There has been some big news going around about the possibility of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish adding another 5th year transfer to its roster for the 2017 season. Big news... and I have purposely chose to not talk about it. Call me old fashioned, but I didn’t want to jinx anything.
For real- it gets that serious for me.
I was perfectly content with Notre Dame sitting at 85 scholarships for 2017, and when the initial list of schools came out that contacted Pagano, I started to dismiss the thought of him transferring to Notre Dame. Another bit of “insight” is that it was leaked out that Pagano wanted to play his final year of college football on the west coast.
South Bend is only slightly out of the realm of being considered a “west coast” school.
I was confident in my gut, that Pagano would be playing his ball elsewhere- and then he trimmed his list. Pagano released a list of 7 schools he is interested in and started to set up visits:
- Notre Dame (March 24)
- Oklahoma Sooners (March 31)
- Arkansas Razorbacks (April 7)
- Texas Longhorns (April 14)
- Oregon Ducks (April 21)
- Nebraska Cornhuskers (NV)
- Cal Golden Bears (NV)
So let’s look at this... There are only two west coast schools here and only Oregon has a visit scheduled. Given what we know, and Oregon being the last visit, I think it’s fair to say that the Ducks are possibly the biggest contenders.
The only other school that truly worries me is Oklahoma. Notre Dame just doesn’t do very well going up against the Sooners for talent. This time could be quite different, however, as Pagano is not a wide-eyed high school kid which makes him less likely to buy into the bullshit hate speech Kerry Cooks throws out. I’m not saying that he won’t land in Norman, but I do think if he does, it’s because that’s where he wants to be.
I’m not aware of all of the roster situations of the seven schools, but as far as the Irish go at defensive tackle, here is what we have from the scholarship chart:
Six upperclassmen and three freshmen. Jerry Tillery and Daniel Cage are penciled in to be the starters at defensive tackle right now, but with a growing uncertainty in regards to Daniel Cage’s health- the Irish would have to start dipping down the depth chart.
My assessment (as it is with a lot of people) is that Pagano could and would start from day one at Notre Dame. This has to be very attractive to him, as well as all of the academic advantages of pursuing that masters degree at Notre Dame.
It’s fair to say that I’m much more receptive to the thought that Pagano could end up in South Bend, and many insiders think the Irish have a great shot as well. It would be MASSIVE for Notre Dame to get a pick-up like this, which is a big need every year. Will he take all of his official visits? I don’t know, but during the normally dead time of May, Irish fans might end up having something to celebrate about for the upcoming season (as opposed to the roster attrition of most years).
Yeah, sign me up- and hopefully Brian Kelly and Mike Elko get Pagano signed up. That’d be swell.