The 2006 season provided ample evidence that the Irish lacked enough players at the defensive end position to be a solid defense. There were a few strong moments, but far too often the Irish ends failed to make plays and often were exploited by the opposition.
Help is one the way. With the addition of Justin Trattou and Kerry Neal in the 2007 recruiting class, the Irish have two players that have tremendous potential. Still the Irish would like to add one more prospect at defensive end to ensure they have quality depth in the coming years.
Richetti Jones (6-foot-3, 225-pounds): Scout.com's No.4 ranked defensive end prospect. Jones is an outstanding player that is very similar to Kerry Neal in that he could also play linebacker. He'd prefer to play defensive end and that is where Notre Dame likes him. Every time I have spoken with Richetti he has always said that he is interested in the Irish. In a recent article by James Hale of Sooner Illustrated, Jones listed his top-five as Texas, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. That's the good news. The bad news is that the Irish are the only school outside of the Big XII. Many think his announcement for the Texas Longhorns is all but a formality… I agree. Stock: Sell
Rae Sykes (6-foot-4, 240-pounds): Scout.com's No.22 ranked defensive end prospect. Sykes is another highly touted prospect from Tennessee that the Irish are recruiting. His coach is from Fort Wayne, Ind. and he'd like Rae to take a look at the Irish. Notre Dame is recruiting him, but he might need to do some work in the classroom before his scholarship offer is legit. He recently named the Irish in his top-five along with LSU, Florida State, Tennessee, and Georgia. One of Rae's best friends, Brandon Warren, signed with Florida State in February and LSU has made a strong impression on Sykes. Seeing Notre Dame included in his top-five says a tremendous amount about where Notre Dame is with recruiting. Stock: Sell
Ben Martin (6-foot-6, 225-pounds): Scout.com's No.8 ranked defensive end prospect and likely the top prospect in the talent-rich state of Ohio. Martin is an important recruit for several reasons. His talent and potential is obviously the most important reason. Secondary to that would have to be the message it would send that Notre Dame is capable of going into Ohio and signing their elite players. Martin has plenty of options, but most people believe this is already down to Notre and Ohio State. He likes both programs a tremendous amount and he is truly torn about what he'd like to do. Lately we've been hearing that the Irish have edged into the lead. Martin will likely fill the last slot the Notre Dame coaches have at defensive end. Stock: Buy