Perhaps the class of 2009 recruiting class can end up being a top-10 one after all.
During a five-day span in the month of April, the Irish received verbal commitments from running backs Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick. Those two combine for nine stars and are certainly a duo that will rival any other twosome recruited to any other University at this position.
Take a look at the possible depth chart and versatility the run game will have in the fall of 2009. Robert Hughes, Armando Allen, James Aldridge, Jonas Gray, Wood and Riddick. It definitely could get a lot worse.
While the Irish may still take a fullback, at the moment, Wood and Riddick appear to have wrapped up all the needs the program has in the backfield for this class. Glenn Carson says he is going to visit South Bend for the first time this summer, but he sees himself as more of a linebacker and looks to have settled in on a couple other favorites. The Golden Dome will have to help make up ground there, and Tyler Gaffney is another possible recruit, but at the moment he doesn't hold an offer.
After five-star quarterbacks Jimmy Clausen and Dayne Crist inked to play under Charlie Weis in the previous two classes, Notre Dame missed on the four quarterbacks they offered this year. They likely won't offer another one. Though it would've been nice to add a player for depth purposes, not signing a quarterback to the fold is no big deal, plus it gives Weis the opportunity to land another five-star kid in 2010.
When Jake Golic became Notre Dame's first verbal commit in early April, most thought the Irish were done recruiting the tight end position. Now it looks like the Irish could land two great prospects if Fort Wayne, Ind. product Tyler Eifert takes up the staff on his recent scholarship offer. Eifert, who projects at a few positions, has said on numerous occasions that if Notre Dame offered they'd become his favorite.
Notre Dame would like to take two receivers, and they definitely have a chance to get a couple of good ones. Shaquelle Evans will visit the campus for the Michigan game during the fall, and Jamal Patterson plans to check out the school in a couple weeks. While it seems like the Irish have a better chance at getting a signature from the latter, they're definitely not out of it for Evans. Win a lot of games this fall and they could become his favorite.
Staying with the receiver theme, Rueben Randle still hasn't scheduled a Midwest trip to see Notre Dame and Michigan, Marlon Brown just put the Irish in his top 10, and Logan Thomas doesn't appear to be really considering the Irish at this moment. Landing any of these three would be considered an upset. Depending on what Patterson and Evans do, look for another name or two to pop up on the radar in the future.
Guard Alex Bullard's commitment has already given this class an outstanding offensive lineman. Chris Watt is expected to make a verbal commitment soon, and the Ohio State and Notre Dame nations are crossing their fingers. If Watt chooses the Irish, that wraps up the needs at guard, and like Wood and Riddick, is an outstanding combination.
Offensive tackle Xavier Nixon was one of the first offers extended in the class of 2009, and if he inked with Notre Dame, would be the jewel of the class. The Irish are recruiting the heck out of him, the parents are real high on what Notre Dame has to offer, and Nixon could return to see the school on an official visit in the fall. The five-star standout will make his decision at the U.S. Army All-American game.
The other offensive tackle the Irish staff is in on, is Indianapolis product Zach Martin. Martin will decide soon, and Michigan looks like the program to beat here, but perhaps ND can pull off an upset. Xavier Su'a-Filo doesn't list Notre Dame among his favorites, and combo lineman Stavion Lowe appears to be an SEC lean, but a possible South Bend visit in the fall could change that.
Expect a couple more offers to go out to players over the next few months, but Notre Dame is definitely in good position on the offensive side of the ball.