Football season is just around the corner and with some changes to Notre Dame's roster it's time to discuss scholarships again.
Let's get to the numbers!
Out of Eligibility Following the 2015 Season:
WR Chris Brown, WR Amir Carlisle, TE Chase Hounshell, C Nick Martin, DE Romeo Okwara, DE Ishaq Williams, DT Sheldon Day, LB Jarrett Grace, LB Joe Schmidt, DB Matthias Farley, S Elijah Shumate, S Avery Sebastian
Whether he plays or not Ishaq Williams will count against the 85-man limit and is in his last year of eligibility. Also, we must publicize that several players could be leaving Notre Dame with eligibility remaining once the 2015 season concludes.
2015-16 Academic Classes
- 23 Freshmen
- 21 Sophomores
- 20 Juniors
- 12 Seniors
- 8 Graduate Students
With the retirements of Deeb and Heuerman the Irish have dipped below the 85-man limit, with the extra scholarship likely going to Montgomery VanGorder again.
List of Eligible 2016 Fifth-Year Seniors
OT Ronnie Stanley
CB KeiVarae Russell
DT Jarron Jones
WR C.J. Prosise
LS Scott Daly
OL Mark Harrell
S John Turner
The tiers haven't changed since our last update. Last time we also used an example of 4 players coming back for a 5th-year and we'll stick to that for today, as well.
23 + 21 + 20 + 4 = 68 Scholarships
Losing two redshirt sophomores instantly gives Notre Dame some much needed breathing room for the 2016 class which at minimum is projected to be 17 players. Factor in a couple players leaving early for the NFL and the odds are that 2016 is going to be 20 or 21 bodies by next February.
Roster (3): Zaire RS So, Kizer RS Fr, Wimbush Fr
You could argue the need for a 2016 quarterback is high with just 3 signal-callers left on the roster. But 3 player ranked as the 45th, 168th, and 232nd best recruits in the country with a combined 11 years of eligibility remaining is a nice spot to be in for now.
Taking a quarterback every year is usually the best course of action, but not always. Johnson will be back on campus later this month and Notre Dame is going to do what it takes to bring their top target, whose an elite 5-star, at quarterback for once.
Roster (5): Folston Jr, Prosise, RS Jr, Bryant RS So, Williams Fr, Adams Fr
Commits (1): Jones
Whether Prosise is now a running back or not doesn't have a huge effect for recruiting and scholarships, but the year-long suspension of Greg Bryant puts in doubt the Floridians career at Notre Dame. Frankly, I thought 2 backs were needed in this class before the news broke and I think there needs to be a change in the attack at tailback.
Roster (11): Fuller Jr, Brown Sr, Robinson Jr, Carlisle 5th Sr, Hunter RS So, Brent So, Holmes RS Fr, Sanders Fr, St. Brown Fr, Guyton Fr, Boykin Fr
Commits (2): Stepherson, Claypool
We originally thought this would be a smaller wideout class but all indications are that this will not be the case. Today, Notre Dame is open to welcoming slot WR Damian Alloway as well as Javon McKinley, so back-to-back 4-man hauls is in play.
Too many bodies? I think so, but the staff seems to prefer ~12 bodies here and with Carlisle and Brown gone, Fuller possibly leaving early for the NFL, and Prosise spending a lot of time at running back, another large class keeps Notre Dame at their quota.
Roster (5): Smythe RS So, Luatua So, Weishar, RS Fr, Jones Fr, Hounshell, 5th Sr
The loss of Heuerman won't impact recruiting here all that much. The Irish already have the top tight end for 2017 in Brock Wright, plus the 4th ranked tight end in Cole Kmet is really digging Notre Dame right now. Seems like the Irish have a plan to skip 2016 and bring in 2 bodies next cycle.
Roster (3): Martin 5th Sr, Mustipher RS Fr, Hoge Fr
No need to bring in a center prospect for a third straight year, with Mustipher making the switch last year.
Roster (6): Elmer Jr, Nelson RS Fr, Montelus RS So, McGovern RS So, Byrne, RS Fr, Ruhland Fr
Commits (1): Boudreaux
Nice and full at guard where, if Elmer stays for his senior season as expected, the staff might have to move someone here to center just to get reps for everyone across 3 full offensive lines.
Roster (5): Stanley RS Jr, McGlinchey RS So, Bars RS Fr, Bivin RS So, Harrell RS Jr
Commits (2): Kraemer, Eichenberg
If both verbals are remaining at tackle things are set. However, if one of them projects inside at some point down the road another body at tackle could be possible. All indications are that Notre Dame would be open to that but only if it was an elite prospect.
Roster (6): Okwara Sr, Rochell Jr, Trumbetti, So, Bonner RS Fr, Blankenship So, Randolph RS So
Commits (3): Okwara, Jones, Ogundeji
Now we're in an interesting position as a pair of developmental prospects are in the class with the low 4-star Okwara. The way ahead is either landing a highly ranked pass rusher, or if that's not in the cards, perhaps grabbing 2 more lesser touted recruits.
Roster (10): Day Sr, Jones RS Jr, Hayes So, Tillery Fr, Matuska RS So, Cage So, Mokwuah RS Fr, Dew-Treadway Fr, Taylor Fr, Tiassum Fr
We've been waiting to see if a tackle prospect becomes a priority and it isn't happening. The scenario may play out where one of the handful of defensive ends eventually grows into a tackle. There just isn't a big need here for 2016.
Roster (4): Schmidt 5th Sr, Morgan So, Grace 5th Sr, Barajas Fr
See below for complete linebacker talk.
Roster (2): Smith Jr, Coney Fr,
Roster (4): Onwualu Jr, Martini So, Hill So, Bilal Fr
Even though Deeb was running with the third team his loss opens up a valuable scholarship and need for more linebackers. We still have to wait and see how all 3 positions shuffle out this year, especially with the freshmen, and either way 2 linebackers has to be a minimum with 3 not a bad decision if there's room.
With the threat of Jaylon Smith leaving early, and Schmidt and Grace done after the fall, there could be a loss of 4 total linebackers from this summer's roster.
Roster (8): Russell RS Jr, Luke Jr, Farley 5th Sr, Watkins So, Butler Jr, Crawford Fr, Coleman Fr, White Fr
Commits (1): Love
We can safely assume that, at minimum, 5 corners will be coming back next year. With Love becoming the 6th corner there's a need and want for a couple more bodies. Russell or Luke staying for 2016 could change things but 3 corners for this class feels necessary.
Roster (8): Shumate Sr, Redfield Jr, Sebastian 5th Sr, Tranquill, So, Baratti, RS Jr, Turner RS Jr, Williams Fr, Fertitta Fr
Commits (2): Elliott, Perry
Notre Dame is in line to add 2 more safeties to go with the current verbals. It's potentially a lot of bodies. However, with Shumate and Sebastian gone and the health of Baratti a constant concern, not to mention the mysteries of the future starters at this position, it could be quite necessary.
Roster (3): Daly RS Jr, Newsome RS Fr, Yoon Fr
Commits (1): Shannon
Notre Dame looks all set with young players at kicker, punter, and long-snapper.
Remaining Priority Targets for 2016:
The Irish recruiting class has more than doubled in just over 2 month's time this summer. Suddenly we've gone from people freaking out (an annual tradition, of course) about the lack of recruits to slowing down as the class approaches the back end of its capacity.
We can project at least another 4 spots for 2016 with 8 or 9 spots within reach. If the class can add 9 more bodies, and finish with 22 total, that could leave room to pick up 2 more corners, 1 more safety, 2 more receivers, 2 linebackers, an extra running back, and an extra defensive end.