First we will look at the Quarterback position. Notre Dame already has a commitment from one of the top quarterbacks in the country. Brady Quinn accepted a scholarship offer in July; he was the first quarterback to be offered by Notre Dame. Quinn has been off to a great start so far and is a fine addition to this class. Brady runs a very similar system to the Diedrick offense so he should fit in nicely.
Notre Dame is also recruiting San Diego's Richard Kovalcheck. Kovalcheck officially visited Notre Dame on September 7th for the Purdue game. Richard made the trip with his parents and he said that he really enjoyed his visit and meeting the coaching staff. Richard has stated that Notre Dame is his leader but he plans to take more visits with trips scheduled to Arizona State and Washington. Notre Dame has a good shot to land Richard but it's going to be hard to get this talented player to leave the Pac 10. It should be months before we know which school Richard will choose.
Another quarterback the Irish like is North Carolina's Chris Leak. Leak is set to break numerous all-time passing records for a high school quarterback and has had an outstanding season this year. Leak has been rumored to be visiting in the future but nothing has been set in stone yet. The consensus is that he will choose Tennessee when all is said and done. I wouldn't count out Willingham for anyone however.
The next position we will look at is Tailback. Notre Dame received it's first commitment of 2002 from one of their top tailback prospects. Fort Lauderdale's David Marrero committed back in July. Marrero is a fantastic prospect with 4.34 speed. His film is outstanding and he reminds me of a bigger Warrick Dunn. Marrero already officially visited Notre Dame on September 7th.
The Irish also got a commitment recently from a two-way athlete in Isaiah Gardner. Gardner plays both tailback and cornerback in high school. Many speculate that Gardner will be a corner in college. Gardner is 5-11 190 and ran a 4.49 at the Nike camp. He has been timed in the 4.3 range as well. He was a great pickup for the Irish. Isaiah is set to visit on December 6th.
A player the Irish are hoping to sign is Le Mesa California prospect Reggie Bush. Bush is a very fast, very shifty tailback that would fit in very well with Marrero. Last weekend, Bush rushed 18 times for 258 yards and 3 touchdowns. Notre Dame has been on his short list. Many people think Stanford will be hard to beat for Bush. I think it will be difficult to get Bush to leave California but I feel Ty and his staff have the best shot to do that. They should get him to visit and we won't know where Notre Dame really stands until he takes that visit. He has been offered by Notre Dame.
Another top prospect the Irish are interested in is Travis Thomas. Thomas is a bigger back at 6-1 200 pounds and runs in the 4.4 range. I am told he has great speed and a nice change of direction. He has offered and schedule a visit to Notre Dame November 2nd. He has already qualified. Keep an eye on this player.
Tashard Choice is another back the Irish like. Choice has not been offered yet but they like this player. He plays in an offense that throws the ball quite a bit but had a nice start to the season rushing for 203 yards and scoring three touchdowns in his first game.
There are others the Irish are recruiting at tailback but, I mention these names because I think they are the most likely at this point. Tailback is always a position where new names pop up as the season progresses so don't be surprised to see some new names pop up in the future.
Fullback was a need position and Notre Dame already has a commitment from Ashley McConnell. McConnell committed to Notre Dame recently and was the only big back offered by the staff. That would make him their #1 target. McConnell is 5-11 240 and is a crushing blocker as well as a quick runner. Ashley is set to visit December 6th. Notre Dame got a good one in Ashley.
Wide receiver is also a need area and Notre Dame received it's first commitment from Dublin Ohio's Chinedum Ndukwe. "The Duke" is the teammate of current commitment Brady Quinn and both players committed in July. Ndukwe went to Notre Dame's camp in June and was offered shortly afterwards. The Duke is a Derrick Mayes type of a receiver with excellent hands, strength and speed. Chinedum is set to visit on December 6th for the banquent weekend.
The second wide receiver commitment came from Valparaisio's Jeff Samardzija. Samardzija went to camp and was offered shortly afterwards. Jeff committed in August and has been to South Bend many times over the summer. This 6-4 190 pound wide receiver is said to be an Ed McCaffrey type of player.
Notre Dame has also offered two players from Florida that I think they have little shot at. Andre Caldwell is one of the top wide receivers in the country but he has shown little interest.
The Irish are looking out on the west coach for some wide receivers. Quintin Daniels is known as a speedy wide receiver with a knack for the big play. He has not been offered yet but that could be coming soon. He hasn't shown a great deal of interest yet but that might change if they offer.
Mark Bradford is another Cali prospect the Irish like. This 6-1 185 pound speedster is one of the top wide receivers on the west coach. Mark is wide open right now but he lists Notre Dame as one of the top schools he is considering. Bradford has not been offered but should be soon.
Notre Dame is also recruiting Reggie Bush's teammate Charles Smith. Smith is a wide receiver but could be a corner prospect as well. Don't be fooled by Smith's 40 time at Nike camp. Smith had a leg injury and probably should not have run that day. A lot of top schools are also recruiting him and have offered. To the best of my knowledge, he has not been offered yet but that may have changed.
Another top Cali prospect the Irish like quite a bit is Steve Smith. Smith can play both defensive back and wide receiver. Smith has stated he would like to set up a visit but hasn't done so yet. He has been offered and I think he will visit. He is being recruited by all the top programs across the country.
New Jersey prospect Derrick Harper is also another player they are after. To the best of my knowledge, Notre Dame has yet to offer but that could change shortly. Harper likes the Irish and will like them more if they offer. He is one of the top prospects on the east coast.
Another top prospect is New Jersey prospect Jesse Holley. Holley has been offered but has yet to set a visit to Notre Dame. He remains interested and should be setting his visits very soon.
As I said, wide receiver is need position this year. I know they will take three players at this position and could take 4 if the right guy wanted to commit. Notre Dame is in good shape here and should be able to land at least one of their top prospects and already had two fine wide receivers committed in this class.
Notre Dame has a lot of Tight Ends already in school. They just keep on recruiting them. One of their top prospects is Greg Olsen. Olsen is the brother of current quarterback Chris Olsen. Olsen has visited many times and has been offered. He is scheduled to officially visit on December 6th but that might change because his team could be playing in the playoffs. The word is that he likes Notre Dame, Tennessee and Miami the most. I think the Irish will get him in the end.
Another tight end they like is John Carlson. Carlson is also a top basketball recruit and has been offered. He is scheduled to visit October 5th for the Stanford game. I think they Dame is in good shape with Carlson.
Top tight end Louis Irizarry committed to Ohio State in July but has recently said he is thinking about reconsidering that commitment. Notre Dame finished second to Ohio State for Irizarry and rumors have been spreading that Irizarry might visit in the future. I think he will stick with his original commitment to Ohio State when all is said and done.
Offensive line is another need area for the Irish this year. They will likely take an offensive center prospect, a guard prospect and two tackle prospects with this class. Left tackle is a big priority and Notre Dame has quite a few prospects to consider.
Ryan Harris is a left tackle prospect from Cretin Durhamn HS in St. Paul, MN. He is from the same high school that has sent Notre Dame current players Rashon Powers-Neal and Marcus Freeman. Harris is also very interested and has visited quite a few times in the past with the most recent being the Michigan game. He has been offered and is scheduled to visit December 6th for his official visit. Harris is being recruited very heavily by all the top schools across the country.
Another left tackle prospect is Joe Thomas. Thomas went to Notre Dame camp where he ran a 4.78 in the 40 yard dash while measuring 6-8 270 pounds. Thomas has been offered and I am sure they would love him to visit on December 6th but he hasn't set up that visit yet. Many speculate this will be a Wisconsin/Notre Dame battle for his signature.
Illinois prospect Mike Jones has also been offered. Jones is a likely offensive guard candidate and has visited many times in the past. Jones is the brother of former Notre Dame player Jim Jones. Mike appears wide open at this point but I expect him to visit. It's too early to guess who might have the best shot.
Dan Pribula is a big man at 6-6 315 pounds. He also has been offered I expect Notre Dame to get a visit. Pribula seems pretty wide open as well at this point but I think Notre Dame will at least get a visit.
John Sullivan is arguably the top center prospect in the nation. He visited in July as well as Michigan. Sullivan told me earlier that he grew up cheering for Notre Dame so I think they have a very good shot at this player. He has been offered but has not set up any official visits at this point. I think John will likely decide sometime in January after he has visited some of his favorite schools.
New Jersey prospect Jeff Zuttah also has an offer from the Irish. Zuttah is 6-5 280 pounds and many of the top schools across the country have offered him. Jeff appears wide open but Notre Dame is expected to get a visit from him.
Texas offensive center prospect Ian Yates-Cunningham was a Notre Dame camper. He has not been offered but could be very soon. Ian has not listed Notre Dame as one of his top schools but he has told me that if they offer, they would be a top school for him. He is also the teammate of linebacker prospect Lewis Baker. Ian is scheduled to visit on December 6th.
The top offensive lineman in Arizon is also interested in Notre Dame. Mikal Brewer is 6-4 275 pounds and is one of the top OL prospects on the west coast. He has not been offered but they are actively recruiting him. He has not set a visit to Notre Dame yet but that could be coming soon.
Another player to keep an eye on is Jordy Lipsey. Jordy has not been offered yet but I know Notre Dame likes this player. He might be visiting in the future so keep an eye on him.
These are the top names that Notre Dame is recruiting on offense at this point. I expect new names to pop up as the season progresses. Notre Dame is in outstanding shape right now to land one of the top recruiting classes in the country and recent memory. Keep following Fighting Irish Insider for more updates on these top prospects.
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