Quarterback2013: Malik Zaire (Redshirt) 2014: DeShone Kizer (4-star) Strength/Weakness – Kizer: size/consistency Position grade (talent and needs filled): B 2015 : Brian Kelly stated in December he prefers to work with three scholarship quarterbacks and a preferred walk-on. The addition of top prospect Blake Barnett to the 2015 class gives the '15 Irish four triggermen: expected 5th-year senior Everett Golson, redshirt-sophomore Malik Zaire, sophomore or redshirt-freshman DeShone Kizer, and Barnett.
Another quarterback isn't only unnecessary, it would be a mistake and elicit certain transfer from the quartet under Golson.
Running Back2013: Tarean Folston, Greg Bryant (Redshirt) 2014: None Position grade (talent and needs filled): C 2015: The 2015 depth chart is well-tiered with projected 5th-year senior Amir Carlisle, senior (redshirt-junior) Will Mahone, junior Tarean Folston, and junior (redshirt-sophomore) Greg Bryant. After missing in 2014, the Irish need two running back prospects in the upcoming class, though one -- if he's among the top tier -- would suffice. A second prospect that could help at multiple positions would be ideal.
Wide Receiver2013: Corey Robinson, James Onwualu, Will Fuller, Torii Hunter (Redshirt) 2014: Justin Brent (4-star), Corey Holmes (4-star) Biggest impact: While Justin Brent may have more of an immediate impact, Holmes may be the more reliable prospect over the course of their careers. Holmes' polished technique, route-running and burst of speed to beat defenders down the sideline are already among the best of his peers. Strength/Weakness – Brent: making plays in traffic/route-running; Holmes: straight-line speed/physicality Position grade (talent and needs filled): A 2015: None of Notre Dame's nine scholarship receivers exhaust their eligibility at season's end, and with six signed in the last two classes, no more than two are necessary for 2015.
Tight End2013: Mike Heuerman, Durham Smythe (Redshirt) 2014: Nic Weishar, Tyler Luatua Biggest impact: Nic Weishar has outstanding hands, and has shown a consistent ability to make tough grabs in traffic. He'll be ready from the onset as a pass-catcher. Strength/Weakness – Weishar: body control/blocking; Luatua: position versatility/intensity Position grade (talent and needs filled): A 2015: Two have joined both of the last two classes after the Irish failed to sign a tight end for 2012. Two more in 2015 would secure the position for the long-term especially if one from the pair could switch sides of scrimmage (a la Tyler Luatua from the '14 crop).
One would suffice as well as that would give Kelly's offense five tight ends entering the 2015 season, all of whom would have at least three seasons of eligibility remaining.
Offensive Line2013: Steven Elmer, Colin McGovern (Redshirt), Hunter Bivin (Redshirt), Mike McGlinchey (Redshirt), John Montelus (Redshirt) 2014: Jimmy Byrne (4-star OG), Sam Mustipher, (4-star OG), Quenton Nelson (4-star OT), Alex Bars (4-star OT) Biggest impact: Quenton Nelson will bring a mean streak to Notre Dame's offensive line, and that coupled with size and skill, Nelson will be a standout lineman for the Irish, with potential to dominate at both guard or tackle. Strength/Weakness -- Byrne: technique/reaching tendency; Mustipher: frame/losing control of block; Bars: engaging contact on drive blocks/pass protection; Nelson: brute strength, footwork/pass protection Position grade (talent and needs filled): A 2015: Notre Dame's 2014 roster includes 15 scholarship offensive linemen. Just one, 5th-year senior Christian Lombard, exhausts eligibility at season's end. Expect each of the team's 2014 senior blockers, Nick Martin, Matt Hegarty, and Conor Hanratty to return for 2015, which means 14 linemen will be part of the '15 roster. The Irish would then "need" three and could survive with two, but two is a recipe for disaster at a position with a history of attrition in the college game.
Notre Dame's last four recruiting classes include the following numbers up front: 2011 (three remaining from five total); 2012 (two total); 2013 (five total), 2014 (four total), 2015 ?