Stock Report: Offense

With 13 verbal commits already in the fold, Notre Dame's 2009 football recruiting class has shaped up rather nicely. Now the Irish coaching staff can key in on just a few players in trying to shape up a second-straight top-five haul.

Who is Notre Dame currently recruiting, and how do the Irish stand? Over the next two days, Irish Eyes takes a look, giving a Buy (he will be committing to Notre Dame eventually), Sell (he will head elsewhere), or Hold (too early to tell, but the Irish are definitely in it) tag on each prospect.

On Wednesday, IE will take a look at the offensive recruits still on the board, and will wrap things up on Thursday with the defensive recruits.

Offensively, Charlie Weis and company have nearly filled every need. The staff will pass on a quarterback and a center, has secured two talented running backs in Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick and two tight ends in Jake Golic and Tyler Eifert. The offensive line recruiting is almost done with Chris Watt and Alex Bullard locking up both guard spots, and Zach Martin giving a much needed tackle commit.

A verbal commitment from two receivers, a fullback and one certain offensive tackle will make this one heck of a haul on this side of the ball.

*Glenn Carson (Sell): The Irish got in a little late with the four-star player from Manahawkin, N.J., offering a scholarship in late June. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Carson had already settled in on a few favorites, with Rutgers and Penn State right at the top of the list. Carson has never visited South Bend, and says he will check the campus out. Perhaps he falls in love, but that trip may also never happen.

Another thing going against the Irish is that Notre Dame envisions Carson as a fullback. Carson sees himself as a linebacker. So do the rest of his favorites.

*Tyler Gaffney (Hold): After much confusion, the three-star San Diego product finally got his scholarship offer. He may be the eventual fullback in this class.

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Gaffney wants to play both football and baseball on the next level, and Notre Dame certainly has a positive history in that regard. Gaffney visited South Bend back in February for a Junior Day, and the Irish seem like a good bet for an official visit.

Other programs under strong consideration, will be USC, Stanford, Oregon and Nebraska.

*Shaquelle Evans (Hold): The four-star receiver from Inglewood, Calif., was one of the early offers in this class. He will check out the Notre Dame campus for the first time on an official visit, when the Irish host Purdue.

Evans could be the Deion Walker of this class. A player always pegged to go elsewhere, but chooses Notre Dame in the end. The Irish have some serious competition from the likes of USC, UCLA, California, LSU, Ohio State, Tennessee and Colorado, and a decision isn't expected to come until January.

A great fall on the gridiron, could land Notre Dame a great recruit in the 6-foot, 180-pound Evans.

*Marlon Brown (Sell): The five-star receiver from Memphis, Tenn. recently put the Irish in his top 10, but it appears that Notre Dame is on the back end of it. Brown says all the right things about the Irish, but there just doesn't seem to be a buzz here.

The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Brown says he wants to narrow his list even further before his season begins in August, and there's a good chance Notre Dame doesn't make the final five.

Brown plans on deciding around signing day, so a lot could change before then.

*Rueben Randle (Sell): Randle's Bastrop (La.) High head coach has spoken much higher of Notre Dame, than the five-star receiver has. There was talk of Randle visiting Notre Dame for the first time this summer, but that hasn't panned out, and likely won't.

Randle seems destined for the SEC conference, mostly likely in-state LSU, but when chatter of a Midwest program does come up, it's always Michigan and not Notre Dame when concerning Randle.

Expect another late decision here.

*Jamal Patterson (Buy): Notre Dame and the 6-foot-3, 203-pound Patterson seem like a perfect fit. Of the McDonough, Ga., product's 50 or so scholarship offers, seven are from Ivy League schools. When Patterson is dominating on Friday nights or tending to his studies, he is an active leader with youths in his community.

If Patterson doesn't make it up to South Bend on an unofficial visit in the summer, he will make an official visit during the fall. Seeing Notre Dame in person should seal the deal for Patterson.

Leaving home won't be a problem.

*Logan Thomas (Sell): The four-star Thomas recently tabbed his favorites as Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Clemson and West Virginia. It never appeared that he seriously considered Notre Dame.

*Xavier Nixon (Hold): Everything looks good for the Irish on the Nixon front. The five-star offensive tackle from Fayettville, N.C. will visit Notre Dame on an official visit, Sept. 13th, when the Irish host Michigan.

The 6-foot-6, 285-pound Nixon named his finalists as Notre Dame, Clemson, Florida, LSU, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, and West Virginia.

Irish defensive coordinator Corwin Brown is recruiting Nixon, and he has a tight relationship with his head coach at Jack Britt High. A military family, both of Nixon's parents are high on Notre Dame. But will it all be enough in the end? A decision will come at the U.S. Army All-American game in January.

Nixon camped at Notre Dame last summer.

*Xavier Su'a-Filo (Sell): The four-star Su'a-Filo has named his favorites as LSU, Miami, BYU, UCLA, USC, Stanford and Utah. Notre Dame is out.

*Patrick Ward (Sell): Like Jon Budmayr, Notre Dame was definitely an offer that the four-star offensive tackle always wanted. It just may have come too late, as the Irish staff keyed in on a short list of other players. Notre Dame offered Ward earlier this month, as he was trying to eliminate schools, not add them.

The Irish offer has given the 6-foot-7, 290-pound Ward a lot to think about, and he includes Notre Dame among his favorites. If he decides to check out South Bend again and hang out with the current players, that Sell will make a 180-degree turnaround and be a Buy like it did for Zach Martin. But like Budmayr, Ward will probably verbally commit elsewhere.

As the summer turns into fall, and the snow starts falling in winter, expect a few more offers to go out to late bloomers or other prospects the Notre Dame staff has had its eye on. But with 13 talented players already verbally committed, the Irish can recruit the heck out of their current targets and not worry about too much else.


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