Our last look at the Notre Dame football roster and scholarship availability was about 6 weeks ago and since then it has been one of the more volatile summer seasons for recruiting in recent memory. The Irish 2015 recruiting class has nearly doubled in size within a month's time, an elite quarterback left the class, and there has been some attrition as well.
Let's get right to the numbers.
Out of Eligibility Following 2014 Season:
OL Lombard, DT Utupo, LB Moore, CB Riggs, S Collinsworth, RB McDaniel, TE Koyack, DE Williams, CB Atkinson, K/P Brindza
Obviously nothing has changed here since our last update. Use it for reference purposes.
2015-16 Academic Classes
- 17 Verbal Freshmen Commits
- 22 Sophomores
- 22 Juniors
- 12 Seniors
- 15 Fifth-Year Seniors
88 Total Scholarships
With the subtraction of quarterback Blake Barnett and the addition of 9 new commits the 2015 verbals are now sitting at 17 players. With the transfer of Nile Sykes the sophomores-to-be in 2015-16 are down to 22 players. While there is no word on the long-term future of receiver Will Mahone (he is not enrolled in school right now) for the purposes of this post we will assume he no longer has a scholarship. Mahone might very well return to the team down the road but the staff can probably recruit for an extra scholarship now and deal with the numbers crunch many months from now should he be reinstated in school. At any rate, without Mahone that decreases the seniors for next year to just 12 bodies.
If no 5th-year senior are asked back then there is room for 12 more recruits in the 2015 class. Obviously, some 5th-year players will be coming back and the Irish will not be welcoming a class of 29 recruits. To the 5th-year list!
List of 5th-Year Seniors
The word from sources coming out of South Bend is that the staff is prepared to push this class to as many as 24 players. From our last update the safe number of 5th-year seniors was 9, but if the 2015 class is 24 deep then only 5 seniors with an extra year of eligibility can come back without further attrition.
A class of 24 moves the cut-off point from the Farley/Schmidt range up to the top of the borderline group. With a player or two leaving early for the NFL and some further roster attrition the amount of 5th-year senior coming back could creep back towards that 9 target number. Since the program hasn't typically turned away solid contributors in recent years--and there's inevitably some attrition--we will probably see the likes of Springmann, Councell, and Carlisle coming back if they are healthy.
Roster (3): Golson, Zaire, Kizer
As Blake Barnett left the class and committed to Alabama that leaves the Irish without a body for the 2015 class. With the options dwindled at this point in the summer the staff may be comfortable with passing on a QB this cycle but I still expect the outlook at this position to change in about 5 months' time. It wouldn't surprise me if a quarterback is indeed part of this class even if it looks unlikely right now.
Roster (3): McDaniel, Folston, Bryant
Commits (1): Adams
Josh Adams is on board at a position of great need. The coaches are still looking to add another highly regarded back and may take two more if they are the right players.
Roster (9): Daniels, Carlisle, Brown, Prosise, Fuller, Robinson, Hunter, Brent, Holmes
Commits (3): Boykin, Guyton, Sanders
With Mahone removed he decreases the receiver depth and his flexibility as a former running back hurts the backfield as well if he never returns to the team. However, Miles Boykin recently committed and makes this class even stronger at the position. Notre Dame is still actively recruiting some elite prospects like Equanimeous St. Brown and would take a player like him if they can.
Roster (5): Koyack, Smythe, Heuerman, Luatua, Weishar
Our last update had Notre Dame likely passing on a tight end this cycle and nothing has changed this summer to alter that line of thinking.
Roster (2): Martin, Hegarty
Commits (1): Hoge
Everything is awesome.
Roster (7): Lombard, Elmer, Hanratty, Harrell, Montelus, Mustipher, Byrne
Commits (1): Ruhland
Everything is awesome.
Roster (6): Stanley, McGlinchey, Bivin, McGovern, Nelson, Bars
Commits (1): Tillery
Everything is awesome.
Roster (9): I. Williams, Okwara, Hounshell, Rabasa, Trumbetti, Blankenship, Bonner, Hill, J. Williams
Still looking for an impact pass-rushing defensive end for this class and it will be a major priority until National Signing Day. With 5 current freshmen on campus numbers aren't a huge need here as much as fit into the new VanGorder system. Even still, Ishaq will be gone and Hounshell + Rabasa may not be back next year. A couple of recruits should be a good target.
Roster (9): Day, Jones, Springmann, Utupo, Rochell, Matuksa, Hayes, Mokwuah, Cage
Commits (3): Taylor, Tiassum, Dew-Treadway
With the early summer verbals of The Three T's there isn't a big need on the interior of the defensive line anymore. Notre Dame will still keep in touch with a few targets but I think the odds are good they're done here unless a major star selects the Irish late in the process.
Roster (7): Grace, Schmidt, Moore, Deeb, Randolph, Morgan, Martini
Commits (1): Barajas
Plenty of bodies at inside linebacker but not a lot of experience. Grace, Schmidt, and Moore could conceivably all be off the team next year. Another tough middle linebacker like Tevon Coney is definitely a want and need.
Roster (6): Smith, Councell, Turner, Onwualu, Sykes, Tranquill
We'll see how VanGorder's system uses outside linebackers this year and whether a player like Barajas is destined to the strong-side, weak-side, or stays in the middle. Either way another target on the outside (Asmar Bilal) is a priority for this cycle.
Roster (8): Russell, Luke, Riggs, Butler, Farley, Brown, Atkinson, Watkins
Commits (4): Coleman, Crawford, Fertitta, White
Coleman, Crawford, White
This is how you re-shape your secondary. Three corners have committed this summer while Fertitta is still listed as a safety but projects to corner in college. Keep in mind someone like Nick Coleman could grow into a safety at the next level.
Roster (5): Collinsworth, Redfield, Shumate, Hardy, Baratti
Commits (1): McKinney
Coleman may have to grow into a safety with little headway being made on a second safety for 2015. The staff is clearly still pursuing another top corner which leaves safety a little light moving forward.
Roster (3): Brindza, Daly, Newsome
Commits (1): Yoon
During the last update I mentioned it would be a good idea to find a walk-on kicker but the staff went out and got a verbal from the country's top placekicker instead. Good job!
Priority Targets for 6 More Scholarships:
From a numbers standpoint there's not a huge need for another receiver or defensive back so it wouldn't be a major shock to see the program swing and miss at those positions. A quarterback, second defensive end, and third running back/versatile athlete slot in as the next positions of need if the staff moves on from a position listed above.