Recruiting Stock Report: Offense

Notre Dame fans had high expectations for the 2006 football season and hope that the success on the field would enable the Irish to sign one of the top recruiting classes in the country. The team is sitting at 6-1 heading into a weekend match-up with the Naval Academy. So, where does Notre Dame stand with its top recruiting targets?

Notre Dame has four commitments that are tabbed for the offensive side of the ball heading into November; quarterback Jimmy Clausen, offensive lineman Andrew Nuss, wide receiver Duval Kamara, and tight end Mike Ragone. The question everyone wants to know is, who will join these players?

Running Back

Armando Allen (5-foot-9, 195 pounds):'s No. 20 ranked running back. Like so many big recruits this year, Notre Dame is in a battle with an in-state power. Armando is will decide between Notre Dame and Florida. Early in the year ND fans would have been ecstatic to be one of Allen's final two schools, as few thought the Irish had a chance to land the south Florida product. He will take his visit to Florida November 11 and make his decision shortly after he returns. This one will test some nerves, but I believe Armando heads north. Stock: Buy

Robert Hughes (5-foot 11, 230-pounds):'s No. 11 ranked running back. Hughes recently named his top five as Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan. He has official visits scheduled to ND and OSU. I expect him to schedule something for Illinois soon. I believe Robert when he says that he isn't leaning to one school. Notre Dame, Illinois and Minnesota provide the opportunity to play early and that appeals to him. Notre Dame, Michigan and Ohio State are winning now, which is also important. This isn't a slam dunk for Notre Dame, but it offers the best of both worlds. Buy

Jahvid Best (5-foot-10, 185 pounds):'s No. 29 ranked running back. I haven't had an opportunity to speak with him, so it is difficult to gauge his interest. Notre Dame will likely receive a visit along with Oregon, USC and California. He's a track guy as well as a football player, so that could factor into his decision, and one that would hurt ND. When he schedules a visit I'll get excited, but until that time… Stock: Hold

Gerald Jones (5-foot-11, 185 pounds):'s No. 9 ranked running back. Florida, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Virginia Tech are the schools he mentioned as his favorites in a recent interview. Notre Dame has been noticeably absent in a number of his interviews, but I believe that they are still in this race. Stock: Hold

Joe McKnight (5-foot-11, 198 pounds):'s No. 4 ranked running back. Like Jahvid Best, we haven't had an opportunity to speak with Joe which makes it difficult to gauge his interest. He listed Notre Dame among his finalists, along with USC, LSU, Florida State, Florida, and Miami. I was taking a wait and see attitude with McKnight, but when I see the schools ND is competing with, my optimism drops considerably. Stock: Sell

Bradley Stephens (5-foot-11, 198 pounds):'s No. 27 ranked running back. Committed to Texas A&M but he was still talking to the Notre Dame coaches. Everything was hinging on the stability of the coaching situation at A&M. The Aggies only stumbled once through the gauntlet of The Citadel, La Lafayette, Army, La. Tech, Texas Tech, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma State. They will likely move to 8-1 when they slug it out against Baylor this weekend, which means the A&M coaches are safe for another year. Stock: Sell

Golden Tate (6-foot-0, 180 pounds):'s No. 31 ranked wide receiver. Everyone is wondering when Tate will get an offer from Notre Dame. I think it may happen at some point over the next month. He's a tremendous athlete that can play a number of positions. If the Irish offer, I believe Tate will accept. Stock: Buy

Wide Receiver

Arrelious Benn (6-foot-2, 190 pounds):'s No. 1 ranked wide receiver. Notre Dame appeared to have a huge lead for Benn for much of the year, but then something happened to turn everything upside down. There are different rumors every week and each rumor indicates that Notre Dame is on the outside looking in. Is it possible that he picks a school that is once again floundering at the bottom of the Big Ten? According to Arrelious, that is a very good possibility. He recently returned from a visit to Florida State and he had a great time there as well. This weekend he takes his final trip to Maryland before he decides. An announcement should come a couple weeks into November. Everything is pointing to somewhere other than Notre Dame. Call me dense. Buy

Greg Little (6-foot-3, 205 pounds):'s No. 4 ranked weak-side linebacker. His announcement on October 9 was one of the more interesting events I've seen in recruiting. He narrowed his schools down to Notre Dame and North Carolina. ND vs. in-state school once again. Mike Frank has taught me most of what I know about this business, and something that always seems to hold true is, if a recruit isn't taking your calls, it generally isn't a good sign. He is doing interviews with the North Carolina sites. Sell

Ron Brooks (6-foot-0, 170 pounds):'s No. 7 ranked wide receiver. He doesn't have an offer at this time, and I'm not sure Notre Dame is moving in that direction. He's an outstanding prospect, he has great offers and he has said that he'd like to visit South Bend. It could be that the staff hasn't received an okay from admissions. Sell

Offensive Line

Matt Summers-Gavin (6-foot-4, 280 pounds):'s No. 32 ranked offensive guard. Matt had a great official visit to Notre Dame and said that the Irish would be very difficult to beat. He is going to visit Cal and Oregon after his season. He expects to announce in January. The other schools certainly have a shot to land Matt, but he gets Notre Dame. Buy

Emeka Nwankwo (6-foot-5, 270 pounds):'s No. 47 ranked offensive tackle. Familiar ring… Emeka is down to Notre Dame and Florida. He might take a trip to Florida State, but his decision should come from the Irish and the Gators. I believe that he would like to pick Florida and I know his parents want him to stay close to home, but Florida may be low on scholarships, which opens an opportunity for Notre Dame. Emeka will likely wait a little until the situation at Florida clarifies itself so this will take some patience. Hold

Matt Romine (6-foot-6, 270 pounds):'s No. 28 ranked offensive guard. Again, Notre Dame against in-state power. Matt will take all of his visits, but it will likely come down to ND and Oklahoma. He still has visits to Oklahoma and Tennessee planned. Matt has been to Notre Dame six times. I think he's a Notre Dame kid. Buy

Chris Little (6-foot-6, 327 pounds):'s No. 9 ranked offensive tackle. Notre Dame, Florida State, Florida, LSU and Clemson had been his top five, and now he has added Michigan to the mix. Chris says all the right things about Notre Dame, and he really liked his official visit. He's still going to take his remaining visits, which means his impressions of Notre Dame will likely fade. He has always seemed high on Florida State.Sell Top Stories