This is supposed to be the year.
And that means Notre Dame will probably have to rebuild afterward. The question is how much, with the answer central to the current recruiting class that hit 13 commitments Thursday when defensive end Ade Ogundeji joined. Depending on who’s back after this season, who declares for the NFL Draft and which transfers hit, Notre Dame could have just five slots remaining this cycle.
To make sense of the math facing Notre Dame’s recruiting department for the next six months, Irish Illustrated unveils its Scholarship Chart for 2016. The chart breaks down the roster by eligibility instead of position, offering some perspective into the long-term goal for each group.
The Scholarship Chart is more best guess than outright gospel. In other words, don’t stress that Jaylon Smith and Will Fuller are off (NFL Draft) while Montgomery VanGorder and Scott Daly remain on.
How the freshman class slots this season with red-shirts also remains in question.
For example, last season Notre Dame red-shirted less than half of its 22-man freshman class and seven of those red-shirts came on the lines. Nic Weishar, DeShone Kizer and Tyler Newsome were the others.
Those ratios have been consistent under Brian Kelly with offensive linemen locks to red-shirt – Steve Elmer being the lone exception – while defensive linemen, tight ends and quarterbacks are likely to sit. On the flip side, it’s a surprise when linebackers, defensive backs, running backs and receivers don’t play. With the freshman class short on linemen but big on receivers, linebackers and defensive backs, Notre Dame probably won’t red-shirt much this season.
Here’s how Notre Dame’s Scholarship Chart figures to look a year from now, with safety and defensive end still glaring needs this cycle.
|RB||Tony Jones Jr.||Josh Adams
|Greg Bryant#||Tarean Folston|
Equanimeous St. Brown
Torii Hunter Jr.#
|C||Tristen Hoge*||Sam Mustipher*|
|Nick Watkins||Devin Butler
|Mykelti Williams||Drue Tranquill||Max Redfield
|ST||John Shannon||Tyler Newsome*
* Has taken a red-shirt season to preserve a year of eligibility
# Took a medical red-shirt season