The Present Compared to the Future

Last week we looked at the future of Notre Dame based on how the Irish have recruited the past two seasons, this year and last. But how does that compare to the current situation?

In last week's article we highlighted the excellent recruiting head coach Charlie Weis and his staff has done the past two seasons. The Irish are loaded with plenty of "star power," depth and good numbers at each position. As you'll see today, the 2007 team had very little of all three, and that's why the team struggled this season. Let's take a look.
Quarterback

2004: David Wolke—three star, Darrin Bragg—two star
2005: Evan Sharpley—four star

Comments: Sharpley has shown he can do the job and is the only four-star prospect, but this group doesn't compare to the two five-star players ND currently has in the past two classes.

Running back


2004: Justin Hoskins—four star, Darius Walker—three star

2005: Asaph Schwapp—three star

Comments: Walker had a good career at Notre Dame. Hoskins transferred and Schwapp has shown moments of being a solid player. Only one four-star prospect in the 2004-05 classes. This group doesn't compare in talent as all three players in the past two classes are four-star players, and the Irish may not be done adding talent to this group.

Wide Receiver


2004: Chris Vaughn—three star
2005: David Grimes—three star, D.J. Hord—four star—Army All-American

Comments: Again, this group isn't nearly as impressive as Notre Dame's 3 four-star commits and 1 five-star commit in the past two classes. Vaughn transferred, so only two remain. Plus, the Irish aren't finished with this class. I expect at least one more player. At worst case, they'll add at least another four-star player.

Tight End


2004: None
2005: Joey Hiben—four star

Comments: Since Hiben is gone, obviously the Irish are in a much better situation with their recruiting at tight end over the past two years with ND signing 2 four-star players and 1 five-star player.

Offensive Line


2004: Chauncey Incarnato—three star, John Kadous—three star
2005: Paul Duncan—four star, Michael Turkovich—four star

Comments; Both Duncan and Turkovich start, but that may be because both Incarnato and Kadous transferred. The numbers are very small here--as is the overall talent in "star power." In the last two classes, Notre Dame has added seven total players. Four of them are four-star players, and the other three are three-star players. They also may not be done and might add another four-star prospect to their list.

Defensive Line


2004: Brandon Nicolas—three star, Ronald Talley—three star, Justin Brown—two star

2005: Patrick Kuntz—three star, Derrell Hand—three star

Comments: None from the 2004-05 classes were four-star prospects. Nicholas and Talley left leaving the Irish with just three D-linemen total. In the previous two classes, the Irish have signed or committed 2 five-star players, 3 four-star prospects, and 2 three-star prospects. The Irish have both much more talent and depth compared to the 2004-05 classes.

Linebacker


2004: Anthony Vernaglia—four star, Maurice Crum—three star, Abdel Banda—two star

2005: Scott Smith—three star, Kevin Washington—three star, Steve Quinn—three star

Comments: Only Crum has shown he's a starter at this point. Vernaglia was the group's only four-star prospect. The Irish have signed or committed 4 four-star players, and 4 three-star players in the previous two classes. Obviously another upgrade in both talent and depth over the 2004-05 classes.

Defensive Back


2004: Tregg Duerson—two star, Leo Ferrine—three star, Terrail Lambert—four star, Junior Jabbie—three star

2005: David Bruton—three star, Ray Herring—three star, Kyle McCarthy—two star

Comments: Only one four-star prospect in both the 2004 and 2005 classes. The Irish have signed or committed 5 four-star prospects in these past two classes. Again, another big upgrade in overall talent from the 2004-05 classes.

How does it break down? The ‘04-‘05 classes had only 32 total players. They had zero five-star recruits and just 8 total four-star commitments. 2 of those four-star and 6 of the three star players transferred. Only 21 of those players remain.

On the flip side, the '07-‘08 classes have a total of 40 players currently with more on the way. Currently they have 6 five-star and 24 four-star prospects with more likely on the way.

2004-05 classes:

0 five-star
8 four-star
20 three-star
4 two-star

2007-08 classes:

6 five-star
24 four-star
10 three-star

It doesn't take a genius to figure out the Irish were not very talented in 2007, and they didn't have a lot of depth. That's how the team ended up 3-9 this season.

However, when you compare the two sets of classes, clearly the '07-'08 classes have the potential to do some very great things. The Irish have added a total of 22 more (or an entire starting offense and defense) more of four and five-star players than the '04-'05 classes. When you add the 12 more five and four-star players in the 2006 class, almost half of Notre Dame's roster will be either a four or five-star player. That's a lot of talent!


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