Eight should be enough

The verbal pledge of Spokane, Wash. linebacker Danny Mattingly fits well with our detailed breakdowns of Notre Dame's recruiting needs published earlier this month. As explained within, the magic number for remaining prospects in the 2013 cycle is down to (approximately) eight.

(Note: The following was written 4 hours prior to linebacker Michael Deeb's pledge to the Irish.)

As detailed in "Then Nine" (linked below and published earlier this month), I expect Notre Dame to land another wide receiver, cornerback, two defensive linemen, potentially a running back, and, after Mattingly's pledge, three or as many as four more "Big Skill" profile athletes (LB, TE, big Safeties, hybrid DE/OLBs). Some combination therein will give the 2013 class 23 members and leave room for the appropriate number of 5th-year players plus requisite transfer(s).

The Big Skill profile remains the focal point of the 2013 cycle as head coach Brian Kelly continues to form a versatile 85-man roster in his image.

To be more specific within the Big Skill profile, at least one more linebacker should be brought on board and a fourth (Jaylon Smith, Mattingly, potential #3, and #4) should take precedent over any other position with the exception of defensive line. (Remember, nothing takes precedent over a quality defensive lineman at Notre Dame.)

For detailed position-by-position breakdown of the 2013 roster including Notre Dame's recruiting needs, 5th-year options, and likelihood of annual transfer(s), click the links below.

A more concise look is included in the ensuing section of this column.

Offense and Special Teams
Explaining Transfers, etc.

Wishes and Needs

Using the coaching staff's recruiting model, Notre Dame's current 15-player class breaks down as such:

Power (6): OL Steven Elmer, OL Hunter Bivin, OL Mike McGlinchey, OL Colin McGovern, OL John Montelus, DL Isaac Rochell
Notes and Needs: The class is set along the offensive front with two true defensive line prospects necessary and room for a third (without question).

Skill (5): QB Malik Zaire, CB Rashad Kinlaw, CB Devin Butler, WR Corey Robinson, WR James Onwualu
Notes and Needs: Another CB takes precedent over another WR, though landing both would be ideal. Two cornerbacks, especially those that fit the staff's profile of taller, rangy athletes, would be a major coup. QB recruiting is set while safety would be a luxury add with eight scholarship players at the position on the 2013 roster. Ditto for RB: either a top tier prospect that can push for major playing time as a sophomore, or one with the feet/size to play CB. Failing that, RB is not necessary in 2013 but then becomes mandatory in 2014.

Big Skill (4): TE/OLB/DE Jacob Matuska, TE Mike Heuerman, LB Jaylon Smith, LB Danny Mattingly
Notes Needs: One more linebacker is essential with two ideal. Another true tight end need not be signed in 2013 as Matuska can fill the inline blocking role later in his development.

Irisheyes.com's Ideal Remaining Eight: Two true DL, two LB, two CB, one WR, one top tier Safety
Projected Instead: Two true DL, two LB, one CB, one WR, one S, one RB/Slot

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