In the second edition of its kind, IrishEyes.com breaks down where Notre Dame stands in its recruiting efforts as the big picture for 2014 begins to narrow to more specific targets and names. Inside is a position-by-position look at how many more commitments we expect the Irish to take, and who's most likely to fill those spots.
In a time period that had potential to be relatively quiet on the recruiting front, Notre Dame
secured commitments at two major positions of need in back-to-back days less than a week into the calendar's eighth month of the year.
With Aug. 31 less than a month away, Notre Dame has secured commitments from 17 prospects (9 on offense, 7 on defense, 1 special teams) – 1 QB, 2 WR, 1 RB, 1 TE, 4 OL, 2 MLB, 2 DT, 1 DE, 2 DE/CAT, and 1 P/K.
For those enthralled by team rankings, the Irish are sitting at No. 4 in national recruiting rankings per FOX Sports NEXT, and of the 17 pledges, there are 12 four-stars and five three-star prospects.
Using Tim O'Malley's numbers, IrishEyes.com expects the Irish to take 23 total commitments in the 2014 class. With 17 in the fold, that leaves six more spots to be filled.
As of Aug. 6, the Irish are set and accounted for at quarterback, running back, tight end, and offensive line. (Such prospects could join, but aren't needed.) Even with three prospects added within the last month, the focus going forward will continue to be at defensive line, wide receiver, and defensive back.
In an ideal Irish recruiting world, and to fill essential needs:
And then, potentially…
4th DE (In addition to Trumbetti, Bonner and Blankenship -- with the latest two editions also being considered at CAT linebacker)
3rd middle linebacker
5th offensive lineman
2nd CB, first is yet to be filled
The 6 "right of kind guys" to fill the "Golden Army"
First consider the following:
- Offensive tackle Braden Smith
is a no-brainier add despite any attrition at the numbers' game. The Irish feel confident about their chances of securing an official visit from the near 6-foot-7, 295-pound five-star. Other schools considerably in the mix right now in the process: Alabama, Texas A&M and TCU.
- Tight end Tyler Luatua
recently told FOX Sports NEXT the Irish are the unquestioned team recruiting him the hardest. Notre Dame leads for the talented La Mirada prospect at this point, who will official visit Oct. 18.
- The waters remain somewhat murky surrounding athlete/wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie
of Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage. With the Irish his unquestioned favorite, McKenzie may not have the go ahead just yet from the staff to pull the trigger. As long as Notre Dame believes its shot at landing one of the best receivers in the land, slot prospect Michiah Quick
of Fresno, California, development with McKenzie could be at a stalemate.
- Nose guard Matt Elam
of Elizabethtown (Ky.) released an official top six of Alabama, Kentucky, Louisville, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Tennessee. Elam has insinuated the Irish are in the upper half of that group, along with Alabama and Kentucky. He'll give the Irish an official visit...
... You know how it goes -- games are won and lost in the trenches, so adding two more prospects on the defensive line is certainly not out of the question. Especially, if the No. 4 ranked defensive end Solomon Thomas
, who plans on giving the Irish an official, wants to come aboard. Defensive tackle Thomas Holley
is also a possibility.
- CAT linebacker prospect Andrew Williams
of McDonough (Ga.) Eagles Landing Christian remains an enigma, giving the Irish high marks during the spring, but usually failing to mention Notre Dame in interviews over the summer. Claims that he will publicly release a top list before the season's start meet me with speculation, and I believe he'll continue to play his cards close the vest and evaluate teams this fall. Auburn, Clemson and Ole Miss are among the favorites to land him.
- The Irish recently offered cornerback prospect Nick Watkins
' new teammate, Payton Hendrix
of Dallas (Texas) Bishop Dunne, who told IrishEyes.com a Notre Dame offer has potential to be a game-changer. The Irish should receive an official visit from this fast-rising safety.
- Allen Lazard, Michiah Quick
- Juju Smith or Payton Hendrix
- Nick Watkins
- Matt Elam
And then adding:
TE Tyler Luatua
Still in the hunt:
DT Thomas Holley, DE Solomon Thomas, OT Braden Smith, MLB Drue Tranquill
***Changes from our July 11 update:
+ Michiah Quick / - Isaiah McKenzie
+ Nick Watkins / - Kyle Gibson
A month ago I predicted adding:
1 LB - Richard Yeargin
2 DL – NG Matt Elam, DE/DT Matt Dickerson
3 WR – Corey Holmes, Allen Lazard, Isaiah McKenzie
1 CB – Kyle Gibson
1 S - Juju Smith
1 TE - Tyler Luatua
It goes without saying, but much going forward will depend on official visits and how the wins and losses column shakes out for programs across the nation. And, in Notre Dame's case, which of defensive prospects left on the board take note of what is sure to be one of the best defenses in the nation. Andrew Williams, that means you.
for a list of the fall 2013 official visitor list.