Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis and his coaching staff have already secured commitments from Zach Frazer, QB, 6-4, 210-pounds, Mechanicsburg, Pa., Luke Schmidt, FB, 6-4, 230-pounds, Jasper, Ind., James Aldridge, TB, 6-1, 217-pounds, Crown Point, Ind., (Merrillville), Munir Prince, TB, 5-9, 185-pounds, St. Louis, Mo., (DeSmet Jesuit), Barry Gallup, WR, 5-11, 175-pounds, Wellesley, Mass., (The Belmont School) and Paddy Mullen, TE, 6-4, 265-pounds, St. Louis, Mo., (DeSmet Jesuit) for the offensive side of the football. And the calendar is only approaching mid June…
Needless to say, recruiting has gone well thus far on the offensive side of the ball. Still, there is a lot of work to be done to fill all of the holes within the Irish roster.
Offensive Line--Notre Dame has serious depth issues along the front line heading into this season and beyond. At least one, if not two, recruits from the class of 2006 are going to be at least a part of the two-deep if not starting once the 2006 season-opener at Georgia Tech arrives. That is the reality of Notre Dame's offensive line woes to date.
Notre Dame needs to land at least five offensive linemen in this recruiting class.
Top Targets - Bartley Webb, OT, 6-7, 290-pounds, Springdale, Ark., Sam Young, OT, 6-8, 280-pounds, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., (St. Thomas Aquinas), Matt Carufel, OG/OT, 6-5, 280-pounds, St. Paul, Minn., (Cretin-Derham), Chris Stewart, OL, 6-5, 330-pounds, Klein, Texas, Daron Rose, OL, 6-5, 310-pounds, Tampa, Fla., (Jefferson) and Jim Barrie, OT, 6-5, 310-pounds, Tampa, Fla., (Berkeley Prep) are just a few of the offensive line recruits the Irish are ardently pursuing.
The key with offensive line recruiting for the short term will be the one-day summer football camp which takes place this June 25. After the recruits leave from that camp a few new names could emerge.
There are going to be several offensive linemen at the camp. Until then, we wait. Every year a few surprises emerge from the summer football camp. This year will likely be more of the same.
Look for an exclusive about offensive line recruiting with commentary about all of the offensive linemen coach Weis and his assistant coaching staff are pursuing after the summer football camp concludes. The article will be published in early July, but for now the best bets appear to be Carufel and Stewart.
Tight End – With Mullen already in the fold Notre Dame can afford to be choosy. Maybe one more tight end would be nice, but it is not a necessity.
Top Targets – The most notable name to keep an eye on right now is Konrad Reuland, TE, 6-6, 240-pounds, Mission Viejo, Calif. Practically every major program has inquired about the talented tight end, but he does not appear close to making a decision.
New names may or may not surface, but a recruit to keep in the back of your mind is Andew Quarless, TE/WR/LB, 6-4, 200-pounds, Uniondale, N.Y. The only question is which position will Quarless play in college? Notre Dame is amongst several schools in pursuit.
Quarterback – With Frazer already in the fold Notre Dame is looking for an athletic quarterback to take the second quarterback slot in this recruiting class. Even if the Irish do not land another quarterback it will be in good shape heading into the 2006 season.
Top Targets - All indications point to Demetrius Jones, QB, 6-3, 185-pounds, Chicago, Ill., (Morgan Park), but Jones is difficult to read. Illinois is considered to be the main competition for the Irish, but Oregon and several other schools are also giving chase. Will Jones make a summer decision? He was reportedly going to announce right after school let out for the summer, but now a possible unofficial visit to Oregon this summer? Jones' recruitment is hard to figure out.
How long will coach Weis wait before looking elsewhere if Jones does not make a decision this summer? It's tough to predict what is going to happen with quarterback recruiting while the Irish wait on Jones‘s verbal commitment.
Wide Receiver – With Frazer already in the fold wide receiver recruiting should be a breeze, right? Well, not so far. Even with only four wide receivers returning to the Notre Dame roster in 2006, the Irish have had some difficulty attracting the top talent, and there is a dearth of elite wide receiver recruits in the Midwest, at least if you go by the rankings.
Wide receiver recruiting may have to play out over the long haul as many of the Irish targets are located outside the Midwest. At least two more wide receivers need to be added with Gallup.
Top Targets – George West, WR, 5-9, 175-pounds, Oklahoma City, Okla., (Northeast Academy), Damon McDaniel, WR, 5-11, 192-pounds, Virginia Beach, Va., (Landstown), Richard Jackson, WR, 6-3, 200-pounds, Clermont, Fla., (East Ridge) and David Ausberry, WR, 6-4, 200-pounds, Lemoore, Calif. are the headliners.
It is not yet known if Ausberry has received an official offer, but one is expected to be tendered at some point. West, McDaniel and Jackson have all reportedly received official offers from Notre Dame.
Rob Parris, WR, 6-4, 190-pounds, Cleveland, Ohio, (St. Ignatius), Marques Wilkins, WR, 6-0, 182-pounds, Decatur, Ill., (MacArthur), Carl Fisher, WR, 6-2, 200-pounds, Bolingbrook, Ill. and Lance Kendricks, WR, 6-4, 207-pounds, Milwaukee, Wis., (Rufus King) are all expected to be at the Notre Dame summer camp. Look for at least one of them to walk away with a scholarship offer from coach Weis.
Several other wide receivers are on the radar as well, but it is still early. Much like with offensive line recruiting, the wide receiver position will start to be formed at the summer camp. Who will it be? Maybe more than one wide receiver recruit will shine and receiver an official scholarship offer. We should know more after summer camp has concluded.
If Notre Dame's passing game continues to progress under the leadership of Weis, offensive coordinator Mike Haywood, wide receiver coach Rob Ianello and quarterback coach Peter Vaas, you can just about count on one of the national wide receiver recruits to ink with the Irish. Playing time is certainly available for a freshman in 2006.
SMITTY'S TAKE – Everything has gone well so far. Notre Dame has landed its top pro-style quarterback in Frazer, its top tailback in Aldridge, its top fullback in Schmidt, slot wide receiver Gallup, who could also play in the defensive secondary, a talented all-around tailback and kick returner with Prince, who is a game-breaker that Notre Dame sorely needs, and Prince's teammate, Mullen, who is the top tight end on Notre Dame's board.
Not a bad start
The offensive line should start to take shape after the camp as previously mentioned. It will take care of itself in time.
Landing a game breaker like West, Ausberry, Jackson or McDaniel is the final piece to the puzzle. How about two from that group? I am greedy.