Irish Stock Report: Defensive Tackle

The Irish are off to a great start with seven commitments for the 2007 recruiting class, but the success of this recruiting class may be based on the talent the Irish sign at the defensive tackle position.

With the depth at defensive tackle already precariously thin, it's no secret that the Irish must sign at least two quality defensive tackles that will be capable of playing early in their careers. In all likelihood Notre Dame will sign three players in the class that are capable of playing on the interior.

Thus far three of Notre Dame's top defensive tackle prospect have committed elsewhere; Andre Jones opted for the Texas Longhorns. Chris Perry of Keller, Texas pledge to the Miami Hurricanes, and just yesterday Michael Reardon told Pete Carroll that he would be playing his college ball for the Trojans.

Justin Trattou recently committed to the Irish and he looks like he has the ability to play inside, but it's unclear at this point if he will start his career at defensive end, or move to the interior. Trattou says the Irish are recruiting him at defensive end, and we believe that's where he'll get the first look.

Marvin Austin (6-foot-3, 299-pounds): Scout.com's No.1 overall recruit and No.1 defensive tackle. Everyone in the country has offered Austin. Early in the recruiting process Austin was enamored with the Irish and commented that the Irish would be in the race to the end. The good news is that the Irish made his final 10 schools. The question is whether they will make his final five and receive one of his official visits. Miami, USC, and Florida State will likely get one, and they can offer Austin what he wants socially in college. Right now I don't like what I'm hearing from him or behind the scenes. Stock: Sell

Joseph Barksdale (6-foot-4, 315-pounds): Scout.com has him list as the No.16 offensive lineman in the country. The Irish are recruiting Barksdale as a defensive tackle and he was one of the first players the Irish offered at the position. Barksdale has as many scholarship offers as Austin, but he has yet to officially narrow his choices down. There is no doubt the Joseph likes Charlie Weis and the long-term benefits that go with a Notre Dame degree, but like Austin, he may look for a larger campus that offers more variety socially. Six months ago Barksdale wasn't even considering the Irish. I think Notre Dame will make his final five schools and they also have a good chance go up against Ohio State for his signature. But like Austin, I think the Irish fall short. Stock: Sell

D'Angelo McCray (6-foot-5, 280-pounds): Scout.com's No.3 ranked defensive tackle. McCray committed to Florida back in April, and recently said he was going to take time to look at USC and Notre Dame. Although I'd like to believe he's looking around, and that he will give Notre Dame strong consideration, my guess is that he's stepping away from the Gators so that he can recruit for them without being seen as a commitment to the Gators. He's a great prospect, and I'd love to see him in South Bend, but I think D'Angelo stays in Florida. Stock: Sell

Will Blackwell (6-foot-4, 290-pounds): Scout.com's No.13 ranked defensive tackle. Blackwell was a Notre Dame fan growing up, but the Irish are the only school outside the South that he's considering. That mix generally doesn't work out for the Irish. LSU, Auburn and Tennessee have been on him for a long time, and he certainly likes the style of football played in the SEC. Notre Dame has to get him on campus. The good news is that Will is not only planning one trip to South Bend, but he'd like to take two before he makes his decision. I think it will only take one visit during the season to get his attention. He's an independent kid and he's a great student. Stock: Buy


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