The Mike Report

With Gary Gray's recent commitment, the Irish are currently sitting on nine verbal commitments and hoping to hear more good news on some other top prospects in the near future. Let's take a look at recruiting after two important visit weekends.

While recruiting looks to be in very good shape after two important visit weekends, the "hit" ratio for the Irish has to be very high this year as there just doesn't appear to be many players the Irish are recruiting heavily at this point.

We believe the Irish are looking for another full class of 25 commitments this 2007 season, thus meaning Notre Dame has 16 more commitments they'll be chasing from here on out. But as one will soon see, the Irish appear to only have 27 offers out there they're pursuing for those 16 slots.

Let's take a look at how that might shake out in the end.

Most Likely

These are the players I think Notre Dame is mostly likely to sign at this point. I think the Irish are the clear leader for all of these players at this point.

Arrelious Benn: Benn will visit Illinois this weekend. I think he'll make a decision shortly after. I'd be very surprised if he doesn't end up at Notre Dame.

Greg Little: Had a great visit and I believe the Irish are his leader. He'll likely take more visits, however.

Joseph Barksdale: Barksdale was very impressed with his visit. He'll also take a few visits and probably won't announce until the Army All-American game, but I feel ND is his clear leader.

Robert Hughes: Hughes also plans to take some visits before deciding, but I also believe Notre Dame is his top team.

Chris Little: Little loved his visit for the Penn State game. At this point the Irish look to be his leader, but the 6-foot-6, 320-pound tackle prospect has a number of southern suitors looking to change his mind. Can the Irish hold off the south?

Will Blackwell: Blackwell hasn't even visited Notre Dame at this point but I believe he'll love his October 21 visit for the UCLA game. We believe the Irish are the team to beat for his signature.

Lorenzo Edwards: Edwards was another Michigan game visitor and we've heard the visit was a big success. I'm still not certain Edwards has qualified for Notre Dame but we expect he will. If he does/has qualify/ied, I we expect the Irish to be tough to beat.

Good Shot

This next group I feel Notre Dame has a good shot at landing many of the players listed. They will have stiff competition from other schools, but the Irish are definitely in the hunt and near the top for all of these top prospects.

Armando Allen: The visit will be the deciding factor in my mind. Allen is a "Notre Dame kid" and should fit in well when he mingles with the current team. He's also interested in his education. The Irish have plenty of opportunity at running back at this point. We believe Florida will be the stiffest competition. He'll be in for Stanford game for his official visit.

Jahvid Best: Best is another top speed back that the Irish are actively recruiting. He's said to be taking a visit to Notre Dame and many think it will be a Cal/Notre Dame battle. We won't know how Best truly feels about Notre Dame until his visit. Look for him to visit the banquet weekend.

Emeka Nwankwo: Nwankwo visited for the Penn State and came away very impressed with the Irish. Notre Dame did all they could to impress Nwankwo and we felt the Irish might have a slight lead after his visit. Can the Irish hold off Florida?

Matt Romine: I think one could make an argument to put Romine in the "most likely" group but we never feel comfortable with taking an Oklahoma kid from Oklahoma. It doesn't happen often, but it could in Romine's case. He has visited Notre Dame numerous times. Will the Irish defeat Oklahoma in this heated battle? He'll officially visit for the UCLA game.

Matt Summers-Gavin: Another player we feel the Irish might lead for but USC looms large. If the Trojans offer the Irish could have their hands full. And we can't forget the visit. Summers-Gavin hasn't visited yet. We'll know more after he visits for the Purdue game on September 30.

Ryan Miller: This has been a two-team race for quite some time with the Irish battling the home school, Colorado. Colorado has struggled out of the gate but we're not sure that matter with Miller. Miller will visit for the UCLA game. The Irish will have to jump in the lead after that visit to have a shot in my opinion.

Ben Martin: Another two-team race most likely between the Irish and Ohio State. The "leader" seems to change weekly, which tells me that Martin isn't sure where he's headed at this point. We expect it to come down to where he feels most comfortable on his official visit. The Irish have many close to him in their corner, but it will be his decision. He also may be in for the Stanford game.

Harrison Smith: Another player who might be a better candidate for the "most likely" list. But I just don't like the fact that he hasn't visited Tennessee yet—his childhood favorite—and the Vols are playing pretty good ball. The longer this goes, the worse off for Notre Dame I believe.

Martez Wilson: Wilson doesn't appear to be leaning heavily one way or another at this point. I think his decision will come down to his official visits. He obviously likes the Irish quite a bit, but don't count out USC, Ohio State or Michigan in this race. You can count out Illinois in this race in my opinion. He'll visit USC for the ND/USC game, and will visit ND for the banquet followed by the Buckeyes on Dec. 8.

Chris Donald: I really used to think Notre Dame was in the lead here but now they're clearly not. However, another good visit to South Bend could push the Irish into first place again. Unfortunately, Notre Dame hasn't been able to schedule an official visit. That doesn't sound good to me.

Michael Williams: Before last Saturday, I would've placed Williams in the "most likely" category, but the Irish laid an egg and it probably opened his eyes a bit. The Irish will have a real battle with the Wolverines on this one. Williams is scheduled to visit for the Stanford game.

Malcolm Smith: The Irish opened Smith's eyes during his official visit, but will it be enough to overcome USC? I think the game between the two in November could have a real impact on this race. Penn State is also a player along with a few other Pac 10 schools. The Irish have a long ways to go on this one.

Long Shot

Joe McKnight: McKnight has said numerous times that he plans to visit South Bend but hasn't set that visit that we're aware of it as this time. The Irish are said to be trailing a couple of teams already, and I believe their only chance is to get a visit scheduled fairly soon. His visit won't come during the season as his coach won't let his players take visits during the season. We'll keep an eye on it.

Gerald Jones: Jones is another player who seemed very high on the Irish early, but nobody has been able to reach him in quite some time. Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are rumored to be the top two. The Irish have to get him on campus early to have a shot.

Bradley Stephens: The Irish continue to recruit Stephens and Stephens continues to say he's solid with Texas A&M. The real issue here is how well A&M plays this season. If the Aggies struggle, I wouldn't be surprised to see Stephens start looking around.

Everson Griffen: Notre Dame jumped in late on Griffen and I'm still not sure he's fully qualified for Notre Dame at this point. Regardless, Notre Dame jumped into the race. Griffen seemed somewhat disappointed that it took the Irish so long to get involved, but he does appear to like Notre Dame and plans to visit. USC and UCLA are also said to be getting visits with the Trojans out in front of this race. Griffen is another possible Stanford visitor. We've heard his team has a bye that week.

Ian Williams: Williams has already visited Notre Dame and left South Bend naming Florida as his leader—not a good sign. The Irish appear to be on the outside looking in unless Florida passes on Williams.

Major Wright: Wright took an unofficial visit to South Bend for the spring game. While he enjoyed the experience, he didn't seem overly thrilled with it. The Irish are hanging in there, but I think they have a long way to go with Major. They need to get a visit scheduled, but his coach won't allow his players to visit schools during the season, so expect something after the season.

Deonte Thompson: The Irish continue to recruit Thompson and he does seem interested. He says he plans to visit as well. While I think that is a good sign, until Thompson visits, I doubt they have much of a chance with him.

Trinton Sturdivant: Sturdivant visited South Bend last weekend for the Michigan game. While he said he was impressed, we didn't get that feeling. I doubt he ends up at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame seems to be in very good position with most of their top prospects for the 2007 recruiting season. If they get back on the winning track, that should go a long way in solidifying what looks to be another outstanding recruiting class.


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