IrishEyes Stock Report: Defensive Line

Defensive line was one of the highest priorities for the Notre Dame coaching staff as they began to assemble the 2011 recruiting class. Midway through the year the Irish appear to have met half of their needs. IrishEyes takes a look at the top defensive line targets that remain on the board.

Notre Dame already has Tony Springmann and Brad Carrico on board, but the key to the 2011 defensive line class is Aaron Lynch. If the Irish land Lynch you may see the Irish go after another defensive lineman, which would give them the flexibility to move a player around once they arrive on campus. Springmann could be a candidate to slide over to the offensive line. If the Irish landed Troy Nicklas, he could be moved to tight end if he doesn't excel at defensive end. Giorgio Newberry is being recruited by several schools as an offensive tackle, so he's another prospect that could slide over to the other side of the ball. This staff likes flexibility in their players and this group has that.

Aaron Lynch, (6-foot-6, 245-pounds): The product from Island Coast High School (Cape Coral, Fla.) is ranked as the No. 9 defensive end in the country by and he might be the top overall recruit left on Notre Dame's recruiting board. Lynch has all the offers and after taking several unofficial visits during the spring and early summer, he's narrowed his list of schools down to Notre Dame, Florida State, Florida, and Clemson. Notre Dame was in the catbirds seat after Lynch visited campus twice in the spring. Notre Dame's grip on the top spot slipped after Lynch visited Gainesville and Tallahassee in June. Now it appears as if Notre Dame assistant Tony Alford has righted the ship and has the Irish back in the lead. Lynch has scheduled his third unofficial visit to Notre Dame for the end of the month, and this time he will bring his mother. Lynch has been on record as saying that he will announce his college decision at the end of July, so this is a strong … Buy

Stephon Tuitt, (6-foot-5, 252-pounds): The defensive end from Monroe High School (Monroe, Ga.) is ranked No. 16 at his position by He's a big, raw athlete that can add the kind of speed every defensive coordinator covets. Tuitt has a wealth of offers, but the main players are Georgia, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Miami, Tennessee, Auburn, Clemson, Vanderbilt and South Carolina. He has said that Georgia Tech, Notre Dame and Miami will receive three of his official visits. There has been talk that Georgia Tech may be the leader here, but his family is from Miami, and he's has been adamant that Notre Dame is very much in the race. If Tuitt makes it in for his official visit, the Irish will have a chance. Hold

Troy Niklas, (6-foot-6, 235-pounds): The athlete from Servite High School (Anaheim, Calif.) is the No. 16 ranked tight end by The Irish recruited Niklas at tight end, but after they received a commitment from Ben Koyack, the staff decided to try to bring him on as a defensive end. Recently Niklas narrowed his list of schools down to Notre Dame and Stanford. He visited Notre Dame in the past, but Troy may make it out to South Bend this summer and then also take an official visit during the fall. Although Stanford is recruiting him as a tight end, I like Notre Dame's chances Buy

Chase Hounshell, (6-foot-5, 255-pounds): Hounshell isn't rated highly, but the defensive end from Lake Catholic High School (Mentor, Ohio) racked up a solikd offer sheet. He recently named Wisconsin, Boston College, Michigan State, West Virginia and Illinois as his top schools. An offer from Notre Dame would likely thrust them right into the mix. Hounshell made a strong impression on the Notre Dame coaches when he participated in their summer football camp. Before he left, the Irish coaches told him that they were waiting to see where they stood with some of the other prospects, one of those being Aaron Lynch. If Lynch does commit to the Irish at the end of the month, that does not bode well for Hounshell. Sell

Giorgio Newberry, (6-foot-6, 250-pounds): The product out of Fort Pierce Central High School (Fort Pierce, Fla.) is rated the No. 17 defensive end by While he has tremendous potential on the defensive side of the ball, a number of schools are recruiting him as an offensive lineman. Newberry has said that he's more than willing to leave the state of Florida, and he maintains that he is open to every school that is recruiting him. Newberry will take all of his visits and then announce his decision in January. By that time Notre Dame may not have a spot open for him. Sell

Brennan Scarlett, (6-foot-4, 245-pounds): The defensive end from Central Catholic High School (Portland, Ore.) hasn't been easy to get in touch with, so it's difficult to gauge his interest. He has scholarship offers from Notre Dame, USC, UCLA, Oklahoma, Oregon, Cal, Nebraska, Stanford, Washington, Arizona, and Arizona State. If the Irish are going to have a shot, they'll have to get him on campus for an official visit. When a guy doesn't pick up the phone, it's not a good sign. Sell

Ray Drew, (6-foot-4, 240-pounds): The product from Thomas County Central High School (Thomasville, Ga.) is one of the most coveted defensive lineman in the country and ranked as the No. 6 defensive end by Drew has said that he wanted to take a look at Notre Dame, and that he'd likely take an official visit to South Bend. Despite his willingness to keep the Irish under consideration, Drew has menioned that he'd like to play his college football closer to home. Sell Top Stories