January used to be a fun month to follow Notre Dame football recruiting. Those days are gone—at least this year. Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis and his assistant coaching staff has scoured the country and landed 19 verbal commitments to date. With the big recruiting weekend set for Oct. 15, when the Irish host the USC Trojans, it is a good bet that a few more dominoes will fall. Then there will be a few more official visitors for the remaining home games, plus the banquet…
Without further adieu, here is the breakdown of what is going on with recruiting right now.
The Big WeekendWith many of the committed recruits either coming unofficially or officially for the Southern California game, it should help with the recruitment of the uncommitted recruits as well. George West, Darrin Walls and Raeshon McNeil will all be taking their official visits to Notre Dame during the Oct. 15 weekend.
It is my own personal opinion that Richard Jackson will select Notre Dame during or shortly there after the Oct. 15 weekend. As the saying goes within the recruiting business, he's ready to pop. Regardless, look for Jackson to sign with Notre Dame when all is said and done.
The wild cards are Laron Moore and Terrence Austin. Will either one of them select Notre Dame? Would Notre Dame take both? Would Notre Dame take both and Richard Jackson? Only time will tell.
Matt Carufel is another recruit that Notre Dame appears to be in great shape for. The question remains will he end his recruitment by selecting Notre Dame without taking other official visits? He has publicly stated that he will not do that, but many recruits have said the same from previous years only to pull the trigger at the moment of truth. Do not be surprised if Carufel makes his decision after taking his official visit to Notre Dame. It is not out of the question by any means.
Lawrence Marsh is set to go for the Southern California game as well. He is an intriguing recruit simply because he could end up playing so many different positions.
Every team needs talented interior defensive linemen. Notre Dame will have its shot to land two of the nation's best defensive tackles when Butch Lewis and Gerald McCoy arrive at Notre Dame next weekend. Notre Dame would love to land both recruits, but the competition always has been and remains stiff. McCoy's short list includes Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Miami, Southern California and Tennessee. Lewis has a similar list, but look for Georgia and/or Miami to be a finalist with Notre Dame.
Jacques McClendon is technically committed to Tennessee. He still plans to take his five allotted official visits before making a final decision. Auburn and Notre Dame appear to be the best bets to snag McClendon away from the Volunteers. McClendon goes to a boarding school in Tennessee. He takes academics serious. Notre Dame has a real shot with McClendon.
For Lewis it is down to Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. Look for the Aggies to be the biggest competition for the Irish.
Smith has a bigger list, and a much more national flavor to his list as well. UCLA and Washington are being considered for his last official visit. Smith has already been to Oklahoma for an official visit, and along with Notre Dame he will also trek to Florida and Michigan. Florida is considered to be the biggest threat from the official visit list, but he is also considering Louisiana State and Georgia, where his father played, as well. Do not count out the Bulldogs.
Who's Next?This is never an easy question to answer. The answer could come from the Oct. 15 weekend, or perhaps another recruit such as Will Yeatman, who took his official visit to Notre Dame for the Michigan State weekend. Tough call, but regardless, look for more than a few recruits to pledge to Notre Dame during the course of the next three to four weeks.
Down the Road
If someone would have told me that Notre Dame would be in good shape to land Konrad Reuland in early October back this summer I would have said that person was crazy. He looked like a good bet to end up at Southern California or UCLA. As it turns out, Notre Dame does have a legitimate shot to land Reuland. He could end up visiting during the Navy weekend. Stanford and Southern California are considered to be the biggest competitors.
While much has been said of Notre Dame's involvement with Sam Young, and for good reason, teammate Daniel Wenger is also a recruit that Notre Dame would love to land. Wenger might end up taking his official visit to Notre Dame for the Tennessee weekend this upcoming Nov. 5. Florida, Oklahoma, Duke and Louisiana State are a few teams Wenger likes in addition to Notre Dame.
How Long Will They Wait?
There are always a handful of recruits that will receive a little extra time to make their decisions. Why? Because certain recruits are simply too good to let go. While it is impossible to say exactly how many scholarships Notre Dame will have remaining come early January, expect coach Weis to hold scholarships for a few elite recruits.