Scholarship Numbers: Do We Have Room for Any More Recruits?

Notre Dame has an interesting problem. We might not have enough room for all the great players that want to play for us and, unlike some other schools, we will not participate in “gray-shirting” or other forms of over-signing. However, given the current circumstances, our class of 22 may already force us to let some young men that are already Irish leave us.

There have been rumors swirling about Danny Mattingly, and Jamel James leaving the class. But, as of now they are still committed even if they are taking other visits. So, if we are able to get a “blue chip” type recruit (see Max Redfield,) it’ll put us in a bind of choosing between a kid that’s already given four years to us and the future of the program.

Currently the numbers look like this:

  • 17 Freshmen
  • 24 Sophomores
  • 19 Juniors
  • 9 Seniors that will be eligible to apply for a 5th year
  • 22 Verbal Commitments

That’s going to give us a total of 91. We’re allowed 85 scholarship players, putting us 6 over the limit.

Let’s look at the number that is most likely to be adjusted for the new incoming class, namely 5th year seniors. Leadership from 5th year seniors is unquestionably a great asset for any team. But, trading one year for four is just bad business, even if the four aren’t guaranteed to be good.

Two players, I think, and many others think, that are assuredly gone are Tyler Stockton and Jake Golic. Golic never really found a home shifting positions throughout his career. Stockton is in the middle of our deepest part of the depth chart. That puts us to 89.

After his injury, Nick Tausch lost his job to Brinzda. Brinzda’s been streaky, but always comes through when we need him (Stanford!). I don’t see the Irish giving Tausch an extra year. Gives us 88.

We can almost assuredly assume Tyler Eifert will go pro. He could’ve last year and didn’t. Perhaps the outcome of this year will effect his decision, maybe it will not. He will have his degree and his Senior day, not much left to stay for after a great year for the team. That’s down to 87.

Next comes the question of Cierre Wood. He has the option to stay for a 5th year, and I had a sneaking suspicion that he would take it after he was suspended at the beginning of the year. But, even with sharing carries, he has done quite well and likely would be in the middle rounds of the draft.  His mother has said he is “70-30″ going vs not going. If her input is as accurate as it was for his college recruiting, he’s gone. If he returns, he’ll be the workhorse of a crowded backfield.

Dan Fox and Carlos Calabrese have 5th year options. Both have had pretty solid years, but we have outstanding young linebackers coming in. What do you do here? Keep one? Keep both? Manti leaves a huge leadership vacuum there.

Zach Martin and Chris Watt are both starters on an O-line that has at times been dominant. Not sure if either has done enough to push forward to high rounds in the pros. My gut tells me one of them goes pro and I’d bet on it being Chris Watt. So that gives us 86.

So we’re already in a tough decision area with 86. Fox or Calabrese or both might have to go. I doubt both considering the monumental loss of leadership on defense with Te’o going. If Martin and Watt go pro then we are still at a break even or have just room for one more.

There’s also a chance that I shudder at the thought of: Louis Nix III could go pro.

Unless we have some players transfer, we might only have room for one more recruit in a best case scenario. So what happens if we get more than one? Does anyone transfer (Hendrix/Rees)? What 5th year do you cut?

Blue chippers Max Redfield (S), Laquon Treadwell (WR), and Al-Quadin Muhammad (DE) are all still considering offers from Notre Dame. Redfield and Treadwell are the two that stick out as “positions of need” but Muhammad is a well deserved 4 star that could add to our spoils in the front line. This makes Redfield and Muhammad look to be the most likely of the trio and Treadwell unlikely, but we would certainly take him if we got him.

There’s recently been talk about Greg Bryant (RB) a 5 star running back showing interest in the Irish. If Cierre leaves us, then we certainly would take another horse into a RB corps that has, for the first time in a while, become a stable. But how would that impact the current commit Jamel James? If we pick up Al-Quadin Muhammad is that going to affect Danny Mattingly ‘s commitment status?

While this “problem” is a good one to have and has allowed us to get a jump start on next year, I am wondering who will be the victims if we have to make room for 3 or more players this year.

Well, who would you let go? Anyone you think we should “nudge” to transfer? Anyone going to transfer without nudging? Any decommits on the radar I didn’t mention? Discuss!

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  • Jeff Steiner

    I can’t believe BK would let Carlo & Dan Fox go with the Manti void. I believe Redfield is coming for sure. Hendrix being in Med School is a guarantee to me that he stays, even though he seems like the most logical choice to transfer. Alot of ??? marks here, but yes, a great problem to have for sure.

  • OderName

    Are there any players whose parents are well enough off that they could switch to being preferred walk-ons? Louisville’s basketball team has done this the last two years, in fact having both captains last year be starters and “walk-ons” (who previously had scholarships but they actually approached Pitino and offered their schollies back because a dad was a surgeon and brother was an NBAer and could easily afford the tuition).

    Just a thought. I think this is a very valid way to do this, though there was some debate about it here in the Bluegrass.

    • Gurubandhu Khalsa (@gbsk12)

      I doubt if that would goover very well. There is a certain status being a scholarship player. I am sure Torii Hunter and David Robinson would have no trouble paying the full bill but would probably not want their kids to be walkons.

  • Kyle Willis

    Is Riddick not eligible for a 5th year? If so, why not?

    • JohnF

      2009 (FRESHMAN): Appeared in all 12 contests for Irish, serving as primary return man on kickoffs and as reserve running back … earned first start of career in final game of season against Stanford … tallied 849 kickoff return yards on 37 returns, most kickoff return yards in single season in Irish history

  • OderName

    Riddick played as a freshman. I remember there being some surprise that Riddick was the lower rated of the two RB recruits that year, but go the nod from Weis for some carries over Wood.

  • bob a.

    Is there not a rulw that some recruits could be declared for the 2012 class?

    • Gurubandhu Khalsa (@gbsk12)

      Personally, I would rather have Treadwell, Redfield and Muhammed than Mattingly and James. Early enrollees can count for the current year or the next year depending. USC did that when they got the sanctions.

  • Vairish84

    The numbers are what surprised me about applying for a sixth year for Slaughter. Given Farley’s emergence and the solid play from Shumate and Barratti and the return of Collinsworth, it seemed he would be a problem.

    As for the fifth years, in order of keeping:


    I think the others are either definitely going, Eifert, or definitely not going to be asked back. There was a rumor that Nichols could be a medical hardship and not return, but I have not seen anything on that in a while. Could be idle speculation.

    Of the still out there recruits, in order of desire:

    Vanderdoes (USC DT commit who took an official last weekend)
    Bryant/Forean (but only one)

    I don’t think we need another WR, even one as highly ranked as Treadwell.

    The depth at ILB is a concern. Both Grace and Moore are listed as back-ups to Te’o and Kelly has said Moore can only play Mike. Losing both Calabrese and Fox could be a problem.

    • (@gbsk12)

      They do need some of the LBs. However, they are in dire need of an elite receiver. All the receivers now are mediocre. Maybe Daniels will turn into an elite receiver but he is mediocre now.

    • PAK

      Completely agreed with Vairish here on the order of 5th years, but I think we need at least one of Fox and Calabrese to return. I disagree on his order of current uncommitted players – there has been too much smoke about AQM being a silent commit for weeks now for there to not be a fire there.

      Nobody seems to have mentioned this, but Laquon Treadwell has publicly named Ole Miss his leader. I think gbsk is wrong about our WR corp – both Daniels and Jones stepped up this year and had good seasons despite a first year QB and our primary receiving option being the best tight end in the country. Daniels, especially, had a very nice chemistry with Golson from the very start of the season. Sitting out their first year together obviously helped them get comfortable together. Behind them we have Chris Brown, who is deadly fast but had obviously limited grasp of the offense, and a couple other young, really talented guys that the staff went out of their way to preserve eligibility with. Treadwell would be a luxury in this class, one that we can’t quite afford with our numbers like they are. I’m quite happy with him going off to Ole Miss to play for a good offensive coach on a team we will almost certainly never play.

      • Vairish84

        I agree that AQM is likely a silent verbal given Bosco’s policy about players not commiting before season end. My point was more one of need. We have not gotten a DT in the last two classes and thus I would put Vanderdoes higher. We have two DEs in this class, plus Hounshell coming back from injury and Jones on a redshirt. I suppose you can never have enough, but with Nix able to leave this year, and unlikely to take his 5th year if he comes back and continues to play well, I would like to have a DT in this class.

  • Bob Mc

    I believe there are a couple of medical cannot play people that will remain on scholarship, but won’t count against the 85 number. Can’t believe Kelly doesn’t know something about reducing the number that hasn’t been made public yet.

  • P Lynch

    I really like Gunner Kiel but based on him not traveling to Oklahoma or USC and him being behind Everett he is not going to have a chance to see the field so he is likely to transfer to a school where he can play.

    • trey

      Disagree completely with this. He’s a freshman and I think he realizes hes at the bottom of a very long ladder. If any QB decommits, it will be Hendrix who im sure fully expected to start in the next year or so.

  • Tom Ortwein

    I believe all “early enrollees” can be applied to the previous year’s class(2012).

  • Bob Mc

    Early enrollees don’t help with the 85 limit. They only help with the 25 limit per year.

  • Rob

    I’m sure BK will figure it out. What a transformation by the Irish head coach!!!! I’m more scared of losing Diaco and what the trickle down effect it will have on recruits……

    Mattingly seems to be shopping himself around as well as James. That might take care of itself.

  • miked98888

    Cierre Wood,Jake Golic,Tyler Stockton,Dan McCarthy,Jamoris Slaughter
    These are guys I think Kelly will bump to leave or try the NLF

    Luke Massa,Justin Utupo
    These two are guys you could ask or are thinking of playing elsewhere, they are deep on depth chart
    Tate Nichols, I believe he is a med red shirt…
    Thats 8 maybe and leave Fox,CC,Martin,and Watt as leaders..

  • tlndma

    I’m not so sure a 5th yr player wouldn’t be more vital than a new commit. That would depend on the situation at the player’s position. In the case of Fox or Calabreese, I think some experience at MLB could prove crucial next yr.
    There could be a couple medical redshirts next yr.(Nichols, Carrico). I don’t think that either of those decisions has been made yet.
    The numbers are certainly tight. Kelly will have some tough decisions. This is not a bad position to be in.

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