Inside the Numbers

The 2009 recruiting season is headed for the backstretch at this point, but the 2010 recruiting season is just starting to heat up. Nobody is certain how many 2009 prospects will sign with the Irish in February, but we do have a fair idea how many scholarships the Irish might give at each position in 2010. Let's take a look.

The Irish do have some critical needs for next year at certain positions in regards to recruiting—quarterback and defensive line being the most pressing, as well as offensive tackle. It will be important for the Irish to fill those needs to continue adding depth and to build a strong football program. Not only must the Irish fill those needs, but if they want to be a BCS quality team, they'll need to land some elite players at the needed positions.

Note: I'll refer to all players as to what their status will be heading into fall next season. For instance, Jimmy Clausen will be a junior next fall, even though he's currently a sophomore.

Quarterback: 2

Quarterback will be a very important need for the Irish in 2010. Head coach Charlie Weis and the Irish staff must land at least one great prospect next season, and will focus on landing two players total.

At quarterback the Irish currently have two scholarship players in Jimmy Clausen and Dayne Crist. Senior Evan Sharpley might be back for a fifth year, although I believe that's unlikely. However, Sharpley's availability next year won't have a factor on how many players Notre Dame signs in 2010.

Clausen still has two years of eligibly, and Crist has four, but Notre Dame really needs to sign two quarterbacks in this class to give them the depth they need.

Running back: 1 (maybe)

Gone from 2009: James Aldridge and Asaph Schwapp

Every year the Irish seem to sneak in a couple of running backs in their class. Running backs are always great athlete so you can play them at a number of positions. However, the Irish are pretty loaded at running back.

Juniors Robert Hughes and Armando Allen have two years of eligibility. Sophomore Jonas Gray will have three years of eligibility. The Irish plan to sign two freshmen in Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood. That's five running backs with at least two years of eligibility next year. Running back isn't a big need next year. The player would have to be pretty special for the Irish to take another back in 2010.

At fullback Notre Dame would only have Steve Paskorz on the roster in 2009 if they don't sign a fullback this recruiting season. They may need to sign a fullback in 2010 if they don't land Tyler Gaffney this year.

Wide Receiver: 3

Gone from 2009: George West, Robbie Parris and Barry Gallup

The Irish continue to add both depth and talent to this position. Juniors Golden Tate and Duval Kamara lead this unit, and both will have another year after 2009. Sophomores Michael Floyd, Deion Walker and John Goodman are the future. They do add two freshmen in Nyshier Oliver and Shaquelle Evans this season, but the Irish staff will be looking to replace the seniors mentioned above in 2010. Speed will be a priority for the Irish in 2010, but I expect at least one big player to be signed as well.

Tight end: 1-2

Gone from 2009: None

Notre Dame doesn't have a ton of depth at this position. Junior Mike Ragone will have two years after the 2009 season. Sophomores Kyle Rudolph and Joseph Fauria will also have two years. Senior Luke Schmidt's career is likely done at this point. The Irish do have a lot of quality depth at the position, but they'll want to develop some talent to take over for this trio in two years.

The Irish are set to sign two players, Jake Golic and Tyler Eifert in 2009. If both players end up at tight end look for the Irish to sign one. If one plays another position the Irish will likely be in the market for two tight ends in 2010.

Offensive line: 4-5

Gone from 2009: Paul Duncan, Sam Young, Thomas Bemenderfer and Eric Olsen.

Seniors Dan Wenger and Chris Stewart will have one year of eligibility after 2009.

Taylor Dever will have two years after 2009, and if given a medical redshirt, which he should qualify for, classmate Matt Romine will also have two years of eligibility after 2009. Classmate Andrew Nuss will also have two years of eligibility.

Sophomores Braxston Cave, Lane Clelland, Trevor Robinson and Mike Golic will all have multiple years left.

The Irish do add Chris Watt, Alex Bullard and Zach Martin to their roster when the sign in February.

Look for Notre Dame to replace the four they lose and maybe add a fifth. I expect the Irish to try to land at least three offensive tackles and one interior player for 2010. If they can sneak another player in the class, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Irish take five offensive linemen in 2010 if the fifth player is a good prospect.

Defensive line: 4

Gone from 2009: None

The Irish will be thin on upperclassmen after the 2009 season. Seniors Morrice Richardson and Ian Williams will have just one year of eligibility left. Nose guard Paddy Mullen and end Emeka Nwankwo will have two years remaining.

The Irish did have a large sophomore class. Ethan Johnson played as a freshman so he'll only have two years left after 2009, and Kapron Lewis-Moore, Sean Cwynar, Brandon Newman and Hafis Williams will all have three years remaining.

The Irish will add defensive end Tyler Stockton this spring, but will be thin at defensive end after the 2009 season. Look for Notre Dame to sign four defensive linemen in 2010, with three spots likely going to defensive end candidates.

Linebacker: 3

Gone from 2009: Toryan Smith and Kevin Washington.

Senior Kallen Wade's career might be over after a serious injury this past fall. Seniors Brian Smith, Kerry Neal and John Ryan will only have one year of eligibility left after the 2009 season.

Sophomores Steve Filer and Darius Fleming will only have two years of eligibility as they played as freshmen. Classmates Anthony McDonald and David Posluszy will have three years remaining.

Notre Dame will add at least three freshmen to the mix in Carlo Calabrese, Dan Fox and Zeke Motta when they sign with the Irish this year.

Look for the Irish to take at least three linebackers. My guess is they'll be looking for an elite inside backer and two outside backers. I wouldn't be surprised if they grabbed a second inside backer if the player was a great prospect.

Defensive back: 4-5

Gone from 2009: Kyle McCarthy, Sergio Brown, Mike Anello and Ray Herring (if granted a 5th year due to medical hardship).

Notre Dame will be thin at defensive back after the 2009 season. The Irish will have to sign some elite players who can compete early in 2010, especially at safety.

Senior corner Darrin Walls could be back for a fifth year if he chooses, but with a good season next year that isn't likely. Leonard Gordon would also have another year of eligibility. Junior safety Harrison Smith will have two years of eligibility remaining after 2009. Junior Gary Gray will also have two years remaining.

Sophomore Robert Blanton would have two, and classmates Jamoris Slaughter and Dan McCarthy would have three.

Smith, McCarthy and Gordon would be the safety prospects at this point. Blanton, Gray and Slaughter are the corner prospects. That's not a lot of depth.

The Irish do plan to add two more prospects to the list this February in corners Marlon Pollard and E.J. Banks. Banks could also play safety for the Irish. Pollard isn't a "lock" to sign with the Irish, and losing him could complicate things.
,br> Notre Dame will need to sign at least four defensive backs. At least two will be safeties.

The Final Numbers

Quarterback: 2

Running back: 0-1

Wide Receiver 3

Tight End: 1-2

Offensive line: 4-5

Defensive line: 4

Linebacker : 3

Defensive back: 4-5

Total: 22-23 players Top Stories