Notre Dame Football Recruiting 2014: A Preseason Look at Numbers

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

OFD takes a look at remaining scholarships available for the class of 2014 as the season approaches.

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Early last week, Eric broke down all the offers to uncommitted 2014 prospects with the August Big Board.

Taking into account Whiskey's latest positional number crunching, it appears that there are 59 scholarships accounted for in 2014, with the remaining 27 to be split between 5th year seniors and incoming freshman. Outside of Christian Lombard, I don't think there are any locks for a 5th year, but Austin Collinsworth and Kendall Moore are likely at the top of the list due to depth and contribution.

Based on those numbers, I think the 2014 class ends up at the magic number of 23, with the potential to grow by one or two more. There is always some wiggle room in that number with injuries, transfers and potential departures for the NFL.

In order to arrive at the numbers needed at each position, let's first review how many I think the staff needs at each position and who is already accounted for.

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Offensive Line (15 Needed - 6 OT/6 OG/ 3 OC):

Tackle (4): Lombard, Stanley, Elmer, McGlinchey

Commits (2): Bars, Nelson

Guard (4): Hanratty, Montelus, Bivin, McGovern

Commits (2): Byrne, Mustipher

Center (3): Hegarty, Harrell, N. Martin

Comments:

Coach Brian Kelly already stated that Power was the focus for the 2014 class, and the offensive line numbers certainly support that. Bivin can probably play anywhere, so positional numbers are a bit flexible. Overall, they are right on target for total offensive linemen.

I originally said that I felt the staff would take at least two tackles and four overall-exactly where they are currently. There still appears to be room for one more elite prospect and there really are only two guys left who fit that bill: Braden Smith (KS) and Damien Mama (CA). Smith will likely wait until he takes all of his visits, but ND looks to be falling back behind Alabama, Texas A&M and TCU. Mama just released a top 5 that includes Notre Dame and is in the process of scheduling an official visit. The staff may be interested in recruiting him as a NG, provided they see the requisite skill set and he is interested.

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Offensive Skill (23 Needed - 4 QB/5 RB/4 TE/10 WR):

Quarterback (2): Golson, Zaire

Commits (1): Kizer

Running Back (6): McDaniel, G. Atkinson, Carlisle, Mahone, Bryant, Folston

Commits (1): Hood

Tight End (4): Koyack, Niklas, Heuerman, Smythe

Commits (1): Weishar

Wide Receiver (7): Daniels, Brown, Prosise, Onwualu, Robinson, Hunter, Fuller

Commits (2): Brent, Holmes

Comments:

Some have speculated that they could take two QBs this cycle, but it is more likely that fans see a 5th year for Hendrix (if he wants it). I find it very unlikely that the staff would want to enter a season with just 3 scholarship QBs on the roster (and one being a freshman), but that is the plan for 2013 so it isn't unprecedented.

At running back, it also appears that the staff is done after taking Hood. If the depth chart changes at any point this fall, they would likely add another back. Donte Thomas-Williams (NC) would be the guy at the top of the list for the staff to look at in the event they needed to add another back.

Based on planned attrition due to graduation, it would appear that the magic number on wide receivers and tight ends combined for this cycle is four. The staff already has one of each position, and Tyler Luatua (CA) is likely the only TE left that the staff would take. Top receiver targets are Josh Malone (TN), Alan Lazard (IA - current Iowa State commit), and Isaiah McKenzie (FL). McKenzie was ready to announce his decision, but then delayed-as sign that he may be ready to commit to the Irish, but they are still keeping other options open.

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Defensive Line (11 Needed - 7 DE/4 NG):

Defensive End (6): Tuitt, Hounshell, Day, Jones, Rochelle, Matuska

Commits (3): Hayes, Trumbetti, Blankenship

Nose Guard (1): Springmann

Commits (1): Dickerson

Comments:

Some of the players listed at particular positions could potentially rotate to other spots, so I will focus on overall numbers. There are 7 accounted for plus two commitments, with the potential that Stephon Tuitt decides to leave early for the NFL. The staff will likely take at least one more, with the focus a one true NG (a.k.a. War Daddy). As stated previously, power has been the focus and will continue to be until the defensive line quota is met.

Top targets here appear to be Malik McDowell (DE -- MI), Thomas Holley (DE - NY), and Matt Elam (NG - KY). The staff has a fair amount of work cut out for them here, but Holley appears to be a slight ND lean at this point. Another potential prospect for a NG is Damien Mama (CA), who is listed above with the offensive lineman. Solomon Thomas (TX) is one other name to watch. He comes from the same high school as Cam McDaniel and is very similar to a Kapron Lewis-Moore type DE.

Holley attends the same high school that produced Ishaq Williams and will return for an official visit. Elam just set an OV to South Bend for the USC game-huge news for Notre Dame.

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Linebackers (13 - 7 OLB, 6 ILB):

Inside LB (3): Grace, Rabasa, Deeb

Commits (2): Martini, Bonner

Outside LB (5): Williams, Councell, Okwara, Smith, Randolph

Commits (1): Yeargin

Comments:

Clearly, there are depth issues at inside linebacker. This will likely result in Kendall Moore earning a 5th year and Doug Randolph seeing practice reps inside this fall. The staff already has three verbal commitments with recent commts Bonner likely getting a first look Inside and Yeargin Outside. The staff will look to add one Cat LB (while having a few verbal commits who could fill that role), with the top target there being Lorenzo Carter (GA). Other top linebacker targets include Andrew Williams (GA), Nyles Morgan (IL), Reakwon McMillan (GA).

The staff will likely continue to work on other prospects currently committed to other schools. They were making some headway with Dante Booker (Ohio State commit, but they are looking at other LBs), and reportedly stay in contact with Deon Drake (Michigan State commit).

Lorenzo Carter recently announced a top 7 that included Notre Dame-a bit of a surprise to many on a national level. I really like where the Irish are here, though they are still a long shot to land him. He values academics and wants to study engineering in college. Alabama and Florida appear to be leaders, but that could all change through the course of the fall.

~~~

Secondary (13 Needed - 6 CB, 6 S, 1 DB):

Cornerbacks (6): Brown, J. Atkinson, Russell, Luke, Butler, Kinlaw

Safeties (7): Hardy, Farley, Badger, Baratti, Shumate, Redfield, Turner

Comments:

It is actually amazing to see how well the staff has addressed depth issues at DB over the past two classes-which includes moving a player recruited as a safety to WR (Prosise). There will likely be some movement here with players changing positions, but it looks like the staff should only take two DBs in this class. Top targets include Nick Watkins (TX), Michah Quick (CA), Jalen Tabor (DC) and Juju Smith (CA). Watkins and Quick are the most likely of that group, but Quick could also play WR at the college level.

~~~

Special Teams (5 - 2 K, 2 P,1 LS):

Kicker (1): Brindza

Punter (0):

Commits: Newsome

Long Snapper (1): Daly

Comments:

The staff found a top kicker for this cycle and in addition to two preferred walk-ons for the Fall of 2013, they appear to be in great shape moving forward.

~~~

Final Review:

As a recap, here are the numbers needed at each position for the 2014 recruiting class:

Offensive Line: 4 (Bars, Byrne, Mustipher, Nelson) - Likely Done

Quarterback: 1 (Kizer) - Likely Done

Running Back: 1 (Hood) - Likely Done

Receiver: 4 (Brent, Holmes, Weishar) - 1-2 more

Defensive End: 3-4 (Blankenship, Hayes, Trumbetti) - Likely Done

Nose Guard: 1-2 (Dickerson) - Biggest Need

Inside Linebacker: 2-3 (Bonner, Martini) - 1 more likely

Outside Linebacker: 2 (Yeargin) - 1 more definite

DB: 2 - Second biggest Need

Kicker/Punter: 1 (Newsome) -- Done

Total: 21-24

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