Irish Stock Report: Running Backs

The Irish are off to a great start with seven commitments for the 2007 recruiting class, but with the May evaluation period in the rear-view mirror, it's time to evaluate where Notre Dame stands with their primary targets at the running back position.

Notre Dame will likely take two running backs in this recruiting class. Most project the Irish to take one large running back that is capable of carrying the ball 30-plus carries per game. The other back will likely be a multi-purpose running back that has great hands and superior quickness.

Marc Tyler (6-foot, 205 pounds): Scout.com's No. 2 running back. Most Notre Dame fans, including myself didn't expect Tyler to make a decision this early, but he will do just that as he will annonce his college destination next week. The timing is the most surprising aspect of his recruitment. The fact that he'll decide between USC and Notre Dame was something most of recruiting fans saw coming in January. There is no doubt that Tyler was Notre Dame's No.1 choice at running back from day one. USC already has a commitment from Scout.com No. 5 rated running back Broderick Green. Notre Dame has Tyler's teammate and roommate Jimmy Clausen. USC has location. Stock: Sell

Armando Allen (5-foot-10, 195 pounds): Early on people thought he was a lock for the Miami Hurricanes because they are the local team. I never got that impression from Scout.com's No. 10 ranked running back. Florida is going to be a major player for this special back, but they have a number of young backs and they have a commitment from Chris Rainey, who could also fill a similar backfield role. Georgia and USC will likely be the mix throughout. Allen isn't going to rush into a decision and he will do his homework. Depth and playing time is important to him. Notre Dame is hanging around and can offer Allen what he wants. Stock: Buy

Gerald Jones (5-foot-11, 185 pounds): Scout.com's No. 19 rated running back. Jones is a dynamic player that could fit the role of a multi-purpose back, or he could fill a role at wide receiver or even in the defensive backfield. He has big offers from across the country, but his name doesn't come up that often during discussions about playmakers. He will likely leave the state of Oklahoma so that obstacle is something the Irish won't have to overcome. He will likely take an unofficial visit to Notre Dame this summer with his mom and his coach. Based on my conversations with him and his appearance on Power Hour, I'm going to recommend that people get in on this now. Stock: Buy

Joe McKnight (6-foot, 190 pounds): Scout.com's No. 6 ranked running back. I've never spoken with Joe, but I hear he is a fantastic kid. I've seen his tape and I think he's one of the best running backs in the country. He could play on either side of the ball. The Irish were recruiting him as a safety early on, but it looks like they have changed their thinking as they are now looking at him as a running back. Someone is going to get a fantastic player when this kid signs. I just think it will be someplace other than Notre Dame. Stock: Sell

Bradley Stephens (5-foot-11, 198 pounds) The Irish have always liked Scout.com's No. 23 ranked running back, but he might not have the ideal size that Notre Dame is looking for in their big running back, and that may have been the reason they were slow to offer. He has the scholarship offer now, but he was an early commitment to Texas A&M and I think he will remain an Aggie unless something changes… like a head coach down in College Station. Their schedule isn't difficult with their non-conference games against Army, The Citadel, Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana Tech. Add in Baylor, Kansas, and Oklahoma State and Stephens future may depend on the patience of Aggie fans. Stock: Hold

Golden Tate (6-foot, 180 pounds): Scout.com's No. 14 ranked wide reciever's. What's not to like about this standout from Tennessee? He doesn't have the scholarship offers that the other running backs have, but he makes a lot of plays with the ball in his hands. Notre Dame hasn't offered, despite the cries of their fans, but the Irish remain lodged among his favorite schools. Tate is a player that can help a team in any phase of the game. He doesn't have an offer currently, but I'm going to recommend this player. Stock: Buy

Robert Hughes (5-foot-11, 230 pounds): Here is your big back. Scout.com's No. 17 running back isn't overly fast, but he is a powerful runner with agility. He punishes defenders and eats up yardage. He's from Notre Dame's backyard and he's a great kid. Before football became a year-round sport, Hughes used to ride bulls and break horses in the youth rodeo. That's my type of guy. Michigan tabbed him as their No. 1 running back early. Ohio State, Penn State and a host of other schools quickly offered Robert. If Tyler selects USC as expected, I'm guessing the Mr. Hughes will get an offer. Michigan has Kevin Grady. Ohio State has Chris Wells. Stock: Buy


IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories