Now that the class of 2009 is signed, sealed, and delivered, so the question of how many recruits the Irish will target in 2010 can start to be answered. For this post I’ll take a look at how many players Notre Dame will definitely have on scholarship, who could come back for a 5th year in 2010 and who, if anyone could leave early for the NFL.
Who Is Definitely Back in 2010?
Class Breakdown for 2010 Season
|QB||Jimmy Clausen||Dayne Crist||2|
|Jonas Gray||Cierre Wood
|TE||Mike Ragone||Kyle Rudolph
|Tyler EifertJake Golic||5|
|Lane Clelland||Zach Martin||5|
|OG||Andrew Nuss||Trevor Robinson||Alex Bullard
|DE||Emeka Nwankwo||Kapron Lewis-Moore
|DT||Ian Williams||Brandon Newman
|WILL||Kerry Neal||Darius Fleming||2|
|ILB||Brian Smith||Steve Filer
|CB||Gary Gray||Robert Blanton
|S||Harrison Smith||Dan McCarthy||2|
|K||Brandon Walker||Nick Tausch||2|
Who is Eligible for a 5th Year?
Notre Dame will have 9 potential fifth year seniors in 2010 by my count. Here’s who will be eligible.
- Offense: Chris Stewart, Dan Wenger, Barry Gallup (3)
- Defense: Paddy Mullen, Kallen Wade, Darrin Walls, Leonard Gordon (4)
Of those 9 players, I’d say the two OL – Stewart and Wenger – and Darrin Walls would be the most likely to come back. With the depth and talent Notre Dame has at wide receiver, I don’t think Gallup will be back for a 5th year. On defense, Walls could go to the NFL with a big year in 2009 but will most likely be back since he’ll no doubt take a little but of readjusting this fall after missing all of 2008. Leonard Gordon might be a potential 5th year candidate in 2010 too since the numbers at safety are pretty low.
Early Draft Entrants?
Right now I don’t think we’ll have to worry about any of the juniors from 2009 bolting to the NFL. There are a lot of talented players in that class, but barring major break through seasons, I don’t think any will be NFL ready by this time next year.
So How Many Recruits Will Notre Dame Take
Based on the numbers above, Notre Dame will have 58 players definitely on scholarship in 2010 at this time. That leaves open a potential 27 openings for next year’s recruiting class and 5th year seniors combined. Now, let’s say Notre Dame brings back three 5th year seniors in 2010. That would bring us to a total of 24 available scholarships for next year’s recruiting class. An additional scholarship would be available if Manti Te’o takes his mission after his freshman season.
How Will Those Scholarships Be Used
Here’s how I see those 24-25 scholarships getting divided up.
- Quarterback (1) – Notre Dame will look to sign an elite QB this year after not bringing one in this year.
- Running Back (1) – With 5 backs on scholarship for 2010, it will be tough to get another two top ranked backs like this year. Hopefully Notre Dame adds 1 big back next year.
- Fullback (1) – I’d love to see Notre Dame add an elite fullback who can be used as more than a blocker.
- Wide Receiver (3) – With Daniel Smith already in the fold and a lot of early offers for WRs already it seems like the Irish will take at least three even with the late addition of Roby Toma.
- Offensive Tackle (2) – With Christian Lombard already committed I think Weis will put the full court press on Seantrel Henderson. Getting Henderson and Lombard would be incredible.
- Offensive Guard (2) – After just 7 OL in the last two classes, I think Weis will look to add a full set of five OL next year.
- Center (1) – With no centers signed this year, it will be important to add a good one next year.
- Defensive End (3) – Chris Martin is already committed and Notre Dame will need to add another two next year after not signing any this year. I’d like to see one pure pass rushing specialist signed as well as a bigger DE.
- Defensive Tackle (2) – With just Tyler Stockton signed this year, I think Weis will try to land two DT’s next year. One who can contribute early and one more raw prospect that will need time to develop.
- Outside Linebacker (2) – If Notre Dame sticks with a 3-4 alignment, I think Weis will add a full set of LB’s next year.
- Inside Linebacker (2) – Calabrese was the only inside linebacker signed this year, so Notre Dame will need to add two next year.
- Cornerback (2) – This is assuming Walls and Gray are both on the field for Notre Dame in 2010.
- Safety (3) – I could see Notre Dame taking 3 S’s if there is a scholarship available.
So there you have it. This is obviously subject to change, but as of now this is how I see it all unfolding.