Mike's Mailbag

We had another Power Hour last night and I tried to get to many of the unanswered questions left over from Power Hour with another Mike's Mailbag. Keep those questions coming.

Jeremy, Allentown, Pa:

Mike, given we finish strong this year, approximately how many scholarships do you think will be available for next year and what are the areas of need?

Mike: That depends on how many the Irish take this year. By my count, ND would have 49 scholarship players at the end of the 2007 season. If the Irish took a full 25 scholarship players this year, that would leave only 11 scholarships for the 2008 recruiting season. Keep in mind that isn't counting any transfers or medical issues ending a player's career. Chances are good you'll see a transfer or two, and maybe a medical issue or two, but a full lot of scholarships this year would leave very little for 2008. But Notre Dame might not have a very good season next year with so top many players departing, so you might as well get them while you can.

Dave, York, Pa:

What's going on with Michael Williams?

Mike: From everything that I've heard, Michael Williams plans to announce at the Army game. I think he's somewhat torn between both schools. If I had to guess, I'd say he might favor Michigan a bit and his family might favor Notre Dame. But I do think it's close. I really could see him go either way at this point.

Ryan, Denver:

What's the status of Donald and Smith from Tennessee?

Mike: Charlie Weis visited both earlier this week. I think both visits went well. I'd be very surprised to see Harrison Smith end up anywhere but ND, but I also wonder why he hasn't pulled the trigger yet. Some think he might commit to Notre Dame by Christmas. If this lingers into January, I'd start to get concerned.

With Donald, I believe Notre Dame has a real shot with him. I wouldn't say they have a large lead because I don't know that for certain. But If I had to choose today, I think ND just might win the battle. The bad news is Phil Fulmer will be visiting him on Saturday.

Brad, Louisville, KY:

What about Summers-Gavin, what do you think our chances are at getting him? Also , what do you think Clausen's chances to start as a freshman are?

Mike: I think it's down to Notre Dame and Cal for Matt Summers-Gavin. Right now I think Cal might have the slight lead for him, but I'd say it's a slight lead. I think the Irish are very much in the race, but they don't have much time to catch up as I think he'll be deciding fairly soon…..maybe at the Army game or earlier.

John, Murfreesboro, TN

I hearing rumors about Chris Little nearing a decision. What are ND chances and who are the OL recruits ND ends up with?

Mike: I'd say Notre Dame's chances are pretty good to land Chris Little. I think they lead for him. I have heard he's getting close to a decision as well.

Brad, Louisville, KY:

Everson Griffin has his list of schools down to three what is the chance that he will choose ND over USC and Michigan?

Mike: I'd say the chances are about slim and none. Everything I've heard points to USC for Griffen.

John, Lafayette, IN:

Who do you think is the most important recruit that ND still has on the board? And what are our chances to bring him in?

Mike: I hate to label anyone the single most important recruit because I think they're all important for Notre Dame to land. However, I also think there are areas of need the Irish must address with this class. To me, the two most important needs are defensive tackle and linebacker at this point. So players like Will Blackwell and Jason Peters are important, but so are Chris Donald and Malcolm Smith. I'm a big fan of all, but I think Malcolm Smith gets overlooked at times by Notre Dame fans, and he might have the most upside out of anyone left on the board.

IrishRob, Cleveland Hotel Room:

Great interview with Armando. Is he the type of back who could contribute immediately? What former ND RB would you compare him to?

Mike: I've been saying that he reminds me a lot of Julius Jones with better hands. Allen is a terrific receiver out of the backfield, and he's got that same kind of explosion, cutting ability and extra gear that Jones had. He'll need to add some weight, but I'd expect you'd see him on the field in 2007.

Taylor, PA:

I was intrigued by Armando's comments on Lorenzo Edwards. Do you get a sense that ND may be making great in roads.

Mike: For those that didn't listen to Power Hour….Armando said he's been in contact with Lorenzo Edwards often. My answer is yes. I think ND has made some real progress with Lorenzo. I think they have as good as shot as anyone. I also think ND might have a slight lead at this point. I think he'll be around a lot of Irish commitments at the Army game and that will certainly help.

Andrew, West Chester OH:

Long time no see/hear/talk ... glad to hear another Power Hour. With Tate and Ian Williams recently announcing, that leaves 11 spots for this year's class and by my non-expert calculations ... about 15-17 top notch recruits still in the mix. My question is do you think these remaining kids are starting to get antsy at all about ND having a spot for them?

Mike: I'd assume a few might get a little bit nervous, but I think most probably know where they stand with Notre Dame. I think Notre Dame might have a good idea what will happen at O-line by Christmas. Then it quickly becomes either/or of hopefully both for Notre Dame. ND probably has two players at each spot they'd need to add a player and hopefully can land both. I doubt you'll see a lot of new names come into the mix. Let's take for instance linebacker. The Irish are waiting for both Malcolm Smith and Chris Donald. I think they'd probably be OK with one or the other. They'd love to have both. I doubt you'd see a new name pop up as long as they got one. Same thing with defensive tackle, safety, etc. As long as Notre Dame gets one, I think you'll see them save the extra scholarship for next year. Knowing this, I don't think you'll see a lot of players get too nervous because the Irish have room to take most of them currently.

Marc, Chicago:

How high do you think this years class could potentially be rated?

Mike: I'd say there's a very good chance the Irish could finish at No. 2 if they close out the season strong. I doubt the Irish or anyone can catch USC. The Trojans already have five five-star players already in fold and two announcing in just a few days for them. They have a good number left on the board. Having said that, I do think the Irish have a good shot to end up at No. 2 if they close strong. They're already ranked in the top 5, and they have a good number of scholarships left with the other schools mostly finished ranked ahead of them.

Matt Fazio:

How many players do you think we will sign? Which ones do you think we will have just name your best 7.

Mike: Right now the Irish are at 14 commitments. I think I know of at least another four that I'd be very surprised if they didn't end up at Notre Dame….names will remain nameless at this point. However, that would give ND 18 with 12 left to decide. I'd have to figure the Irish would go around 50/50 with the remaining 12, so I think you'll see at least 23 in this class.

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