On to 2009

If you would've told Charlie Weis at the beginning of the recruiting process, that you could take 23 players in the class of 2008, the Notre Dame head coach said he would've came back with the same position breakdown then, that ended up signing now.

On Wednesday, the Irish's second-ranked recruiting class according to Scout.com, ended up with one quarterback, one running back, three receivers, two tight ends, four offensive linemen, five defensive linemen, four linebackers and three defensive backs.

Just like Weis would've drew it up.

But how would the fourth-year coach want to balance out his recruiting class in 2009? Lets take a look at the possibilities.

***Scholarship Limit

The NCAA says that you can only have 85 players on scholarship. Here is what Notre Dame's numbers will look like, not including a future transfer or two that will likely happen, as it does with every program.

When the Irish kickoff the 2009 season, there will be 23 sophomores on the roster. There will be 18 juniors. There will be 22 seniors, with that not including Bartley Webb. As far as fifth-year eligible players go, D.J. Hord, Evan Sharpley, Thomas Bemenderfer, Kyle McCarthy, Scott Smith and Kevin Washington would be the candidates. It's just a guess that only Sharpley and maybe McCarthy would come back.

That brings the roster to 65 players. Weis always wants to keep at least one scholarship available for a walk-on that earns it with hard work during fall practice, so that's 66. That scenario leaves Notre Dame with 19 available scholarships in the 2009 class.

Again, a player or two might transfer, but that can't be planned for.

***What should the makeup of the 2009 class look like?

Weis wants 15 scholarship offensive linemen on his team. Eleven linemen return, so getting at least four will be the target. The tackle position will be a great need, and the Irish already have scholarship offers out to Eric Shrive and Xavier Nixon. At this point in time, they have not offered any other offensive linemen.

With the Irish stocked at these positions, taking just one quarterback, one receiver, one running back and one tight end would be fine. You always want one of each in every class. The Irish have yet to offer a quarterback or tight end. They have offered Cierre Wood, Chris Whaley and Dalton Hilliard at the running back position. Devon Flournoy (already committed to USC), Shaquelle Evans and Marlon Brown have been extended scholarship offers at the receiver position.

That leaves 10 scholarships for defense and possibly a specialist.

Looks like the Irish staff want more defensive linemen. They've already offered nose tackles William Campbell and Jamarcus McFarland, and defensive ends Devon Kennard and Chris Bonds. John Simon has already committed to Ohio State. With what's coming back, look for the Irish to try and get at least four more guys between the two positions.

At linebacker, the Irish will be talented but young. Again, they'll want to add some depth with guys that can learn behind the likes of Brian Smith and Kerry Neal. Notre Dame has already offered Manti Te'o. Look for them to take two to three depending on what they want to do in the secondary.

The defensive backfield will be a talented and veteran unit by 2009, and the way it's built up now, should always remain that way. Look for the Irish to take two or three guys, with at least one being able to play both safety and corner. Safeties Devonte Holloman and Craig Loston have already been offered.

With kicker Brandon Walker only being a junior, there is no need to sign another if he proves he can do the job in 2008. With punter Eric Maust being a senior, the Irish may want to take one in this class. If not, the scholarship could go to another offensive skill player.

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