Michael Golic started off the 2008 Notre Dame recruiting class yesterday by accepting his scholarship offer. Notre Dame may take as many as 21 additional prospects in this recruiting class and it's a good bet that several of them will come from the initial target list.
Terrelle Pryor (Jeannette, Pa.) might be the best athlete in the 2008 recruiting class. The kid can do everything and he wants to….except play defense. He wants to play basketball and football in college. The teams that are willing to do that are starting to move to the front of his wish list. Notre Dame is one of those schools, and ND might be the perfect situation for him since there wouldn't be immediate pressure for him to play quarterback. At Notre Dame he might be able to take some time to settle into the offense and get comfortable. He committed to play basketball at Pitt during his sophomore year, but opened things up once he saw the football offers start rolling in. He could go anywhere, but he would like to stay relatively close to home due to his family. He could play a number of positions on the football field, but he is adamant about playing quarterback. He'd like to play in a spread offense that allows him to put pressue on the defense with his ability to run the ball. As a junior, he completed 92 of 163 passes for 1,732 yards and 15 touchdowns. He rushed 197 times for 1,676 yards and 29 touchdowns.
How good is running back Ryan Williams of Manassas, Va.? He has every top program in the country pursuing him and he missed half of his junior season due to an injury. Williams still managed to gain 500 yards on the ground and score eight touchdowns. He's very versatile and a terrific athlete with 4.4-forty speed. He's probably a little more of a finesse runner at this time, but his frame has plenty of room to add weight. He grew up a Miami fan, but he'll look at all of his options.
Sam McGuffie(Cypress, Texas) will likely be a top ten running back when the national rankings come out. He's being recruited and offered by everyone. There is a very good chance that he'll leave Texas, and Michigan may have an early lead. He has speed, balance an vision. He won't run many defenders over, but he is a tougher runner that can work between the tackles. If he hits a seam in the defense, he's gone. As a junior, he rushed for 3,212 yards on 358 carries and he scored 44 touchdowns.
There have been several names tossed around when people discuss the top wide receiver in the country, and Michael Floyd (Saint Paul, Minn.) is generally in the group photo. Cretin-Derham high school has sent a number of their top players to South Bend and Charlie Weis would like to continue that trend. Notre Dame should be considered the early favorite, but Floyd is planning on taking his official visits. He is a tall, rangy receiver that makes big plays. Floyd isn't your typical big receiver, in that he can make plays with his legs once he gets the ball in his hands. He's a very smooth athlete with tremendous body control. As a junior, Floyd was named Gatorade player of the year for the state of Minnesota. Last season he finished with 63 receptions for 1,240 yards (19.7 yards per reception) and 16 touchdowns. He added 12 rushing attempts for 246 yards and three touchdowns.
A lot of people have tabbed Blake Ayles(Orange, Calif.) to be a USC Trojan, because two of his teammates just signed with the Trojans, but Notre Dame will certainly be a player. Ayles is just about as college ready as they come and there isn't a better program for a tight end to walk into than Notre Dame. Notre Dame will only have three tight ends on scholarship when the 2008 class walks in the door, so there will be plenty of opportunities to earn playing time. Ayles appears to be the perfect combo tight end. He blocks well and he catches the ball well. He isn't as nifty with the ball in his hands as other tight ends, but he certainly can make yardage after the catch. He's definitely one of the top tight ends in the country. As a junior, he had 43 catches for 616 yards and scored three touchdowns.
Jacob Stoneburner (Dublin, Ohio) wanted a Notre Dame offer and it came right after his junior day visit. Notre Dame has a great shot at him, but he'll probably wait until his senior season to make his decision. Jake is probably a lot like John Carlson was as a high school prospect. Carlson was thin and looked and moved somewhat like a wide receiver. Stoneburner is more athletic than he looks and he has deceptive speed. He's probably a "tweener" in terms of a position, but Notre Dame liked his upside too much to pass up. As a junior, Stoneburner hauled in 63 passes for 948 yards and eight touchdowns. As a sophomore, he caught 31 passes for 538 yards and five touchdowns.
Kyle Rudolph (Cincinnati, Ohio) is another great tight end prospect and the Irish have a very good shot to land him, although Ohio State fans believe he is theirs to lose. He visited Notre Dame for the North Carolina game last fall and watched John Carlson have a big day. That day left a strong impression on Rudolph. He liked that Charlie Weis used multiple tight ends and he likes that the tight end is used as a primary receiving target. He's probably more of a receiving tight end than a blocking tight end, but he certainly has the ability to do both very well. As a junior he caught 30 passes for 400 yards and seven touchdowns.
Mike Adams (Dublin, Ohio) is already one of the most highly recruited linemen in the country. Notre Dame is probably in his top five, but they likely trail several schools and need to do some work in order to really get in the race. He was named to the U.S. Army All-Combine team. Adams is likely a tackle, and probably better suited to right tackle at the college level. He's big and he has long arms. He moves his feet and has good balance. He sets up well and stays in front of his man.
Fantastic is the first word that comes to mind when you talk about Mike Brewster (Orlando, Fla.) The next would be "long shot", at least for Notre Dame. Brewster will likely end up at Ohio State. He was actively recruiting for Ohio State when he was in San Antonio for the junior combine. He was name to the all-combine team and he certainly deserved it. Brewster is an outstanding lineman already. In fact, I thought he was better than several seniors who played in the All-American game. He has very good feet and base. He sets up well and he loves to battle. He definitely has the attitude that you love your linemen to have.
Josh Jenkins (Parkersburg, W.Va.) initially committed to West Virginia, but opened up his recruitment once the attention started pouring in. It's certainly possible that he will end up at West Virginia, but my guess is that he goes elsewhere. Notre Dame was one of the first to offer him and the Irish will be there until the end. Jenkins is a bulldog. He's tenacious and strong as an ox. He's incredibly difficult to move off his spot once he digs in. He's the type of player that is capable of completing for playing time from day one. He reminds me of former Notre Dame lineman, Jeff Faine. Jenkins was named to the U.S. Army all-combine team in San Antonio.
Trevor Robinson (Elkhorn, Neb.) attended the Notre Dame football camp last summer and was extended an offer early on. It will be difficult for the Irish to pull him from Nebraska, but it will be just as tough for the Cornhuskers to keep him at home. Robinson likes ND a lot and he'll be torn when it comes time to make a decision. Robinson was one of the top linemen at the U.S. Army junior combine. He is a strong kid that looks for contact and seems to enjoy it. The more physical his opponent gets the more he gives back. He matched up very well with the top competition at the National Combine.
Next In Line
Bryce Givens (Denver, Colo.) is an offenve tackle prospect to watch. He's starting to pick up a lot of scholarship offers and his stature is beginning to rival that of Ryan Miller, who was also from Colorado. Givens is lean at 265 pounds, but he has plenty of room to add weight without slowing himself down. Givens' best asset is his athleticism. He could play tight end, but by adding additional size he may eventually become one of the top offensive linemen in the country. He is technically solid, and does a very good job in pass protection. Givens has connections to Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster, as well as to Michigan. Bryce did visit Notre Dame unofficially last season and the Irish should be there until the end. If Florida, Texas or USC offer, they could have the inside track.
Braxston Cave (Mishawaka, Ind.)just received a scholarship offer from Michigan so the ‘local boy' just became ‘primetime'. Braxston is just starting to get his highlight tape out, so watch the offers start to flow in. He's been to every event Notre Dame has held the past year and the Irish have the inside track if they decide to offer. Cave is being recruited specifically for the offensive side of the ball, and his best position is probably center. He's similar to Josh Jenkins in that he is already extremely strong and he is very difficult to move off of his spot once he sets up. Right now he's probably a better run blocker than a pass blocker, but he has the agility to develop his pass protection. Cave was one of the best linemen at the U.S. Army National Combine in San Antonio.
Notre Dame only has one outstanding scholarship offer to a wide receiver, so more will be on the way shortly. Warren Reuland (Mission Viejo, Calif.) will be attending the Notre Dame junior day on March 4, and he might be the next guy to receive one. Reuland has an offer from Stanford. USC and UCLA may be a threat, but Notre Dame is in a strong position if they decide to offer. Warren is coming off of a knee injury, but he should be one of the top wide receivers in the country when the national rankings come out. He's a tall rangy receiver in the mold of former Irish great Jeff Samardzija (Sounds strange to say "former" with his name doesn't it?) He's a very polished receiver that does everything well. He even enjoys blocking out on the perimeter for his running backs. His best assets are probably his hands and his ability to go up and get the ball. He has deceptive speed for his size, but he isn't a burner. Last season he finished with 35 receptions for 700 yards and ten touchdowns.
Like Reuland, John Goodman might be the next guy to receive a scholarship offer, but they are so similar in ability and what they can do on the field, that Notre Dame may not be able to offer both prospects. Also like Reuland, he may be very similar to Samardzija and current Irish freshman receiver, Rob Parris. Goodman attended the Notre Dame junior day in January and he likes the Irish quite a bit, but an offer won't guarantee a commitment from the Fort Wayne, Ind. native. Goodman recently received an offer from Michigan and Ohio State has shown him a lot of interest. Still an Irish offer will be very difficult for him to turn down. Goodman is a tall rangy receiver with good speed. He uses his hands well to create space with the defender. He has the ability to turn smaller defenders around. He did very well against the top cornerbacks at the U.S. Army National Combine in San Antonio. As a junior he caught 40 passes for 815 yards and 10 touchdowns.