Historically, the football banquet weekend has been a big one for recruits and official visitors. The 2011 edition is no different, with nine senior athletes slated to be in attendance (four of which are already verbal commitments).
The list is coming up after the jump.
Gunner Kiel, QB - Columbus, IN (6'4"/210)
Ronnie Stanley, OT - Las Vegas, NV (6'6"/285)
Joshua Garnett, OT - Puyallup, WA (6'5"/304)
Davonte Neal, ATH - Paradise Valley, AZ (5'9"/170)
Schyler Miles, ILB - Tampa, FL (6'2"/220)
Notre Dame Commitments
Scott Daly, LS - Downers Grove, IL (6'4"/230)
Sheldon Day, DT - Indianapolis, IN (6'2"/286)
Taylor Decker, OT - Vandalia, OH (6'8"/315)
John Turner, S - Indianapolis, IN (6'2"/205)
Since I will break down the commitments after they officially sign in February, I won't spend much time discussing them here. Day, Decker and Turner are all solid athletes that could contribute right away through depth or special teams. Daly will battle with Jordan Cowart for long snapping duties, with them conceivably splitting short and long snapping on special teams.
Of the uncommitted group, the obvious headliner is Gunner Kiel. There isn't much more to be said that hasn't already. The kid has the arm strength, mobility and accuracy to be an excellent fit in Brian Kelly's offense, and this marks his final official visit. Oh, and you might have heard of his uncle Blair...he may have played QB at Notre Dame at one point.
Stanley and Garnett are two big, athletic offensive tackles. Kelly would probably love to sign either one, but it may be a stretch with both being left-coast guys (author's note: yes, I am considering Las Vegas on the west coast-if SDSU, SMU, Houston, and Boise State are in the Big East, then Vegas can be on the west coast).
Neal was just named the Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. He is a phenomenal athlete that will likely play WR at the college level. He just started taking visits and has another scheduled for Arkansas in January.
Miles is an interesting prospect in that he is just now getting some attention. It appears that this is a two horse race between the Irish and Florida (from whom he just received an official offer). It appears that he would need a year to bulk up, but is a solid tackler and aggressive ILB. Also, he just happens to be teammates and very good friends with one Nelson Agholor.
It will be good to see if Brian Kelly and his staff can translate all the recruiting momentum they have built over the past two weeks of in-home visits into some verbal commitments, and it wouldn't surprise me to see at least one after the weekend.