ends up in South Bend seem to be dwindling by the day. Most feel Ohio State or USC will end up with Henderson and right now it looks like it would be a bigger surprise for Henderson to land at ND than it was for Manti Te’o last year.
  • JR Ferguson (DE) – One of the more impressive recruiting jobs by the new staff has been keeping Notre Dame right in the race for Ferguson. The Irish are battling Miami, Florida State, LSU, Cal, and now Texas Tech after Ferguson’s defensive line coach from Hargrave Military Academy was hired by new Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville. Miami could be the team to beat here after Ferguson’s official visit this past weekend.
  • Christian Jones (OLB) – Keeping in the race for Christian Jones has also been a pretty impressive feat by the new Notre Dame staff. Tony Alford developed a great relationship with Jones throughout the process though and Notre Dame finds itself still in the race. Most have felt that it would be tough to pull Jones out of Florida, but Notre Dame has at least a fighting chance here. Florida State got the last say here with Jones making an unofficial visit to Tallahassee this past weekend.
  • Jeremy Ioane (S) – The high school team of current Irish sophomores to be Manti Te’o and Roby Toma visited Notre Dame this past weekend and it looks like Notre Dame has a good chance to land the hard hitting safety. Boise State and Washington are the other players in this race. Ioane would be an excellent addition to this class given the need at safety. He has also already become a fan favorite on the message boards thanks to his highlight video featuring a ton of devastating hits.
  • Dietrich Riley (S) – The Notre Dame staff visited Riley last week and by all accounts it was a good visit, but its looked like a two team race between UCLA and USC for a while for Riley. If Riley were to pick Notre Dame on Wednesday it would be considered a pretty big upset for the Irish.
  • Kona Schwenke (OLB/DE) – Schwenke was another visitor for Notre Dame this past weekend and could be another strong possibility for this class. After deciding to visit Notre Dame, the former BYU commitment had his scholarship offer revoked by the BYU staff. This puts Notre Dame is a great position, but Washington is also in the race even though Schwenke never visited there.
  • Corey Cooper (S/WR) – At one time Cooper was considered one of the top recruits on the Notre Dame board, but the news on Cooper has cooled over the last few weeks. Cooper, however, still lists Notre Dame as one of his top schools along with Nebraska, Illinois, and Arizona.

Adding a few playermakers like Jones and Ferguson on the defensive side of the ball would really elevate this class and put to rest some of the rumblings about this staff’s recruiting abilities. Landing an elite offensive lineman such as James or Henderson would also give this class a big boost.

If Notre Dame could close with James, Ioane, Schwenke, and then one of either Jones or Ferguson this class will have ended up about as good as anyone could have hoped for. If Notre Dame could catch lightning in a bottle two years in a row and land a recruit like Henderson and there will be Notre Dame fans all over the country grinning from ear to ear Wednesday night.

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  1. has a twitter post saying that OL Matt James has committed to Notre Dame!!

    A good win for the new coaching staff.

    Let’s see how the rest of the day goes.

    But it is great to see that the original commits are holding strong. Very good show from the new staff!

  2. Harrision Smith will benefit from having another year in the weight room. He will now bring good playing experience to the field. Add a coaching staff that will simplify the defensive scheme. That should help aleiveate his confusion on where he is to line up and who he has in coverage.
    The d-coaches should get back to fundimentals. Proper tackeling and techique. And a little help from the D-Line would go a long way in his development as well.

    1. What I like about this new coaching staff is that at 8:00 central time this morning, 18 out of 21 of our committed recruits already have their faxes in, and the other three recruits are two time zones away from South Bend, and I would expect them within the hour as well. No fence-riders in this crew.

  3. Harrison Smith is a good linebacker who played on a defense that was flawed in direction and purpose. He was third on the team in tackles and third on the team in tackles for loss in 2009. There will be no power struggles between coaches on defense with this new coaching staff. Most likely, there will be a rotation of about 7-8 players in the linebacking core in the 3-4 system, and he will be integral part of that rotation.

  4. I know Harrison Smith had a bad year last year, but under new coach he could flourish. He is a good athelete. Lets not give up on him yet, maybe a new coaching staff and a fresh start is what he needs. He could also be used as a hybrid saftey-LB against spread offenses.

  5. Green, I couldn’t agree with you more. Want to know the worst part? He could technically be with us for 2 more years. NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
    Oh I hope we get a couple more studs on D for this class.

  6. I can’t tell you how pissed I was all last season at the missed assignments and missed tackles by Harrison Smith. Please dear god Motta or Slaughter, not Smith. SERENITY NOW!!!AHHHHHH!!!

  7. Schedule your day tomorrow boys:
    Corey Cooper: 10am
    Christian Jones: 10:30am
    Jeremy Ioane: 11am
    Kona Schwenke: 11am
    J.R. Ferguson: 11:45am
    Matt James: 11:45am
    Seantrel Henderson: Somewhere between 2-5pm

    Kelly’s presser at 4pm.

  8. Ioane definitely couldn’t start from day one, in my opinion. D-1A speed and strength compared to what he is used to in Hawaii is like night and day…not to mention the month he has prior to opening kickoff against Purdue to learn the 3-4 defense plus Freshman classes. Not a simple task. I think Jamoris Slaughter, Zeke Motta, and Harrison Smith will handle the Saftey position this year. Give the kid some time to grow. We’ll see him on special teams for sure and mop-up duty, if it happens. GO IRISH!

    1. Thanks gregg,

      You just reminded me of how pumped I am to see zeke motta next year. That kid showed quite a motor on special teams.

      This class is really coming together a lot better than I expected it to.

  9. From what I’ve read…Ioane heavily favors Boise State, but his parents are pushing hard for Notre Dame. We’ll see what happens.

    Henderson = Ohio State
    Jones = Florida State
    Ferguson = Miami
    Cooper = Nebraska
    Riley = USC
    Schwenke = Notre Dame
    James = Notre Dame (although Ohio State is right there)

    1. James would prefer Ohio State, but I am sure he knows Henderson has been given the Left Tackle slot. Better off at ND though he is probably too slow for the money job.

  10. This Ioane kid in my opinion could start from Day one… He plays within himself and he has all kinds of heart. Him and Teo on the same side scary…. Hope he signs with us!

  11. I too thought early-enrollees didn’t count towards the final recruiting…if so…in theory, the Irish could go for more than 25. Assuming Kelly felt it was necessary.

  12. I like that Kelly does his own evaluations and doesn’t heavy rely on the scouting service rankings but question signing a 1 star guy with no other offers – when signing day is almost here and schlarships are limited. Coach Kelly will need to get used to every decision he makes being scuritized but ND fan and ESPN haters – I don’t know which group is worse.

  13. With 21 commits listed here after Spond, will any of the five early enrollees be counted with last year’s class of about 17 to make room for more? Seems like there could be more than four commits still out there to go with this class, can’t afford to lose a big one because of numbers game.

    1. The 25 per class number isn’t the one we have to worry about, its the 85 scholarship max that we’ll be pushing up against if we land a couple tomorrow.

  14. Feeling good on Ego and Jones in the countdown. Not so much on Sentrel See him going elsewhere unfortunately.

  15. I thought it was Ego Ferguson, not JR (who is an old name to many of us). I sure hope it is Ego. I can’t think of a better first name for a defensive player!

  16. I’m starting to really, really like this Jeremy Ioane kid from Hawaii. He would be a great fit for our defense. This kid hits like he hates anyone who may touch the ball. If you have time check out his highlight video. ( ) He appears to have the ability to play the run, near the line of scrimage, and has the ability to close space while the ball is in the air.

    I would hate to compare him to anyone yet, but his style of play from his highlight video reminds me of a guy like Troy Polomolo (at least on the high school field), who seems to be everywhere on the field at once.

    We need some more kids like him on defense who loves to hit, and punish everyone on the opposing team.

    He appears to be a workout animal, with a 400 IB bench, squat and deadlift. He’s pretty quick, running a 4.5 40 and could fill out nicely over the next couple of years.

    Man, I’m starting to think that ND may be builiding a defense that can compete. I would be overjoyed if Kelly can bring this kid in!

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