Irish Set up for a Strong Summer

The Irish are four months into the 2009 recruiting season and things are shaping up nicely for Notre Dame. The Irish are sitting on five total commitments thus far, but many offered players will be visiting Notre Dame in the near future and will likely be choosing their school sometime before the 2008 football season.

As I mentioned early in this recruiting season, the Irish likely weren't going to have the blitz of early commitments they enjoyed last season. They did, however, have a chance to build a solid base of commitments early to close out the 2009 recruiting season with a very good recruiting class.

The most important thing for Notre Dame is to make sure they fill all their needs in 2009 with very good prospects at every position. The 2009 recruiting class might not have the star power of last year's class, but it should be a very good class if the Notre Dame staff continues along the path they're currently on.

The most important thing for the Irish is to make sure they're filling their needs. But what are the needs? As mentioned previously, O-line, D-line and linebacker are the most pressing needs. Besides those positions, the Irish need to fill in the slots with talented players who will provide quality depth, and also add some explosiveness to the Irish offense and defense. For instance, the Irish signed some great wide receivers last year, but they didn't sign a true speed guy, so finding a speed receiver who can stretch the field is the need in this class at wide receiver.

Right now Notre Dame has five commitments.

5-star: Cierre Wood (RB)

4-star: Carlo Calabrese (LB), Theo Riddick (RB), Tyler Stockton (D-line)

3-star: Jake Golic (TE)

There are a good number of prospect that will be visiting Notre Dame in the near future and/or choosing their school that could rapidly add to the total of commitments for Notre Dame.

Two players, Alex Bullard and Dan Fox, should be making a decision soon. Currently Bullard is a four-star prospect. Fox has yet to be ranked by Scout, but is rated as a four-star prospect elsewhere.

If Bullard and Fox do commit to Notre Dame, this would give the Irish: 2 four-star linebackers

1 five-star, 1 four-star running back

1 four-star D-lineman

1 four-star O-lineman

1 three-star tight end

The Irish would've already addressed some needs at linebacker, O-line and D-line. I expect Notre Dame to take at least 3-4 prospects at all three positions. Ultimately, I believe the Irish would love to have at least two linebackers, two offensive linemen and two defensive linemen committed before the 2008 season. There's also a good chance they'll be able to accomplish that.

A number of top prospects who do have offers from Notre Dame will be on campus very soon including offensive tackle Michael Schofield, who will be on campus today, and Fox, who will be on campus tomorrow. The top kicker in the country, Dustin Hopkins, will be on campus on Monday.

Also scheduled or said to visit Notre Dame in the near future are: Defensive end---nthony LaLota (has visited previously)

Cornebacker--E.J. Banks (has visited previously)

Safety--Darren Myles

Wide receiver--Uzoma Nwanchukwu

Punter--Ben Turk (top punter)

Offensive guard--Chris Watt (yes, he's coming again)

Linebacker--Jelani Jenkins

Wide receiver--Jamal Patterson

Offensive tackle--Zach Martin

Out of all those players listed above that have yet to decide, Bullard, Fox, Schofield, Hopkins, LaLota, Myles, Nwanchukwu, Turk, Martin and Watt have all said they'll likely be deciding before the 2008 football season. That's a total of 10 current Irish offers that will likely decide over the next two months. Many believe Notre Dame is among the top two teams for all 10 players listed above, and the Irish should end up landing a good number of them when all is said and done.

What would be considered a good summer for Notre Dame?

As I mentioned, I believe Notre Dame would love to land two linebackers, two defensive linemen and two offensive linemen before the season. There's a very good chance that could happen with Fox, LaLota, Watt, Bullard, Schofield and Martin likely deciding this summer. If Notre Dame could accomplish that, they'd be in great shape at these positions.

The Irish are clearly done at running back, and they couldn't be happier with their commitments at this position.

So what's left?

Landing your top kicker and punter would be great. Also, as mentioned, a speed receiver would be ideal, and Uzoma Nwchukwu ‘s 10.4 100 meter speed fits this bill.

I think the Irish would also love to land a top corner prospect or safety prospect before the season. E.J. Banks and Darren Myles are the most likely candidates for that to happen, but I wouldn't say Notre Dame is the definite leader for either currently. However, both are expected on campus this summer, and I do believe Notre Dame is high on both of their lists.

Keeping Score

If you're keeping score, a good finish this summer would be two O-linemen, two D-linemen, one wide receiver, two linebackers, two running backs, one tight end and one defensive back. That would be 11 total commitments. Add your top kicker and punter prospect and the Irish would be in excellent shape to finish out the recruiting season strong. There's a very good chance they can accomplish this over the next two months.

It's also important to note that many of the players visiting and deciding are either five-star or four-star prospects, so the Irish should land some very good talent over the next few months. It should be a fun ride over the next 60 days. Top Stories