Thus, with 83 of 85 scholarships taken, and with the assumption of an annual transfer (an off-season occurrence for the program in 30 straight seasons), Irisheyes.com maintains its stance that head coach Brian Kelly will bring in the full allotment of 25 players for his fourth Irish recruiting haul.
Below is a look at who's on board and who might join, broken down by Kelly's three-tiered recruiting model:
2013 Power Pledges (7)Notre Dame inked eight power players in 2011 but just three last fall. Of the eight from '11, three are no longer with the program.
Power Notes: The seven-man haul is in desperate need of another defensive line prospect, notably for the 2014 season and beyond. Kelly's 2012 class included just three power prospects, and but one defensive lineman (Jarron Jones).
Remaining Power Targets: 5-star NG Eddie Vanderdoes, 4-star Alquandin Muhammad, 4-star DE Kyle Fitts (6'4" 260). Vanderdoes remains the team's chief priority and would singularly be more valuable than any three other potential additions included in this piece. Muhammad has pledged to Miami but rumors persist that the Don Bosco Prep (N.J.) star would flip to the Irish if he can qualify for admission to the University.
Fitts joined the prospect list when he decommitted from USC last week. Both he and Vanderdoes, also a former USC pledge, will visit South Bend on January 25.
Irisheyes.com Guess: Vanderdoes joins the fray.
2013 Big Skill Pledges (4)Only one "Big Skill" recruit was included in Kelly's 2012 haul, OLB/DE prospect Romeo Okwara. Two former pledges, Danny Mattingly and Alex Anzalone, have weakened the current group with their defections elsewhere. The pair previously made an already impressive linebacker haul likely the nation's best.
Tight End: Mike Heuerman (Early Enrollee)
Big Skill Notes: Only 18 Big Skill athletes populate the Irish roster (give or take a couple, as I consider some safeties to fit the profile Kelly once described as a "6'3" 215-225 pound player.") Look for another increased emphasis on this prong of Kelly's recruiting profile for 2014.
Remaining Big Skill Targets: 4-star LB Deon Hollins, 4-star LB Torrodney Prevot, 4-star TE Durham Smythe. Both Hollins and Prevot will visit on January 25 ( recent report indicates Hollins could push that back to February 2) while Smythe, who reportedly received his Irish offer Monday, will visit February 2, just prior to signing day. A Texas native and former Longhorns pledge, Smythe is considering Michigan and Stanford as well.
Hollins would give the Irish positional versatility as the gifted pass-rusher could also likely play inside, a position with a dearth of scholarship bodies for both 2013 and beyond. At 6'4" 205 pounds, Prevot does not fit the team's recruiting profile (weight) for defensive end but he could grow into a Cat 'backer role. Additionally, Prevot's athleticism might qualify as the "compelling reason" Kelly often notes to recruit a prospect off-profile. Prevot is also slated for a January 25 visit.
Irisheyes.com Guesses: Hollins flips from UCLA to Notre Dame to give the Irish four formidable linebackers in the class. Smythe joins Tight End U as well, closing the class and giving the 2013 squad a much-needed fifth tight end and Big Skill athlete.
2013 Skill Pledges (11)Combined, the 2012 (11 of 16 pledges) and 2013 (11 off 22+) recruiting cycles fully stocked Notre Dame at previously sparse positions of cornerback and safety.
Safety: Max Redfield
Quarterback: Malik Zaire (EE)
Skill Notes: Notre Dame has 38 Skill profile players on its 2013 roster with 11 wide receivers and 17 defensive backs the chief occupants.
Remaining Skill Targets: 4-star WR Sebastian LaRue. Another former USC pledge and prospect set to visit on January 25, aka, "almost home" weekend for former USC hopefuls. LaRue would give the program back-to-back classes with an explosive slot target after last year's addition of Davonte' Neal.
Irisheyes.com Guess: LaRue inks with Texas A&M and cancels his visit to South Bend.