Notre Dame Recruiting ’16 Needs: Offense

Notre Dame Football Recruiting 2016
(Photo: Rich Barnes // USA TODAY Sports)

With the Notre Dame class of 2015 signed, sealed, and delivered, we shift our focus towards the recruiting year of 2016.   It’s difficult to place an exact number on how many scholarships will be available for next year, but a solid estimate would be seem to fall around 18. Obviously Factors such as transfers,  attrition,  5th year seniors, and players going pro all play an important role as to how scholarships will available for the class 2016, but we will stick with 18 for now. The question then becomes, what positions does require the most attention, and where should the majority of focus be?

In today’s post, we’ll take a look at Notre Dame’s needs for the class of 2016 on the offensive side of the ball.

Offensive line

The Irish have the ability to be something pretty special on offense in the upcoming year, as there are a lot of weapons at the coaching staff’s disposal. The class of 2015 is also bringing some talent, depth, and excitement along with it, so where does the recruiting focus lie on the offensive side? For starters, The Irish have already secured the commitment of five-star offensive linemen, Tommy Kraemer. Given the fact that only two commitments along the line – neither of which were tackles – happened in the class of 2015, we would expect a bit more focus on the offensive line position for this upcoming recruiting year. The Irish have some real depth and talent on the offensive line, but this position is a revolving door, and requires a true effort and focus every single year. As of right now Notre Dame has a total eight scholarship offers out, and the  names of five-star tackle, Ben Brederson(WI) and four-star guard, Liam Eichenberg(OH) are two names Irish fans should keep an ear out for.

’16 Projected OL Class Breakdown

  • ’16 Potential 5th’s: Mark Harrell (OG), Ronnie Stanley (OT)
  • ’16 Seniors: Hunter Bivin (OG), Steve Elmer (OG/OT), Mike McGlinchey (OT), John Montelus (OC), Colin McGovern (OG)
  • ’16 Juniors:  Jimmy Byrne (OT), Alex Bars (OT), Quenton Nelson (OT), Sam Mustipher (OG)
  • ’16 Sophomores: Trevor Ruhland (OG), Tristen Hoge (C)

Running Back

Although the Irish also signed two running backs in the class of 2015, it was a scramble to the finish. The concern now is that both Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston have the ability to leave for the NFL draft after this season. While it’s highly unlikely that Bryant would improve his stock enough to warrant such a move, Folston has enough talent and recognition to possibly make such a decision with a breakout junior season.

With that in mind, the position of running back will still be a primary focus for 2016, and we would like to see the Irish land at least two commitments here. Five-star running back, Kareem Walker would have been an outstanding fit, but with the recent departure of former Irish running backs coach Tony Alford to Ohio St.(Walker currently committed to them), it would seem the Irish will have to shift focus elsewhere. With Walker committed to Ohio St. two other options may be four-star running backs Demario McCall, and Elijah Holyfield. There is interest from both sides, but a long list of suitors await for the services of both, and nothing is a given at this point.

Projected 2016 RB Class Breakdown

  • ’16 Potential 5th’s: None
  • ’16 Seniors: Tarean Folston, Greg Bryant
  • ’16 Juniors:  None
  • ’16 Sophomores: Josh Adams, Dexter Williams

Wide Receiver

Much like the other two positions we have already talked about, the wide receiver position is strong and deep right now. That fact though hasn’t stopped the coaching staff from being aggressive here either. As of right now Notre Dame has 25 offers sitting on the table. Out of those 25, there seems to be strong interest from only about eight of them. Some names to keep an eye in this group would be four-star Brandon Burton(CA), four-star Tyler Vaughns(CA), four-star Justin Layne(OH), and four-star Donnie Corley(MI). Understand this though, none the four recruits we mentioned are what we consider “under the radar” recruits, and the Irish have some powerful programs that they going up against.  After landing four wide receivers in this past recruiting class, Notre Dame can afford to be a bit selective this year and aim high.

Projected WR Class Breakdown

  • ’16 Potential 5th’s: CJ Prosise
  • ’16 Seniors: Will Fuller, Corey Robinson, Torii Hunter,
  • ’16 Juniors: Justin Brent, Corey Holmes
  • ’16 Sophomores: Equanimeous St. Brown, Jalen Guyton, CJ Sanders, Miles Boykin

Quarterback

The Notre Dame staff was highly successful in the quarterback department, landing four-star dual-threat quarterback, Brandon Wimbush. With the addition of Wimbush, the Irish are considered to have of the deepest and most talented groups in the nation, but are still looking to add to this group. With a total of eight offers for 2016, Brian Kelly and staff are focusing of pro-style, and dual-threat talent right now. Out of the eight early offers, Notre Dame is currently high on the list with an impressive five of them. Out of those five, it seems like the Irish have the most realistic shot with three of them. Four-star Dwayne Haskins (MD), Four-Star Xavier Gaines, and four-star QB/ATH Ervin Barrett. One interesting dynamic to keep an eye on with all three of these quarterbacks, the coaches who were recruiting them(Alford, LaFleur)have all left the program.

Projected QB Class Breakdown

  • ’16 Potential 5th’s: None
  • ’16 Seniors: Malik Zaire
  • ’16 Juniors: Deshone Kizer
  • ’16 Sophomores: Brandon Wimbush

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