5 Burning Questions for Notre Dame Leading to Signing Day ’15

Team Highlight (White) wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (6) during the 2015 Under Armour All-America Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photographer: Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire
Team Highlight (White) wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (6) during the 2015 Under Armour All-America Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Photographer: Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire

With just over a week left until signing day, the Irish coaching staff are on full alert. Even though they are feeling good about the collective talent assembled so far, the staff at Notre Dame knows there is still a chance to turn this into an elite class on a national level. Although the opportunity to do just that is there, some questions still need to be answered. Here are five questions that will have a major impact on signing day for the Notre Dame program. What type of impact?, well, that depends on what the answers are.

1.Will the Irish have unexpected help in the secondary?

Justin Reid – Word on the four-star safety is that his official visit went extremely well this past weekend, and while the Irish may not be the favorite at this point, they are at least within striking distance, along with Stanford and LSU. Reid is by no means considered a lock for Notre Dame(or even a strong possibility), but at least the Irish have a fighting chance come signing day.

2. Will Josh Adams be the lone running back in the class of 2015?

For awhile it seemed as this may be the case, but the coaching staff has forged a real connection with four-star running back, and former Miami commit, Dexter Williams. Williams plans to announce his intentions live on February 4th, and while we wouldn’t call it a lock at this point, it definitely is looking good for Notre Dame.

3. If Reid goes elsewhere, what about Jalen Julius?

Even though the Reid visit went well, many believe the Irish most likely come in second, or even third, behind Stanford and LSU. If that happens it will put the onus squarely back on Arrington Farrar and Jalen Julius. In Julius, the Irish would benefit from his speed and athleticism, but will find it difficult to compensate for his size. If Julius did receive an offer from Notre Dame, it would all but guarantee a commitment from his high school teammate, and current Notre Dame target, Dexter Williams. The three star safety out of Florida, doesn’t necessarily answer the safety question for Notre Dame, but his commitment would give the Irish a talented athlete, with speed.

4. If Reid goes elsewhere, and Julius isn’t the answer – what about Arrington Farrar?

Truth be known, the Irish staff would much prefer the four-star safety out of Atlanta, over Julius. Many feel that Notre Dame still has a bit of work to do here, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he could announce on signing day, that South Bend is his destination of choice. The Irish are in another battle with Stanford over Farrar, but have made up some impressive ground over the last few weeks. Landing Farrar would be a nice pick-up for Kelly and his staff, and give them solid player in the secondary. Farrar may not have the speed that Julius possesses, but he isn’t slow, and his size and frame are more suited for the position.

5. Will the Irish add even more offensive weapons at wide receiver?

The 2015 class already includes hard verbal’s from four-star wide receivers C.J. Sanders and Miles Boykin, and three-star Jalen Guyton, but could there be more? If it’s up to Kelly and his staff, yes. The Irish are in hopes to land four-star standout wide receiver, Equanimeous St. Brown, and conventional wisdom says they will do just that. Although UCLA is still in the mix, the commitment on signing day for Notre Dame is about as close to a lock and Irish fans could hope for. The combination of St. Brown, Sanders, Boykin, and current Irish tight-end commit, Aliz’e Jones, could create major problems for future Irish opponents.


Listen, we all know that recruiting evaluations are subjective at best, and simply because a program finishes inside the top ten in recruiting, guarantees nothing. In many cases recruits are over or under valued, and less we forget that each kid will need to be developed properly at this level. So finishing in the top 10 does not automatically guarantee the Irish success on the field – but it helps. If the Irish land Williams, Brown, and Farrar, it will most likely cement a position amongst the nation’s elite classes for 2015, miss out on one or two of them, and it’s the equivalent of the Irish ending up at the children’s table for Thanksgiving. Yeah, we’re still invited, but it’s not the same.

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  1. Whats the story with grace? The media has forgotten about him I guess. While Schmidt filled in and got the job done I’m still pulling for grace to return to his role.

  2. Exactly Duranko … O-line from left to right should be Stanley, Nelson, Martin, Elmer and McGlinchy. I’d have a tight chain on Elmer as he can be replaced by Bars, McGovern or Bivin. We are set to compete for a playoff spot barring key injuries to a QB, or Safety. Enough depth everywhere else. This is the year we’ve been waiting for ….

  3. If any year in Kelly’s tenure this is the year. He has an experienced offense and defense. It will be interesting to see if it all gels. I would like to see one of the Captains be Joe Schmidt he is a true leader and I would like to see him and Tommy Rees coach at ND one day

    1. I agree and hopefully Schmidt is able to return to his old form and not be limited by his injury. Hope he heals faster than Grace was able to. The depth on both sides of the ball should be solid in 2015 barring any academic catastrophies and an overubundance of injuries like last year.

  4. Nelson at LG Mcglinchey at RT

    Plus, Shaz I have a bone to pick.

    If people call you the Space Cowboy
    and others call you the Gangsta of Luv
    How you be coming on here asking about age v. Beauty?

    I guess I’ll just call you Maurice!

    1. Martin back at C is likely, and maybe get Nelson or Bars or who knows who else emerges by Texas week to start with McGlinchey & Stanley. Or maybe both. Will Elmer develop and when he does, where will he be placed into the OL .
      More potential quality depth since . . .?

  5. Well , from what Duranko , Shaz and MTA are surmising is a kick -ass 2015 roster , loaded for bear starting September 5th. I couldn’t agree more. A little worry in the 2015 recruits at safety and running back positions is of concern–but isn’t our biggest concern looking to 2015 season. Isn’t 2015 the season we are all focused on—“make or break” for BK , 10 wins or he’s out. Irish have Redfield and Shumate returning at safety—okay they went through difficult learning experience–but now as junior/seniors—why are they tossed aside—when their maturity and best football is still ahead in 2015 and possibly in NFL. These 2 safeties–are not going to be replaced by a 2015 recruit freshmen–not going to happen. At running back for 2015–well we got Folston/Bryant to lead a ground game –led by an experienced O-line. I’m not worried in this department— I think there are plenty of players on roster right now that can play in backfield—just find them. Dexter Williams ? If we don’t get him–no drastic change for 2015. This is it folks–2015 season. Y’ALL worried about 2015 recruits–that won’t even play till 2016 or ’17— with exception of Aliz’e Jones asap this fall. Go Irish 2015

  6. Big-D,

    This is one recruiting cycle where I wouldn’t mind seeing ND end up with a few more “leftover” scholarships than usual.

    While the expected 19 returning starters for 2015 puts ND in the upper echelon in the nation in that category, concern lies in the fact that there will be only 11 true seniors.

    I would like to see ND end up with at least 7 or 8 remaining scholarships after signing day that can be used for an excellent group of possible 5th year seniors.
    Those 7(or 8)fifth year players, plus the 11 true seniors, along with the 22 returning juniors, would then give ND approx. 40 upper classmen for 2015.

    Factor in a hand full of 2015 sophomores who saw significant playing time as freshmen on the defensive side, and this upcoming team is showing excellent promise.

    Here is my list of 5th years:
    Nick Martin
    Everett Golson
    Ishaq Williams
    Mathias Farley
    Joe Schmidt
    Matt Hegarty
    Amir Carlisle

    “My” ideal (scholarship) numbers:
    (I think?)

    11 True Seniors (includes Russell)
    7 Fifth year seniors (includes Williams)
    22 Juniors
    23 Sophomores

    63 Scholarships

    22 remaining scholarships for the 2015 recruiting cycle
    85 total scholarships

    Let’s play some ball!

    1. Not gonna happen. You can pretty much be sure to add 3 more to that list of 2015 guys. ESB, Flex Williams and either Reid or Farrar are on their way. That’ll leave 4 spots available for 5th years. Still more than enough.

      Martin, Farley and Schmidt are musts for a 5th year. If Golson decides to stay, it goes to him. If not? Williams.

      1. My post was mostly wishful thinking.

        What Kelly, or a bunch of high school seniors do is anyone’s guess.

        But I do think 2015 can be special, and this year’s pool of 5th years can be the difference.

        Bring back Martin and moving him back to his familiar center spot is the biggest must.

        That one move will drastically improve our run game, pass protection, and leadership.

      2. Shaz, in a forthcoming offensive unit analysis, you will note that the dimwitted writer has reslotted Martin at center. He is flanked on his left, according to this guy, by Quenton Nelson.

        Stay tuned.

        And this Irish team, on both sides of the ball, will be very experience.

      3. Nelson?


        I would have thought McGlinchey.

        You know… the whole “Age vs Beauty” thing.

  7. Farrar schedule a visit to ND this weekend and Wiltfong at 247 changed his crystal ball to ND for what it’s worth.

  8. What is remarkable is that in the past there had been a concern with “losing” committed kids Well, the only attrition is Prentice McKinney, and he wanted Notre Dame but could not be admitted. There clearly was a mutuality of COMMITMENT between McKinney and Notre Dame, but it was not to be.

    They are doing a great job of screening kids, and unlike the days of Lynch, are getting kids who will stick with Notre Dame and stay once they get here.

    This 2015 roster is unusual, with some extraordinary young men, and a bunch of great athletes.

    It’s quite a depth chart.

    1. I think the one thing that Kelly has done really well is to recruit to need and not star rating. He recruits positions that are needed for depth issues. CW’s problem was the attrition on the dline. Kelly has addressed front 7 depth each recruiting class. His major set back was the Lynch, Tuitt and Williams class because they either transferred, left early or haven’t panned out yet. ND will be two deep on both sides of the ball line wise which should help.

  9. All in all, one must assume that our coaching staff is gearing up to finish the best they can with that certain individual wanting to come to ND. Another reason to think about is this, the chances of having a perfect class are so slim to none only because of the likes of the SEC. If we can pursue and change one boys mind to come to ND over the likes of the Alabama’s and Florida State’s amongst many other schools, than we did accomplish a feat there. Hopefully in the end, we do persuade a few talented individuals to come to ND on Signing Day. We’ll have to wait and see, until then only these highly talented players know where they want to commit to and we’ll see if that happens to be Notre Dame!

  10. It’s all hindsight. The staff gets ripped when they don’t go after top prospects and then ripped when they do go after top prospects and don’t get them.

    Prentice McKenny hurts the most. Kid is good. Recruiting is a fickle, fickle bitch.

  11. I think it’s very late in the game, perhaps too late. The question is: where will Reid go, and can we afford to wait on him? We should pursue Farrar 100%, maybe even Julius. I’d love to have ESB, but in all honesty we have much greater need at safety and RB.

    I hate to say it, but I think the coaches have dropped the ball at Safety and RB recruiting this year. We focused too much on guys like Soso, and overlooked these same guys we’re now scrambling to get.

    1. I think that’s incredibly stupid.

      They focused a lot on Soso, because for a while, Soso was a heavy ND lean. Then he visited UCLA and flipped his attention to them, and now Texas looks like the destination. He’s just flip flopping everywhere.

      At Safety, they had a commit from Prentice McKinney for the longest time, and then when it became apparent that he may not be eligible, they went out and hunted. Note that they were in play for several safety recruits prior to him flipping. There just isn’t that many high-level safeties in play this year. ND has to work with a smaller overall pool than most schools due to their higher academic standards. Reid and Farrar are both 4-star Safeties and either should be Irish by the time NSD comes around.

  12. I think the Farrar bit is slightly misinformed. Farrar recently decommited from Stanford due to undisclosed reasons–but most believe it to be related to academic/admission issues. The two biggest players for Farrar are ND and Stanford, and if he can’t rejoin Stanford, I assume ND is his landing spot. Also Farrar is a consensus 4* Safety, Reid is highly rated by 247 but other sites think Farrar is the better player so I think they are very similar in terms of how talented they are

  13. What about Iman Marshall ? He visited ND back in Dec. and he still has not chosen a school yet? He would be a huge pick up !

  14. Development of the players is key. Weis used to recruit top players, but he could never develop the team and the record suffered as a result. BK has shown a better ability to develop players, but ND still has some work that needs to be done to be an elite team.

    1. I agree. Harry Heistand looks-the-part of a developer of talent. BK was involved with politics while in College. (Assumption College, Worcester MA.) BK knows that communication is absolutely vital. Having studied Communications myself (at Northestern U. in Boston) I have had fun watching BK communicate. BK’s good.

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