No Verbal, No Big Deal

Who will be Notre Dame's first commitment? When will the Irish get a verbal pledge? Can head coach Charlie Weis bring in another top-10 class?

These questions are often asked on the Irish Eyes message board, as Notre Dame fans get antsy about the 2009 recruiting class. The anxiousness is understandable when you see that rival USC already has 10 verbal commitments, Texas has 15 and Ohio State has eight.

As obviously indicated by the lack of a commitment at this point, Notre Dame and Weis are going to have a tougher time luring recruits, than they had the previous three years (all top-15 classes).

But there is no reason to panic yet.

To compensate for that, Weis and his coaching staff are going to cast a bigger net, by offering more prep prospects, in hopes of catching between 18-to-20 bites by next year.

Notre Dame has already offered around 40 of the best players in the country a scholarship. Expect roughly 20 more to go out over the next month.

Unfortunately, of the several offers that have already gone out, Notre Dame isn't the leader or one of the favorites with many of them. However, the Irish are still in on some really good players. Those guys are just likely to decide later rather than sooner. As of right now, there is no reason to not believe another good class will be faxing in letters-of-intent next February.

Patience is really a virtue this year.

Notre Dame's biggest need in this recruiting class is offensive tackle, and the Irish are among the leaders for two of the nation's best.

Five-star left tackle Xavier Nixon recently said ND will likely make his top-10, and that he will definitely take another visit to campus, probably in the summer. The 6-foot-6, 285-pound Fayetteville, N.C. product camped in South Bend last summer. He'll announce his decision at the U.S. Army All-American game next January.

Eric Shrive, a 6-foot-7, 295-pound five-star right tackle from West Scranton, Pa., visited Notre Dame for its junior day, and could come back on an official visit. He wants to take a few of his official visits before deciding, and the Irish will definitely be in the race.

Those aren't the only two players that are high on Notre Dame.

Four-star offensive guard Chris Watt is also high on the Irish. Competition for the Glen Ellyn, Ill. product will come from Ohio State. Watt wants to attend a spring practice or Notre Dame's spring game, and is a candidate to be the program's first commitment, as he wants to decide before his senior season.

Notre Dame will also have a great shot at four-star linebacker Carlo Calabrese, defensive tackle Tyler Stockton, defensive ends Nick Kasa (four-star) and Gabe Ikard, and running back Theo Riddick. Sounds like the program's most recent offer, defensive end Craig Roh, is highly interested as well.

Players offered the Irish will definitely be in the mix for, but will have a challenge in landing, are five-star running back Cierre Wood, who said he is visiting for the spring game, five-star linebacker Manti Te'o, four-star safety Devonte Holloman, four-star defensive end Chris Bonds, five-star receiver Marlon Brown, three-star running back Dalton Hilliard, three-star defensive tackle Isaac Holmes, four-star quarterback Aaron Murray, five-star linebacker Dorian Bell, four-star athlete Corey Brown, running back Stepfan Taylor, four-star offensive lineman Mason Walters, four-star offensive lineman Xavier Su'a-Filo, three-star athlete Frankie Telfort and four-star athlete Brandon McGee.

Notre Dame is certainly going after talented players.

Unlike last year, where there were several good players Irish hot grounds such as the Chicago area, Midwest and East Coast, that is not the case this year. The Notre Dame coaching staff is going to have work very hard to familiarize prospects from far away, with a program they don't know much about at this point.

As always, if Weis and company can get these players to visit, they'll have a good chance. Last year, Notre Dame had 33 official visitors, and 23 of them signed. There is just something about the campus that puts first-time visitors in awe. That is something that will never change. Same goes for Weis' relentless attitude towards recruiting, so despite a lack of a verbal commitment at this point, all is still okay. Top Stories