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!