Numbers Crunch

The chatter around the Notre Dame football world goes beyond what is happening on the gridiron. Head coach Charlie Weis has several options to help fill out his first true recruiting class. The question is which recruits will make the jump before being left behind? The race to join the Irish should be an interesting finish to say the least.

So here we are. It's mid-October, not mid-January mind you, and Notre Dame sits on the verge of completing its recruiting class. Scary, is it not?

From all indications Matt Carufel will be Irish come Feb. 1. Assuming those indications are indeed correct, he would be No. 20 for this recruiting class. So how many does Notre Dame have left to offer? Wouldn't we all like to know.

It simply depends upon which recruits sign with Notre Dame. A handful of recruits are reportedly looking to enroll at the school of their choice this January, but due to NCAA rules prohibiting coaches from commenting about recruit until after they have signed, and the recruits themselves being mum about the subject, nobody truly knows how many Notre Dame might sign in December and bring in this January. To date Notre Dame commitment James Aldridge is the only recruit that has publicly admitted he plans to enroll early at Notre Dame.

So the best way to gauge which recruits will end up at Notre Dame comes from a couple of different angles. First, common sense comes into play. What are the chances that coach Weis does not hold scholarships for players such as Gerald McCoy or Sam Young? The same goes for someone like Butch Lewis. Notre Dame has a huge need for linemen on both sides of the football and all three of the aforementioned recruits have national appeal.

Nobody truly knows how coach Weis has the remaining recruits ranked, but one thing is for sure: those who wait to make their college choice, outside of a select few, run the risk of being left out of this Notre Dame recruiting class.

Going by position, it would be great to land one more, and perhaps two, wide receivers. But there are three sitting on the fence at the moment: Richard Jackson, Laron Moore and Terrence Austin. Moore has yet to set a decision time frame, Jackson wants to visit Miami first before making a selection, and that may not take place until December. Finally, Austin will take official visits into the month of January based upon recent comments.

This makes wide receiver recruiting from here until National Signing Day extremely difficult to read. Simply put, there may not be any scholarships left by the time any of these three recruits want to make a formal decision.

Two tight end recruits are left on the board, Konrad Reuland and Will Yeatman. Reuland will reportedly be making his official visit to Notre Dame for the Navy game. While Southern California and Stanford still loom as the main competition, Notre Dame has an excellent shot to land the Mission Viejo standout. The Notre Dame coaching staff should have enough of a feel for what Reuland will ultimately do after he completes his official visit to Notre Dame to know whether to move on or hold a scholarship for him.

Yeatman is a special case because if he chooses Notre Dame he would start out on a lacrosse scholarship. He would not count against the 85-scholarship limit for an entire roster during his freshman year, nor the 25-man limit for this recruiting class. Yeatman plans to switch over to a football scholarship during his sophomore season at Notre Dame if he indeed does select Notre Dame. As of late last month it appeared that Yeatman would end up at Maryland, North Carolina or Notre Dame.

Along the offensive line there are many dominoes that still must fall. Sam Young is the headliner, but Chris Stewart, Jim Barrie, Lou Eliades, Daniel Wenger and Daron Rose all have Notre Dame offers as well.

Stewart could be the next domino to fall, but it is truly hard to say. Eliades is the unknown since his official visit had to be cancelled this past weekend due to the rainfall New Jersey was engulfed with the past week, forcing his Friday game to be moved to Saturday. Wenger is set to visit Notre Dame along with Young for the Tennessee game, and Rose will reportedly do the same. Barrie appears to be the biggest long shot of the group with Florida State and Michigan as the most likely destinations for him. It's hard to say which offensive linemen will eventually select Notre Dame, but once again, using common sense, one would think that at least one of these young men will pull the trigger during or soon after the Tennessee weekend is complete. Offensive line recruiting should all but be complete by the time mid-November rolls around.

Defensive tackle is a unique situation. When was the last time Notre Dame had an excellent shot at three highly regarded defensive tackles during one recruiting campaign? McCoy, Lewis and Lawrence Marsh are all talented recruits. The question becomes, once again, how long does coach Weis wait for decisions from the likes of McCoy and Young among others before truly going after someone else? Unfortunately McCoy appears to be the most likely to wait amongst the group, tying up matters even further.

Then of course there is Jason Kates as another possible defensive tackle recruit. We're still not sure what his interest is right now with regards to Notre Dame.

Three linebackers are still considering Notre Dame: Toryan Smith, Morrice Richardson and Anthony Lewis. It looks really good for Smith, and he could pull the trigger at any time based upon my conversation with him Monday night. Still, one never truly knows how long a recruit will wait to make a formal decision. It looks like Richardson is a good bet for Notre Dame as well, but Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech are also possibilities. He wants to decide within the next few weeks so the likelihood of him signing with Notre Dame goes up. Lewis is the most difficult to read. He is a bit guarded when being interviewed, although Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M are certainly the competition for Notre Dame. He would seem to be the least likely of the group to sign with Notre Dame at the moment.

It is hard to say which recruits will eventually sign with Notre Dame, but there is little doubt that this recruiting class will be filled out rather quickly. Recruits that wait beyond early November are truly playing a game of Russian Roulette with their Notre Dame scholarship offer.


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