The Kelly Effect: Offensive Recruits

Notre Dame currently has 18 players committed to the 2010 recruiting class, but Brian Kelly would like to add to that number before signing day on February 3. Although Kelly's target list may change, IrishEyes takes a look at the offensive players that are still considering Notre Dame.

Brian Kelly has a lot on his plate as he nears his first full week as Notre Dame's head football coach, but the lifeblood of every football program is recruiting. For Kelly the main goal is to bring "RKGs" into his program, the right kind of guys. To do that, Kelly's message to recruits will be simple: "You can be part of restoring the great tradition and history of Notre Dame, and I'm going to help you get there. I'm going to develop you as a young man so you get that opportunity to be part of it. Are you in?"

As Kelly turns his attention to recruiting, he'll have a handful of recruits that have Notre Dame scholarship offers and have the Irish still under consideration. On offense, Notre Dame is likely set at quarterback with Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix. If running backs Cameron Roberson and Gio Bernard stick with their commitments, the Irish should be fine here are well. Alex Welch appears to be a solid commitment, so it is unlikely that Kelly would pursue another tight end. The Irish could add another wide receiver and as many as three offensive linemen to this class.

Wide receiver:

Commitments: Daniel Smith, Bennett Jackson, Tai-ler Jones

Targets:

Kyle Prater (6-foot-5, 205-pounds)
Proviso West High School (Hillside, Ill.)

Notre Dame had been in solid position to steal Scout.com's No. 2 ranked wide receiver from USC prior to the coaching change, but the situation appears to have deteriorated over the past couple weeks. Prater could put up huge numbers in Kelly's offense, and he knows it. Kelly is trying to make his case, but as the dead period nears, the likelihood of Kyle wearing a Notre Dame uniform decreases.

Offensive Line:

Commitments: Christian Lombard

Targets:

Seantrel Henderson
(6- foot-8, 301-pounds)
Cretin Derham Hall High School (St. Paul, Minn.)

Henderson is the type of prospect that could make Notre Dame's recruiting class. Despite the coaching change at Notre Dame, the Irish are still in the mix. They've slipped a little, but Brian Kelly will likely have a chance to make his case. Henderson doesn't intend on making his announcement until signing day. Seantrel has already visited Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC. He has a visit scheduled for Florida, and he's still trying to decide who will get his final official visit.

Matt James
(6- foot-8, 280-pounds)
St. Xavier High School (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Notre Dame was in solid shape when Charlie Weis was the head coach, and with James having Cincinnati as one of his top schools, many fans felt the hiring of Brian Kelly would mean that James would commit soon after. Unfortunately it won't be that easy. The key to the equation is Jeff Quinn. Kelly's offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Cincinnati. James has a very good relationship Quinn. If Kelly can get him to South Bend, Notre Dame would have to be the odds on favorite to grab James. If Quinn ends up elsewhere, the Irish would have work to do. Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Ohio State and Florida are the players. James isn't in a rush to make a decision.

Arie Kouandjio
(6- foot-6, 314-pounds)
De Matha Catholic High School (Hyattsville, Md.)

The former Notre Dame staff did an outstanding job of staying in the mix throughout the fall and they did a great job of selling Kouandjio on Notre Dame. He is serious about academics, more so than the head coach, which means that Brian Kelly will have a chance to land Arie if he can get him on campus. Kouandjio has taken two visits (New Mexico, Cal) and has Alabama, Miami and Tennessee lined up. If Kelly can get an in-home with Arie then he may be able to convince him to visit Notre Dame. That's the first step.

Brandon Linder
(6- foot-6, 290-pounds)
St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

A couple months ago I thought Notre Dame had an outstanding shot at landing Linder, and then came the season ending slide, the firing of Charlie Weis, and the coaching search. As it stands now, Brian Kelly would be fortunate to be granted an in-home visit as Linder appears to be down to Miami and Florida. Brandon is a solid kid and a great prospect, but he's closer to being off this list than on it.


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