Saturday, January 3, 2009

Irish Recruiting Overview

With both the Army All-American Bowl and Under Armour All-American Game being played this weekend, I thought I'd take a look at where the Irish are with recruiting to this point.


EJ Banks, CB, (5'11, 181)
The Skinny: Another speedy (4.5) lockdown corner for the Irish secondary.
2009 Prospects: Not great. There's a ton of depth at his position and Banks tore his ACL in team's last game of the 2008 season.

Alex Bullard, OG, (6'3, 275)
The Skinny: A great get for ND. Very physical, highly-recruited (Alabama, Michigan, Oklahoma, etc.) guard from a state (TN) the Irish have done well in as of late.
2009 Prospects: Decent. With his size and strength, there's a chance Bullard could log some minutes in 2009.

Carlo Calabrese, ILB, (6'2, 225)
The Skinny: Though not as highly recruited as some recent Irish linebackers, Calabrese is an aggressive, "nasty" player that Weis really likes.
2009 Prospects: Probably won't see the field much in 2009. There are some solid players ahead of him, so his freshman year will likely be more about learning the system and getting acclimated to the college game.

Jordan Cowart, SNP, (6'2, 225)
The Skinny: Talk about a specialty pick. Cowart was recruited specifically as a snapper. That's it. Still, given the importance of special teams, this could be a wise move.
2009 Prospects: Absolutely has a real chance to see the field in '09.

Tyler Eifert, TE, (6'5, 225)
The Skinny: Lightly recruited (Cincinnati, Miami (OH), Northwestern) as an athlete; Notre Dame has opted to put Eifert at TE. Hails from the same high school as sophomore receiver, John Goodman.
2009 Prospects: Probably needs at least a year to bulk up and settle in to TE at the college level.

Shaquelle Evans, WR, (6'1, 190)
The Skinny: A true blue-chipper. Everyone and their brother wanted this kid. Smart (3.5 GPA, 1230 SAT) and unbelievably talented.
2009 Prospects: He will absolutely be playing in 2009. With the departure of David Grimes, a spot opens up among the WRs. Evans could be this season's Michael Floyd.

Dan Fox, OLB, (6'4, 219)
The Skinny: Not highly-recruited (West Virginia, Kansas, Cincinnati), Fox is believed to be a work-in-progress who is just beginning to realize his considerable potential.
2009 Prospects: Will certainly need at least a year to
allow the talent around him to bring out his best.

Jake Golic, TE, (6'4, 216)
The Skinny: Like his brother Mike last year, was the first commit of this year's class.
2009 Prospects: While well thought of in high school, Golic will need to bulk up considerably before hitting the field as a tight end in college.

Zach Martin, OT, (6'5, 270)
The Skinny: A nice pick-up for the Irish at a very important position where there's a real need for depth. Martin had been highly recruited by Michigan.
2009 Prospects: Depending on how games go this year, it's entirely possibly Martin might have a chance to see the field late in order to get him some experience. Again, OT is a tremendously important position and the more reps a player has, the better.

Zeke Motta, OLB, (6'2, 207)
The Skinny: Notre Dame beat out Florida and UCLA for the services of Motta; a beast of a tackler.
2009 Prospects: Very good. If Harrison Smith moves to safety (as expected), Motta would be well-positioned to get some reps at OLB.

Nyshier Oliver, WR, (5'10, 170)
The Skinny: Decommitted from Tennessee prior to being offered by the Irish. A speedy (4.4) former running back. Oliver is similar in size to George West and background to Golden Tate.
2009 Prospects: Much like Deion Walker last year, Oliver will benefit from a year backing up the enormously talented WRs in the Irish fold.

Marlan Pollard, CB, (6'1, 160)
The Skinny: Exceptionally talented player who had originally comitted to UCLA.
2009 Prospects: Good. Pollard could be this year's Robert Blanton. Even in a crowded defensive backfield, Pollard could see some PT.

Theo Riddick, RB, (5'10, 185)
The Skinny: While not nearly as highly-touted as some of his Irish backfield mates, Riddick has speed (4.4) and nice numbers, rushing for 1,192 yards (7.5 ypc) and 13 TDs his junior year, in spite of missing three games with an injury.
2009 Prospects: Riddick finds himself coming into a very deep ND backfield so, it is likely he will need to wait his turn for a few seasons. This can only help his development.

Tyler Stockton, DT, (6'1, 290)
The Skinny: A big-time player who has been compared favorably to Trevor Laws.
2009 Prospects: Decent. Given the lack of depth on the DL, Stockton certainly has an opportunity to make a name for himself early. If he can push some of the incumbents, he could see the field sooner rather than later.

Nicholas Tausch, K, (6'1, 180)
The Skinny: A solid kicker who had a long of 53-yards his senior season.
2009 Prospects: Moderate. If Walker struggles again, Tausch can make a play for the role. As of now, his best chance may be on kickoffs, for which his strong leg may be well-suited.

Ben Turk, P, (6'0, 190)
The Skinny: Averaging around 40-yards per kick in high school, Turk will enter ND with teammate Jordan Cowart.
2009 Prospects: Moderate. Should injury or the lure of baseball take Maust out of the picture, the punting job would fall to Turk.

Chris Watt, OG, (6'3, 280)
The Skinny: An enormously important get for ND. Watt is a first-team USA Today All-American who had offers from everyone.
2009 Prospects: While ND returns its top three guards from this season, the lack of a running game could lead to some experimenation along the line, with Watt being a likely entrant.

Cierre Wood, RB, (6'0, 192)
The Skinny: Yet another first-team USA Today All-American, Wood is an all-world player with talent and versatility.
2009 Prospects: Like classmate, Shaquelle Evans, Wood will absolutely see the field in 2009. While carries may be tough to come by, he may have an opportunity on special teams returning kicks.


Jordan Barrett, ILB, (6'3, 225)
The Skinny: Hailing from the same high school as Dayne Crist and Anthony McDonald, Barrett is a defensive beast who racked up over 100 tackles his junior year.
Irish Prospects: Slim. While Barrett has not yet committed, all indications suggest that he will likely remain on the west coast.

Tyler Gaffney, FB, (6'1, 215)
The Skinny: Gaffney was the 2008 San Diego Player of the Year and, with Asaph Schwapp graduating, would be an important get in this class.
Irish Prospects: Good. It's still a three-team race between ND, Stanford and USC but, it's believed, Gaffney is an Irish lean. He makes an official visit to Stanford on 1/9.

Jelani Jenkins, OLB, (6'1, 210)
The Skinny: A five-star linebacker with smarts (4.0 GPA), Jenkins is still being pursued by several schools; though he has had good experiences on campus at ND.
Irish Prospects: Questionable. A few weeks ago, it was falsely reported that Jenkins was heading to Florida. While that turned out to not be the case, Jenkins does have many suitors and it's hard to say where the Irish fit in.

Jawanza Starling, S, (6'2, 195)
The Skinny: A big, physical hitter. Starling racked up 98 tackles, 10 tfl and 2 picks his junior year.
Irish Prospects: Fading. While Starling still plans on scheduling an official visit to ND, he is said to be leaning towards Georgia where his cousin, Bryan Evans, plays.

Manti Te'o, ILB, (6'2, 230)
The Skinny: All-everything, 5-star linebacker who is one of the top overall prospects in the 2009 class. A devout Mormon, Te'o will be leaving school after his freshman year to go on a two-year mission.
Irish Prospects: Tough to say. Te'o will likely make no decision before signing day on 2/4, but is still being very actively pursued by USC, UCLA, Stanford and BYU.

UPDATE: Clearly, the biggest news of the last few days is the committment of Christian Lombard to the Class of 2010. Lombard is phenomenal talent and a great addition to the program. One other piece of recruiting news that is not nearly as cheery is that CB Marlon Pollard, who had committed to the Irish in July, will be taking an official visit to UCLA this weekend. Pollard had originally committed to the Bruins in 2007 and it had been rumored that he was reconsidering. Corwin Brown is scheduled to fly out and meet with Pollard tomorrow. Here's hoping he can keep him in the ND family.


Jim said...

Appreciate the posting, BH. Couple of comments:
EJ Banks-You always have to worry about how this injury will affect his speed and ability to make sharp cuts.
Jordan Cowart-CW has put action to his words on the importance of special teams. It wasn't all rhetoric.
Nyshier Oliver-This guy may be the most underrated in the class. Tennesee really wanted him.
Marlon Pollard-I do not see him making the firld as a freshman. He will need 20-30 lbs. extra weight or he will get pushed around.

Jay-A said...

Jim - Thanks for the comment. You make some great points. As for Pollard, I agree with you. He definitely needs to add some bulk before he'll be able to hit the field in '09. Another concern with him, that I should have mentioned, there are rumors floating around that he's reconsidering UCLA. Let's hope that's not true.