How Many Spots In 2009?

While the Notre Dame coaching staff is trying to put the finishing touches on the 2008 recruiting class, you can bet that they have already laid the groundwork for the 2009 recruiting class. Colleges can't offer scholarships to recruits until September 1 of their junior year, but that day is just over the horizon. Here's a look at how Notre Dame might use their available scholarships.

If Notre Dame signs as many as 23 recruits on February 6, 2008, as expected, there will be a limited number of scholarships available for the 2009 recruiting class. The 2007 recruiting class (Jimmy Clausen, Armando Allen, Gary Gray) had 18 members. The 2006 recruiting class (Demetrius Jones, James Aldridge) had 28, but with the expected transfer of Zach Frazer, the number will fall to 27 players.

The total number of scholarship players that will be on the Notre Dame roster from the three classes 2006-2008 will be 68. There will be six players that will be eligible for a fifth year; Asaph Schwapp, Kevin Washington, Evan Sharpley, D.J. Hord, Derrell Hand, and Kyle McCarthy. For the sake of argument, we'll assume three of those players will be invited back for a fifth year, bringing the total number of scholarship players to 71.

Every year we can expect a player or two to leave the football team for personal reasons. The number can be argued, but I'll add three scholarships back into the mix, bringing the total number of scholarships players to 68. Subtracting 68 from the NCAA limit of 85, we can estimate that Notre Dame will have 17 scholarships available for the 2009 recruiting class.

Charlie Weis has mentioned in the past that he would like to bring in one quarterback with every recruiting class. With the uncertainty of the quarterback situation at this time, we should expect one of the 17 scholarships to go to a quarterback. 16 Remaining

Running back will be a very interesting position to consider. Notre Dame has three young talented running backs (Aldridge, Robert Hughes, Armando Allen) so Notre Dame might not add a running back in the this class. If they don't, I would expect the Irish to add two running backs in the 2009 recruiting class. The coaches would probably like to add one bigger back and another back in the mold of Armando Allen. 14 Remaining

For the old-timers, or should I say "Longtime" Irish fans, I'm going to add a fullback in this class as well. Although the offense can operate effectively without a true fullback, I believe Charlie Weis would like to have a big guy in the backfield that can open holes for his running back. 13 Remaining.

I think Notre Dame will land three top receivers in the 2008 recruiting class, with John Goodman already in the fold. The haul in 2008 will minimize the need for numbers in 2009, but Notre Dame will still need to bring in two receivers. 11 Remaining.

I love the tight end and I know other Irish fans do, but this is where I had to make the hard decision and decided not to add a scholarship. Konrad Reuland and Will Yeatman will be in the final year of eligibility when this class hits campus, but Notre Dame will have Mike Ragone, Kyle Rudolph and Joseph Fauria ready to take their snaps. I'd like to have one more tight end on the roster, but with numbers tight, I had to trim the list somewhere. 11 Remaining.

The Notre Dame staff has done a terrific job recruiting offensive linemen and with the addition of the lineman in the 2008 class, the overall numbers will finally be at an acceptable level. Although Andrew Nuss and possibly Emeka Nwankwo will start their career on the defensive side of the ball, I fully expect them to migrate back over to the offensive line. I believe Chris Stewart will also find his way back to offense. I believe Notre Dame will add four linemen in the class they are currently working on, which means they can bring in three linemen in 2009. If those numbers stand, Notre Dame will have 17 offensive linemen on scholarship for the 2009 season, with only Sam Young, Matt Carufel and Eric Olsen being in their final year. 8 Remaining.

Defense: It appears that the Notre Dame staff is putting together an outstanding defensive recruiting class this year, but they will need to land more elite prospects in order to ensure a stout Irish defense. With only eight scholarships remaining, this is how they could be dispersed.

I expect Notre Dame to add one more defensive end to this recruiting class, bringing the total number of defensive linemen for the 2008 recruiting class to five. With two defensive ends and three interior prospects, this group will go a long way in helping to solidify the defensive front, but the Irish will needed to add more in 2009. The Irish will still be thin on the edge, so they will need two defensive ends. One interior player should do for this class. Three linemen should be just enough to bolster the defensive front. 5 Remaining.

Toryan Smith, Morrice Richardson, John Ryan and possibly Kevin Washington will be in their final year of eligibility in 2009. Aaron Nagel, Steve Paskorz, Brian Smith and the five prospects Notre Dame intends to sign this year will push the linebacker count to at least 11. If you bring in more than two or three you're probably in danger of over recruiting the position in 2009. With numbers tight, Notre Dame should only add two in the 2009 class. 3 Remaining.

Notre Dame should always try to add at least two cornerbacks every year. If they add two, that only leaves one spot for safety, and Notre Dame will be very thin at safety after 2009. If Notre Dame has an extra scholarship to use they should use it here. The cornerbacks that Notre Dame is looking to add this year, Jamoris Slaughter and Robert Blanton, are bigger corners and capable of switching to safety if things don't work out at corner. If Notre Dame does have an extra scholarship in the class it should be used here.


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