As I've said on Power Hour recently, I believe head coach Charlie Weis had a plan for this month of May. Weis traveled in what seems like every section of the country letting Notre Dame's top prospects know they were wanted, but I also think Weis went on a fact-finding mission as well. I believe Weis, in his signature style, was very matter-of-fact with a lot of these top high school prospects and high school coaches. The question: "Do we have a chance?"
The answers he received to that question will likely dictate what happens next.
It's a smart game plan in my opinion. Why waste time trying to convince a player to attend Notre Dame when he really has very little interest in playing football in South Bend?
Yes, Weis and his staff shouldn't shy away from stiff competition, as signing all the top players will likely come with some heated battles, but as Irish fans have known, not all players will fit in at Notre Dame.
In my estimation, the Irish had offered a little over 40 prospects before the May evaluation period. Some have already chosen other schools, bringing the number of potential prospects under 40, and I believe you'll see more players offered in the next few weeks.
Notre Dame currently has five known verbal commitments and many expect defensive end Justin Trattou to be No. 6 in early June. If Trattou does indeed choose the Irish, his pledge would leave 19 more scholarships open for the 2007 recruiting season.
Which positions will we likely see some new offers? Here are my thoughts:
While Notre Dame does have a good number of offers already on the table, some players holding official scholarship offers will be difficult for Notre Dame to land.
When you look at positions, and how Notre Dame is shaping up at each position, I think the cornerback position will certainly see some new names added to the offer board.
With Johnson, Allen and Berry considered long shots, and Michael Williams seemingly being the only good bet at this point, I'd expect to see at least one and probably two or three prospects to land offers in the near future.
We've already added a new name at running back recently when Notre Dame offered Bradley Stephens over the weekend. Stephens, who is already committed to Texas A&M, seems to be somewhat solid in his commitment. Will that last?
Why would Notre Dame offer a player that is committed to another school, who they believe is solid in his commitment? It doesn't add up….but they did offer as Irish Eyes has reported.
With Tyler looking less likely, we certainly see a need for another running back offer. Remember, Brandon Saine, another Irish offer, has already accepted a scholarship offer from Ohio State. I wouldn't be surprised to see another name added to the offer list at running back in the near future.
Defensive tackle is another position where you could see another offer or two being sent in the near future. As I mentioned before, I believe Austin will be difficult to lure to South Bend, but I do believe Notre Dame has a solid shot at both Joseph Barksdale and Will Blackwell. But this is a position Notre Dame cannot afford to gamble, and I expect Notre Dame to likely offer at least one more player in the near future at this critical position, probably two.
What about linebacker? Here it gets confusing.
Notre Dame already has Aaron Nagel committed. Kerry Neal could end up at linebacker as well. We believe Notre Dame will pursue at least three linebackers in this class. Harrison Smith recently received an offer.
But here is where it gets complicated. Notre Dame is actively pursing USC commitment, Chris Galippo. Like Gerald McCoy last year, you have to hold out for Galippo, he's too good to pass up. What will that mean to the linebacker situation? I'm not sure. Players like Lorenzo Edwards could ultimately grow into a linebacker. Is Martez Wilson an outside linebacker or a pass rushing defensive end? The Irish coaching staff will have to figure out exactly where they think some of the athletes will eventually line up in college and offer accordingly.
I do expect to see at least one if not two more linebackers to receive offers in the near future. That number could even grow to three depending on how they feel with the current group of linebackers they have offered already.
While the Irish appear to be doing well with a number of offensive line prospects, I also expect a few more offers to surface at this position as well. I believe Notre Dame has a good shot to land Matt Romine, Lee Ziemba and Ryan Miller. They also have a fair shot to land James Wilson and Chris Little. But after those five, there aren't a lot of names, and batting 1.000 is hard for any coaching staff, including this one. I expect Notre Dame to take five offensive linemen in this class, so I expect you'll see at least two more offers coming out in the next month or so, probably three.
The Irish appear to be in good shape at defensive end, although another offer could surface there as well. Many expect Trattou to choose the Irish, and they already have Kerry Neal at defensive end. Ben Martin is the other big name on the radar, and if Trattou chooses Notre Dame, I wouldn't be surprised to see Notre Dame wait to offer another defensive end until they have a better idea of where Martin will attend school.
Notre Dame is finished at quarterback. I don't believe you'll see more wide receivers offered in the near future, but it is possible. It's possible a tight end could also get offered, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Notre Dame wait at that position as well.
We'll likely see some fireworks in the next few weeks in regards to Notre Dame recruiting. I think you'll see a fair amount of new offers heading out the door, and some new names will surface to keep an eye on. We'll be here covering it as always.