Recruiting Fast Forward

Several of the top Notre Dame recruiting targets could make their decisions over the course of the next six weeks. Look for the Irish commitment total to rise into the low teens before September 1. With recruiting going so well, the big question to look forward to is which recruits will commit to Notre Dame before no more scholarships are available at their positions?

There is nothing left to discuss about Jason Kates, DT, 6-2, 290-pounds, Harrisburg, Pa., (Bishop McDevitt) or Raeshon McNeil, CB, 6-0, 175-pounds, Mocksville, N.C., (Davie County). Both players have taken unofficial visits to their top choices and want to decide early. Look for both to pledge to Notre Dame. I believe it's simply a matter of when.

Next in line after Kates and McNeil could be Steve Brown, SS, 6-1, 205-pounds, Columbus, Ind., (East). Brown is down to Notre Dame and Michigan and plans to announce his decision before the start of his high school football season. Do not be surprised if Brown pulls the trigger before the end of the month. It's a close race between Notre Dame and Michigan, but Notre Dame appears to have the edge right now.

Several unofficial visitors will stop by Notre Dame this month and next. A few of the more prominent names that are expected to visit are Kai Forbath, K, 6-0, 175-pounds, Sherman Oaks, Calif., (Notre Dame), Konrad Reuland, TE, 6-6, 240-pounds, Mission Viejo, Calif., Taylor Mays, FS, 6-3, 220-pounds, Seattle, Wash., (Bishop O'Dea) and Daron Rose, OL, 6-5, 310-pounds, Tampa, Fla., (Jefferson).

Whenever a recruit from California visits Notre Dame there is one rule to pay particular attention to after he leaves: does he list Notre Dame as his leader or at least his co-favorite after returning home? If Notre Dame does not sit in either position, consider this a bad sign. By the time California natives Forbath and Reuland return home Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis will likely know where he stands with both recruits.

Forbath could make his decision soon after he returns to California, while Reuland is expected take official visits before making his college choice. The question with Forbath is: will Southern California offer him within the near future? Many feel that Reuland will end up playing for the Trojans or Bruins when all is said and done.

Mays is difficult to predict. Southern California has been considered the front-runner for the vast majority of his recruitment, but both Michigan and Notre Dame will have their own opportunities to make a positive impression with him late this month when he makes his Midwest trek to Ann Arbor and South Bend.

Rose is probably the furthest away from making his decision from the group. His unofficial visit to Notre Dame is probably more of a fact-finding mission than anything else. Then again, anything is possible when a recruit takes an unofficial visit to any school. Florida State, Southern California, Michigan and Florida are amongst a large list of schools trying to land the Florida native. Look for Rose to make his decision in January or national signing day after taking his official visits.

There are also a handful of other recruits who have mentioned "possibly" taking an unofficial visit to Notre Dame this summer, but no definite plans have been made public. Two Texas products that are possibilities to take an unofficial visit are Chris Stewart, OL, 6-5, 330-pounds, Klein and Anthony Lewis, LB, 6-3, 220-pounds, Haltom City, (Haltom).

Stewart has Notre Dame placed upon his short list, while Lewis is not as far along with his recruitment and has yet to narrow down his list of schools.

Look for other high profile recruits to visit Notre Dame during July or August, probably to witness a Notre Dame practice first-hand. You can bet that a ton of unofficial visitors will take in the first Notre Dame home game under coach Weis when Michigan State comes calling this upcoming Sep. 17 as well.

Recruiting is an adventure and one should always expect the unexpected. Anything can and probably will happen, but look for Notre Dame to have the possibility to land at least three more commitments this summer, if not more.

Looking way down the road, say early December when Notre Dame holds its annual football banquet (Dec. 2), Notre Dame will probably be standing with at least 14 or 15 commitments. Recruiting is likely to turn into a situation where coach Weis will have only so many scholarships left to offer (Notre Dame can take 26 with James Aldridge enrolling this next January). Yet, at the same time, Notre Dame is currently chasing several recruits who are expected to make late decisions such as Sam Young, OT, 6-7, 280-pounds, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., (St. Thomas Aquinas), Gerald McCoy, DT, 6-4, 290-pounds, Oklahoma City, Okla., (Southeast), Butch Lewis, DT, 6-6, 280-pounds, Aurora, Col, (Regis Jesuit), Matt Carufel, OL, 6-5, 280-pounds, St. Paul, Minn., (Cretin-Derham), Lawrence Marsh, DL, 6-5, 260-pounds, Augusta, Ga., (Josey) and the aforementioned Rose just to name a few. Coach Weis is going to find a scholarship for recruits such as these under almost any circumstance.

Regardless, a recruit runs the risk of being left out if he waits too long. It is inevitable that scholarships are going to run out at some positions before others, it is just trying to project which positions those will be, and when? It is a balancing act with trying to land the desired number of recruits at each given position. That means coach Weis could be done with on particular position much earlier than another. Commitments could come in bunches at one position; you never know until it happens.

Would Notre Dame accept more than five offensive linemen? Will the Irish have room for a fifth defensive lineman, if there is only three offensive linemen committed, and only two weeks remaining before national signing day with several top-notch offensive line recruits still available? What if a recruit such as Anthony Lewis wants to join the fold, but coach Weis has already taken his ideal number of linebacker recruits? It's shaping up to be a great year to follow Notre Dame.


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