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Notre Dame Football Recruiting: How Did We Get To These Numbers?

With a lot of players still on the board and with a few spots open, Notre Dame is trying to max out its roster.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 09 Georgia at Notre Dame Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

About a year ago, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were looking at somewhat smaller recruiting class for 2018. According to the numbers, most thought that the number "20" would be about the maximum amount of recruits the Irish could sign to the class. Some even thought that "18" might be the actual number.

The goal of 85 scholarships each year is a tricky undertaking, and the roster is always extremely fluid. Now, Notre Dame is looking at a really big class for 2018, and it will be the biggest class of the Brian Kelly era. In fact, we are looking at 27 to 28 players possibly.

But how did we get here? Why is this class lining up to be such a large class? Well, that boils down to two things; a need for numbers based on departures and new recruiting philosophy from Brian Kelly and company.


Notre Dame has a fair amount of attrition each year, and although it seems like it's excessive, it's actually pretty normal. We won't include any possible 5th years in this tally, but if you need to know... 7 players didn't make it to their senior year.

2015 Class

  • 4 Star OL Tristan Hoge (transfer)
  • 4 Star LB Josh Barajas (transfer)
  • 4 Star WR Equanimeous St. Brown (NFL Draft)
  • 4 Star WR C.J. Sanders (transfer)
  • 4 Star RB Josh Adams (NFL Draft)
  • 4 Star DT Elijah Taylor (transfer)
  • 3 Star WR Jalen Guyton (transfer)
  • 3 Star S Mykelti Williams (transfer)
  • 3 Star DT Brandon Tiassum (dismissed)
  • 3 Star CB Ashton White (transfer)

10 players in one class is quite a bit, but within the scope of 4 years and the NFL Draft, perhaps it's a normal number with big programs.

2016 Class

  • 3 Star OL Parker Boudreaux (transfer)
  • 3 Star WR Kevin Stepherson (dismissed)
  • 3 Star RB Deon McIntosh (dismissed)
  • 3 Star S Spencer Perry (transfer)

That's a pretty resilient class. Before the recent dismissals of McIntosh and Stepherson, there have only been 2 transfers. Of course all four are from Florida.

2017 Class

  • 3 Star DE Jonathon MacCollister (transfer)
  • 4 Star RB C.J. Holmes (dismissed)

It's an early two - but we keep hearing that Holmes could still find a way back on the team, and MacCollister was never going to play.


That's a grand total of 16 players. So... if you sign the hypothetical 25 players a class, a 16 player loss brings you back down to 84. That's a normal number and only one less of the 85 man limit.

But now we are getting into a little bit of an odd area. With the 21 players Notre Dame signed in December and the one commitment they have for Signing Day next week, the Irish are only one player away from the 85. One player away - and yet they may sign a possible 5 or 6 players on Signing Day.

Why? Because there is most definitely more attrition on the way. We haven't even got to spring football yet when there starts to be more separation with the depth chart and guys that could be too injured to continue playing football. PLUS there is always the grab bag of other things as well (grades, law, acts of God) that could pull a player or two off the roster.

Stay tuned.

2018 Notre Dame Football Scholarship Chart

Position/Year Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior 5th Year
Position/Year Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior 5th Year
Quarterback Phil Jurkovec Avery Davis* Ian Book* Brandon Wimbush*
Running Back Jahmir Smith, C'Bo Flemister Jafar Armstrong* Tony Jones Jr.* Dexter Williams
Tight End George Takacs, Tommy Tremble Cole Kmet, Brock Wright Alize' Mack* Nic Weishar
Wide Receiver Micah Jones, Kevin Austin, Braden Lenzy, Lawrence Keys III Michael Young Chase Claypool, Javon McKinley* Chris Finke*, Miles Boykin*
Center Luke Jones Sam Mustipher
Guard John Dirksen Dillan Gibbons* Tommy Kraemer* Trevor Ruhland* Alex Bars
Tackle Cole Mabry, Jarrett Patterson Josh Lugg*, Robert Hainsey, Aaron Banks* Liam Eichenberg*
Defensive Tackle Jayson Ademilola, Ja'mion Franklin Kurt Hinish, Darnell Ewell*, Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa Micah Dew-Treadway*, Jerry Tillery Jonathan Bonner
Defensive End Justin Ademilola Kofi Wardlow* Ade Ogundeji*, Daelin Hayes, Khalid Kareem, Julian Okwara
Linebacker Matt Bauer, Ovio Oghoufo, Jack Lamb Drew White*, Jordan Genmark Heath Jonathan Jones*, Jamir Jones, DJ Morgan Te'von Coney Drue Tranquill
Rover Shayne Simon Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah*, Isaiah Robertson Asmar Bilal
Safety Derrik Allen, Paul Moala, Houston Griffith Devin Studstill, Jalen Elliott, Alohi Gilman* Nicco Fertitta, Nick Coleman
Cornerback Joe Wilkins Jr., Tariq Bracy, D.J. Brown, Noah Boykin Julian Love, Troy Pride Jr., Donte Vaughn Shaun Crawford**
Specialists John Doerer John Shannon* Justin Yoon Tyler Newsome
27/85 (27) 45/85 (18) 65/85 (20) 79/85 (14) 85/85 (6)
*Eligible For 5th Year **Eligible For 6th Year