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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!