Notre Dame has four pledges already in tow for its 2014 recruiting class. How many more can Irish fans expect in the next 49 weeks?
Math and method isn't always the most exciting way to explain things, but in this case, an explanation is necessary.
There are a combined 22 seniors and 5th-year competitors on Notre Dame's 2013 roster. Subtract that from the 85 present scholarships for 2013 and Brian Kelly's program technically has 63 scholarships already taken for the 2014 season.
Beginning with that number (63), Irisheyes.com expects four of the seniors -- RT Christian Lombard, TE Alex Welch, CB Lo Wood, and S Austin Collinsworth -- to apply for and be granted a fifth season of eligibility. That would make the number of scholarships taken for the 2014 season 67.
A fifth season of eligibility (and 68th scholarship) could be granted to senior ILB Kendall Moore. Moore has yet to earn a start or play meaningful snaps from scrimmage, but without him, Kelly will have two returning inside linebackers next year (not including 2014 pledge Greer Martini).
(At present, it's unlikely the remaining graduating seniors would be granted a fifth season.)
Rather than presuming 68 scholarships, which makes for 17 open spots in the 2014 class, it makes more sense at an early stage to use the round number of 20 because of attrition in a program. Four of those scholarships are already acccounted for in high school juniors Justin Brent, Jimmy Byrne, Greer Martini, and Jay Hayes.
Why 20 rather than the actual number available? Notre Dame has experienced a transfer between football seasons for at least 30 straight years. That reality, coupled with the possibility of a medical scholarship, allows for a manageable 20 as the 2014 scholarship target.
2014 By the Numbers
The scholarship distribution is broken down below, with the number in parenthesis denoting projected pledges at each position.
Offensive Line (4): Four-star Cleveland (St. Ignatius) OT Jimmy Byrne pledged to Notre Dame on December 8, 2012.
Defensive Line (3): Four-star Brooklyn (Poly Prep) OT/DE Jay Hayes announced his pledge to Notre Dame on November 7, 2012.
Inside linebacker (2-3): Three-star Woodberry Forest School (Woodberry, Va) star LB Greer Martini became the staff's first pledge back in July, 2012.
Big Skill/Athletes (3): Possibilities include a Dog/Cat prospect, a third wide receiver, a second cornerback, or a high school quarterback that projects elsewhere in college.
Wide Receiver (2): Three-star Speedway, Indiana native (Speedway HS) Justin Brent followed Martini's pledge six days later (July 9).
Outside Linebacker (1):
Tight End (1):
Running Back (0): An elite player would obviously be welcomed by the staff, but with six on the 2013 roster, none of which exhausting eligibility at season's end, relative depth is not an issue.
Punter (0): Notre Dame added preferred walk-on punter Andrew Antognoli post-Signing Day. Antognoli will receive a season of evaluation prior to the staff pursuing a possible punter recruit.
Kicker (0): Kyle Brindza is eligible through 2014. Notre Dame added preferred walk-on kicker John Chereson after Signing Day.
Long-Snapper (0): Scott Daly has four seasons of eligibility remaining
Click here to link to the 2013 Irish roster and eligibility chart, broken down by scholarships allotted to both sides of scrimmage and special teams.
Click here for a look at current scholarship offers and targets for 2014.