Stock Report: Defense

Already securing verbal commitments in the 2009 recruiting class from four-star defensive tackle Tyler Stockton, four-star linebacker Carlo Calabrese, four-star cornerback Marlon Pollard and three-star linebacker Dan Fox was a nice start for the Notre Dame coaching staff.

But there is still quite a few missing pieces on the defensive side of the ball.

The Irish would like to add at least two more defensive ends, two more linebackers, another cornerback, and one to two more safeties.

Notre Dame is out pounding the pavement, chasing after some of the best uncommitted players in the country. They're in on some guys and out on others.

On Wednesday, Irish Eyes took a look at how Notre Dame stood with offensive recruits, giving a Buy (he will be committing to the Irish eventually), Sell (he will head elsewhere), or Hold (too early to tell, but the Notre Dame is definitely in it) tag on each prospect with a scholarship offer. Today, we do the same on the defensive side of the ball.

*Devon Kennard (Sell): The 6-foot-3, 255-pound five-star defensive end was a sell a long time ago. It never seemed like the Phoenix, Ariz., product considered the Irish much, and recently named a top five of USC, UCLA, Arizona State, California and Texas.

*Chris Bonds (Hold): Notre Dame has two hurdles concerning the four-star defensive end from Columbia, S.C. First, Bonds thinks it's cold in South Bend in September. He needs to learn that it's only cold in Northern Indiana a few months a year. Second, that the school may be too far away from home.

The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Bonds recently named the schools he's looking at the hardest as Notre Dame, USC, Michigan, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia, so sure, he's looking at a few schools that are a plane ride away. However, traveling that far for school has come up as a concern. This isn't a road block, just a caution.

Bonds will be visiting Notre Dame on an official visit, Sept. 13th, when the Irish host Michigan. One of two things is going to happen. He's going to fall in love right away, just like former prep teammate Gary Gray did. Or a Kenneth Page is going to happen, and Bonds is going to find a better fit elsewhere.

*Gabe Ikard (Hold): While the 6-foot-4 ½. 250-pound Ikard has been considered a lock to the in-state Sooners, the Oklahoma City product is still considering Oklahoma State, Stanford, Texas A&M and the Irish.

Ikard is sitting down with his folks and calling college recruiters this week to setup visits. He originally targeted the Notre Dame-Stanford game as his first-ever visit to South Bend, but now Ikard wants to visit for the Michigan game.

Notre Dame has great success when kids visit the campus on official visits, and Ikard is definitely a Notre Dame kid. If he does indeed get the trip setup, you have to like the Irish's chances, even if Ikard has grown up an Oklahoma fan.

Ikard also has to decide if he wants to play tight end or defensive end on the next level. The Irish obviously envision him on defense. Places like Oklahoma see him as a pass catcher.

*Nick Kasa (Sell): Though the 6-foot-7, 250-pound five-star standout recently mentioned Notre Dame as a school of interest again, in-state Colorado remains the leader. Kasa is also considering Florida, Oregon and California.

*Craig Roh (Sell): The 6-foot-5, 225-pound four-star defensive end from Arizona will have a top five by the end of the week, although it might not be made public.

Notre Dame made the top 10, but don't expect them to make the list of finalists. If a Midwest school is under consideration, Michigan will be the school Roh looks hard at.

Roh's father said anything can happen, but at the moment, it doesn't look good for Notre Dame.

*Anthony LaLota (Hold): Everyone wanted to see a buy here. That would be the gamble play. The safe play is hold, with the five-star defensive end from Princeton, N.J. keeping everything so close to the vest.

There is no doubt, the 6-foot-6, 260-pound LaLota likes Notre Dame. He has been on campus twice, and the Irish are one of the few schools he's still considering, along with Penn State, Michigan, Boston College, Virginia, Florida and Rutgers.

It doesn't hurt Notre Dame that LaLota's prep teammate, Tyler Stockton is reminding him on a regular basis that South Bend is a great place. But Stockton is going to let LaLota do what's best for him, and that could be another destination.

LaLota could make a decision after visiting Ann Arbor to cap off the summer, or he might take a few official visits before giving a commitment.

*Pat Muldoon (Sell): It seemed like Notre Dame rallied and put themselves in a good position with the 6-foot-4, 255-pound four-star defensive end from Ohio. It seemed like Muldoon had a good trip to South Bend this summer, but he recently named Boston College, Wisconsin, Virginia and Cincinnati as the only programs he's still considering.

*Davon Custis (Buy): How is Custis not a risky buy, but LaLota is?

Because at the moment, the four-star Custis has named his leaders as Boston College, Michigan State, Indiana, Northwestern and Wisconsin, without ever seeing the Notre Dame campus in person. Whether it's on an unofficial visit or official visit, the defensive end and his mother will take in South Bend.

Notre Dame is very similar to St. Francis DeSales, the high school the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Custis stars at. Both he and his mother like that. I have a feeling they're going to like everything the school is about even more, when they observe it in person.

Just stick a sell tag on five-star defensive tackles Jamarkus McFarland, Corey Adams and William Campbell. These players have gone there different ways, and the Irish are very excited to have Stockton in the fold.

*Manti Te'o (Hold): Notre Dame's name is always nearby when the five-star linebacker comes up. Charlie Weis is personally recruiting the Hawaiian standout, and Te'o says he's going to visit.

Weis has given the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Te'o the okay on going on a Mormon Mission during his stay in South Bend. Both he and his family are excited about the academic opportunities Notre Dame provides.

USC and BYU are major players for Te'o as well, and a decision isn't expected to come until after the ball drops on New Years Day.

*Frankie Telfort (Sell): Telfort says all the right things about Notre Dame, and recently told IE he is still considering the Irish, but it just seems like he is destined to stay south.

The Notre Dame coaching staff will have to work a lot of magic, just got get a visit out of the 6-foot, 205-pound Miami product.

If he visits, the stock will bump up to hold. A decision is also expected to come late from Telfort.

*Jelani Jenkins (Hold): The Irish have as good a chance as anybody with the five-star linebacker with a 4.0 GPA. We heard his recent visit to South Bend went well, but even more so than LaLota, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Jenkins and his family are keeping everything close to the vest.

Like Chris Watt did, the Jenkins family is doing its due diligence as far as recruiting goes, visiting a plethora of schools and evaluating everything before narrowing down a list of favorites. Jenkins and his father have been on the West Coast, the East Coast and now the Midwest.

This could come down to the very end in landing the services of the Wheaton, Md., standout.

*E.J. Banks (Buy): For the simple reason, that I just don't see him going to Ohio State.

The 6-foot, 180-pound cornerback has visited Notre Dame twice with his parents, and everyone has been impressed. Banks says he is also considering Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Georgia and a few other places, but it's always seemed like an Irish-Buckeyes battle.

Notre Dame fans could know sooner rather than later if Banks will be joining Pollard in the Irish secondary.

*Ray Ray Armstrong (Sell): The four-star safety from Sanford, Fla., was basically a sell when he got his Notre Dame offer back in February. LSU, Florida and Florida State look to be the favorites here.

*Darren Myles (Sell): I'd like to put a hold here, but a Notre Dame visit never happened this summer, and it seems like the Irish have always been hanging on just to stay in the race with the four-star safety from Atlanta.

Similar to Roh, the Myles family definitely likes what the Irish have to offer, but they may just like a few other programs better. I get that vibe.

I suppose an official visit is a possibility, but I'm not counting on it.

*Terrence Bullitt (Hold): The 6-foot-3, 180-pound safety from Garland, Texas says he will use his first official visit to see Notre Dame.

Bullitt is building a good relationship with Irish assistant coach Rob Ianello, and you have to like the schools Notre Dame is competing against for Bullitt's services. He is also considering Arizona, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and Wisconsin. Throw in the fact that his older brother currently plays for the Indianapolis Colts.

If Texas A&M offers, it could be all she wrote for Bullitt and Notre Dame. Bullitt's father and brother both starred for the Aggies.

*Zeke Motta (Buy): The hard hitting 6-foot-3, 220-pound Vero Beach, Fla., product came to Notre Dame's camp in July to earn a scholarship offer, and he went back to the Sunshine State with just that.

Motta and his father, both had a great time at Notre Dame. Bill Motta is the defensive coordinator at Vero Beach High, and he worked the Irish camp as a counselor.

Notre Dame has already been guaranteed one of Motta's five official visits (sometiem in October or November). No other school has been given that promise, including Auburn where the elder Motta played. Stanford may be the Irish's biggest competition.

*Jawanza Starling (Sell): The four-star safety from Tallahasee, Fla., has put Notre Dame in his final 11, but until a big-time recruit from Lincoln High verbally commits to the Irish, they're all generally going to be a sell. Starling fit's the bill.

Regardless, Notre Dame is still in on a lot of great prospects on the defensive side of the ball. They have a chance to get all their needs from this list alone, and may not have to offer another prospect.

Time will tell. Top Stories