Secondly, you need to look at the number of prospects you already have on the roster. In determining future needs, it's best to look at the number of prospects you signed in the previous two recruiting classes. So to determine how many prospects Notre Dame will sign in 2012, we'll look at the 2010 and 2011 recruiting classes.
What we have: Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix, Everett Golson
What we need (1): Notre Dame has signed four quarterbacks in the past two recruiting classes, which would lead one to think that the Irish might consider not taking a quarterback in this recruiting class, but as long as Brian Kelly is the head coach at Notre Dame, you can be sure that the Irish will take at least one quarterback in every recruiting class.
What we have: Cameron Roberson, Cam McDaniel
What we need (2): Cam McDaniel was the lone running back to sign with the Irish last year, as Savon Huggins and several other top recruiting targets opted to sign elsewhere. Knowing that the Cameron Roberson was the only running back to sign with the Irish in 2010, there is plenty of room for a couple of top rated prospects.
What we have: T.J. Jones, Danny Smith, DaVaris Daniels, George Atkinson
(3): Brian Kelly wants playmakers on the outside, so this position will always get plenty of attention when it comes to recruiting. Notre Dame likes to put the ball in the air, so Notre Dame should be able to attract the top wide receiver prospects every year. Last year it was DaVaris Daniels, and the year before it was T.J. Jones. Look for the Irish to sign three wide receivers with this class.
What we have: Alex Welch, Ben Koyack, Luke Massa
What we need (1): When Brian Kelly brought his spread offense to Notre Dame, a lot of Irish fans expected the tight end position to fade in importance. That certainly wasn't the case last year, and moving forward, expect the tight end to be an integral part of the Irish offense. Notre Dame already has several highly regarded tight end prospects on their roster, but look for the Irish to land another with this recruiting class.
What we have: Tate Nichols, Christian Lombard, Matt Hegarty, Nick Martin, Conor Hanratty
What we need (4): Quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers get the headlines, but the guys up front make the offense go. With the 2010 class Notre Dame only brought in two offensive tackles. While only three prospects from last year's class will begin their careers on the offensive line, as many as three additional prospects could join them. Determining the ultimate number of prospects the Irish coaching staff opts to sing in 2012 will likely be determined at some point next fall. For now, we'll speculate that the number is will be four. With offensive tackle Taylor Decker already committed, the Irish will need three more.
What we have: Kona Schwenke, Bruce Heggie, Aaron Lynch, Brad Carrico, Tony Springmann, Chase Hounshell, Stephon Tuitt, Troy Niklas
What we need (2): The Irish had a recruiting bonanza at defensive end in 2011, but that doesn't mean that you stop recruiting the position and stop taking numbers. Notre Dame grabbed six prospective defensive ends last year, but as mentioned above, as many as three may end up on the offensive line. Bring in two more quality prospects in the 2012 class and Brian Kelly just might be building a team that could make a run at the national championship.
What we have: Louis Nix
What we need (1): The Notre Dame coaching staff decided early on not to take a player at this position last year, so they will be certain to add a body this year.
What we have: Danny Spond, Prince Shembo, Kendall Moore, Justin Utupo, Ishaq Williams, Anthony Rabasa, Ben Councell, Jarrett Grace
What we need (1): The Notre Dame coaching staff believes that they already have a lot of talent at the linebacker position, but they feel most of the players will be better suited to play on the inside. Last year they signed Ishaq Williams, Anthony Rabasa, and Ben Councell on the outside and Jarrett Grace on the inside. With the 2012 recruiting class, expect the Irish to sign two more outside linebacker and only one inside backer.
What we have: Lo Wood, Bennett Jackson, Jalen Brown, Eilar Hardy, Josh Atkinson, Matthias Farely
What we need (2): There wasn't a better way to start the 2012 recruiting class than with the commitment of Tee Shapard. With Shepard in the fold, look for the Irish to be very selective in locating a second cornerback to add to this class.
What we have: Chris Badger, Austin Collinsworth
What we need (1): Last year the Irish signed four cornerbacks, but look for two of those to eventually settle in here. With Austin Collinsworth expected to join the defensive backfield this spring and the anticipated return of Chris Badger from his Mormon mission in the fall, the Irish appear to have numbers at safety. The Irish could sign just one safety in 2012, but if another scholarship opens up, look for the Irish to take a second.