Smitty's Short List

Notre Dame is one third of the way home for this year's recruiting class. Here is a look at the remaining names of the recruits that I personally think are the most important to the Notre Dame football program.

There are a handful of recruits each year that define a recruiting class. Signing one recruit, no matter how talented will not transcend a recruiting class into greatness. It takes balanced effort across the board at each position to truly have a great recruiting class.

With high profile recruits such as Munir Prince, James Aldridge and Zach Frazer among others already in the fold, this list is much shorter than what it would have been during any other recruiting campaign at Notre Dame – ever.

Only uncommitted recruits are being profiled for this list. Many of the current commitments would have been included otherwise. The main criteria for making the list is being an impact player. Every recruit listed below is one that I feel could compete for a starting spot no later than his sophomore season if he chooses Notre Dame.

Matt Carufel, OL, 6-5, 280-pounds, St. Paul, Minn., (Cretin-Derham) – Notre Dame needs offensive linemen badly. With Cretin-Derham being such a feeder school to the Notre Dame football program recently and Carufel being one of the nation's premiere offensive linemen he is a must for the Irish. Carufel is a top-notch student which makes him even more attractive to Notre Dame. Look for his decision to come down to Iowa or Notre Dame when all is said and done.

Chris Stewart, OL, 6-5, 360-pounds, Klein, Texas – Stewart was a Notre Dame fan growing up. Combining that factor in with his academic profile and behemoth frame, and Stewart is a huge priority for Notre Dame. Given Notre Dame's lack of depth, he would be putting that talent to use rather quickly in South Bend. Louisiana State, Notre Dame and Texas A&M are the best bets for Stewart at this time.

Sam Young, OT, 6-8, 280-pounds, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., (St. Thomas Aquinas) – Everyone knows about Young and his physical talents. He had a good unofficial visit to Notre Dame in mid June and the Irish are certainly in the thick of the race. Young is one of those rare talents that could start as a true freshman at major program. Look for Miami, Michigan and Notre Dame to make his final cut before selecting a school.

Daron Rose, OL, 6-5, 310-pounds, Tampa, Fla., (Jefferson) – Rose could line up at either guard or tackle once he reaches college. His athleticism for a big man is really good and he is a good kid to boot. Florida State, Florida, Southern California, Michigan, Notre Dame and South Florida are all possible destinations, but watch out for Florida and Florida State. Notre Dame will need a knockout official visit to land Rose.

Bartley Webb, OT, 6-7, 290-pounds, Springdale, Ark. – Webb has taken two unofficial visit to Notre Dame, and also participated in the one-day summer camp on June 25. He obviously has a strong interest in the Irish. The question is will he feel as comfortable at Notre Dame as he would at Arkansas or Texas? Webb has stated several times that the school he feels most comfortable with is where he will go. The Razorbacks and Longhorns are considered to be the best bets at this time. Notre Dame and Michigan are next in line.

Lance Kendricks, WR, 6-3, 207-pounds, Milwaukee, Wis., (Rufus King) – After watching Kendricks run the forty and test in the 20-yard shuttle and vertical leap there is no question that he is a kid who can help Notre Dame at wide receiver. He's a natural athlete so playing early is a strong possibility. Look for Wisconsin to be the main competition for the Irish.

David Ausberry, WR, 6-4, 213-pounds, Lemoore, Calif. – Ausberry might be considered the biggest long shot for the Irish on this entire list, but the opportunity to compete for a starting position at a program such as Notre Dame should land Notre Dame at least an official visit. Ausberry is certainly one of the nation's top wide receiver recruits and will be a mismatch for smaller cornerbacks even at the college level. Southern California is considered to be the team to beat.

George West, WR, 5-9, 175-pounds, Oklahoma City, Okla., (Northeast Academy) – West is an all-purpose performer that could Notre Dame in several ways. He is adept at making people miss in traffic and could play early as a slot wide receiver or as a punt returner. Texas Tech is considered to be Notre Dame's main competition, but watch out for Oklahoma and Oklahoma State if they offer.

Richard Jackson, WR, 6-3, 200-pounds, Clermont, Fla., (East Ridge) – Jackson is a highlight film making one spectacular catch after another in traffic. He's not a pure burner, but makes big plays due to his size and athleticism. His parents would prefer he stay close to home for college, but Notre Dame was one of his favorite schools growing up along with Florida State. Miami, Notre Dame and Florida State are the front runners.

Terrence Austin, WR, 5-11, 170-pounds, Long Beach, Calif., (Poly) – Notre Dame will have to battle UCLA and Oregon among others for Austin, but he is certainly worth the time and effort. Austin is the prototypical slot wide receiver and could probably help out as a return man as well. If Austin takes an official visit to South Bend, look out.

Robert Williams, CB, 5-10, 165-pounds, Cincinnati, Ohio, (Withrow) – Williams is a pure cover cornerback and is also adept at returning punts. Williams favors Ohio State and Notre Dame in that order, but Ohio State just received a commitment from cornerback Kurt Coleman so the Buckeyes may not offer. Notre Dame is simply waiting for Williams to raise his GPA before extending a scholarship offer. Williams would be a great addition to the Notre Dame football program.

Darrin Walls, CB, 6-1, 175-pounds, Pittsburgh, Pa., (Woodland Hills) – Walls is the top cornerback in the country, period. I honestly think he would start from day one at Notre Dame. Notre Dame has young talent at cornerback, but nothing like Walls. Walls could play several positions in college but cornerback is where his future lies. Pittsburgh is trying to make a push, but look for Notre Dame and Michigan to be his two finalists.

Raeshon McNeil, CB, 6-0, 175-pounds, Mocksville, N.C., (Davie County) – Notre Dame is considered to be the front runner for McNeil's signature heading into his last unofficial visit to Virginia Tech in early July. McNeil will likely decide between Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and Virginia and decide before the football season begins.

Devin Ross, CB, 5-11, 185-pounds, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. – Ross has yet to pass Notre Dame admissions but would certainly be a welcome addition to the Notre Dame program. UCLA, Oklahoma and Nebraska are three schools to watch with the Southern California native.

Asher Allen, CB, 5-10, 187-pounds, Tucker, Ga. – Allen is a long shot for Notre Dame but his physical talents cannot be ignored. Notre Dame is trying to set him up for an unofficial visit this summer, but that is up in the air. Look for Allen to stay down South for college.

Taylor Mays, FS, 6-3, 220-pounds, Seattle, Wash., (Bishop O'Dea) – Southern California and Michigan are considered to be the best bets for the talented prep star from Seattle, but he is slated to take an unofficial visit to Notre Dame this summer. While Mays could play on either side of the football in college, he prefers defense.

Steve Brown, SS, 6-1, 205-pounds, Columbus, Ind., (East) – Brown is one of the top athletes in the country this year. It's simply a matter of what position he will play in college. Notre Dame is recruiting Brown as a strong safety. Michigan is considered to be the strong favorite, but Notre Dame and Purdue will receive unofficial visits this summer, with Notre Dame scheduled to host Brown in late June.

Sergio Brown, S/CB, 6-1, 190-pounds, Proviso, Ill., (East) – Brown comes from a school well known for its basketball exploits, but he is making a name for himself on the gridiron. Wisconsin, UCLA, Purdue and Iowa are just a few of the schools that sent Brown an offer after an impressive performance at the Ann Arbor Nike Camp. Brown will be attending the Notre Dame summer camp for one day on June 28. Notre Dame is a good bet for Brown if he shows his talents at the camp and receives an offer from head coach Charlie Weis.

Toryan Smith, LB, 6-1, 230-pounds, Rome, Ga. – Smith is a young man that could step in and play from day one much like Walls at cornerback for the Irish. Notre Dame likes him at either MIKE or WILL linebacker, but most people consider Smith to be best suited to play in the middle once he reaches college. Notre Dame, Florida, Oklahoma, Michigan and Nebraska are the schools that Smith said he will likely take official visits too. Do not be surprised if it comes down to Florida, Notre Dame and Oklahoma for Smith's services.

Lawrence Marsh, DL, 6-5, 260-pounds, Augusta, Ga., (Josey) – Marsh is intriguing because he is still growing and could end up being a monster defensive tackle or offensive lineman, although he would like shot at defensive end. Notre Dame, North Carolina, Florida and Georgia are the most likely candidates to receive official visits.

Butch Lewis, DT, 6-6, 280-pounds Aurora, Col., (Regis Jesuit) – Many consider Lewis to be an elite offensive tackle recruit, but he would prefer to play defense in college. And that is where Notre Dame is recruiting Lewis to play – defensive line. Schools from coast to coast are recruiting Lewis but Notre Dame and Georgia probably have the best shot at landing him as of right now.

Jared Odrick, DT, 6-6, 300-pounds, Lebanon, Pa. – You cannot teach size, and Odrick has plenty of that to go along with excellent athleticism for young man that weighs 300 pounds. He could play defensive tackle or offensive tackle in college but prefers defense. Odrick has yet to narrow his list of schools but it appears that Notre Dame has some ground to make up to have a shot at Odrick.

Gerald McCoy, DT, 6-4, 305-pounds, Oklahoma City, Okla., (Southeast) – McCoy is the cream of the crop at defensive tackle. His athletic ability for an interior defensive lineman is astounding. Notre Dame is ardently pursuing McCoy, but most feel he will end up signing with Oklahoma. McCoy is a special talent.

Jason Kates, DT, 6-3, 290-pounds, Harrisburg, Pa., (Bishop McDevitt) – Kates could be the anchor in the middle of the defense or a massive offensive guard in college. Notre Dame and Penn State are the best bets for the talented Pennsylvania native, and he will likely decide before the summer is out. Kates took an unofficial visit to Notre Dame this past Wednesday through Friday.


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