Around a month ago we had a check in on where we stood with regard to availability of space in the #1 recruiting class in the nation. We had 22 recruits coming in, and with some assumptions got our magic number down to 86, still 1 over the limit (previous math here). Let’s see where we now stand that the picture has become a bit clearer.
A few questions have been answered, some rumors confirmed. Danny Mattingly and Jamel James indeed jumped ship. I do like the staff policy of continuing to look for recruits if recruits continue to take visits, and it seems to have paid off here.
We also lost a big piece of our class in Alex Anzalone. While Anzalone cited Kelly’s flirtation with the NFL, I wonder if that’s the only reason. His father is a Florida grad, and he has flipped from OSU to ND to Florida back to ND again and then finally enrolling early at Florida. While he reaffirmed his commitment after the beating at the hand of Alabama in Miami, I have a hard time believing that the game didn’t influence him at least somewhat. He’s enrolled at Florida, so no flipping back. A tough loss, but it happens (see Gunner Kiel).
While I was quite high on Jamel James, replacing him with a recruit like Greg Bryant is absolutely fine by me. He is one of the best young players available, and rated near the top of the charts on all rankings sites. With Riddick and Wood gone as well, this is a great pickup. According to most his commitment is directly due to our on the field success, and we wouldn’t be getting a kid this good under 8-5 circumstances. To the victor go the spoils.
Danny Mattingly was another recruit I was more than content with. However, replacing him with Max Redfield is another move we can all more than live with. Redfield becomes what is said to be the first 5 star Safety to commit to Notre Dame since the star rating system has been in effect. While I think the secondary has played pretty well this year, having an athlete with his size and speed back there should help us make the leap to elite in the back end in the near future.
So that’s two 4 star recruits out, two 5 star recruits in. Not too shabby. A RB for a RB and a LB for a S. Doesn’t seem to shake too much up. But, a surprise “get” also popped up. Tarean Folston, another highly sought after RB from Florida, joined the Irish Mob.
So where does that leave us? 85 is our magic number.
Now the numbers look like this:
- 17 Freshmen
- 22 Sophomores
- 18 Juniors
- 22 Verbal Commitments
That’s 79. There are also 9 seniors eligible for return for a fifth year and one for a possible sixth. Let’s run down the options there.
- Eifert – Going Pro
- Stockton – Unlikely to come back due to depth
- Golic – Unlikely to come back due to depth/lack of finding position
- Tausch – Lost his job to Brinzda
- Wood- Going Pro
- Martin- Back
- Watt- Back
- Calabrese- Unknown
- Fox- Unknown
- Slaughter (Sixth Year) – Petition denied, currently appealing
That’s five gone (likely six, unless the NCAA surprises everyone), two back, and two question marks, bringing our magic number to 83, even if we keep Fox and Calabrese. So that leaves two spots open in the class, and if we get a transfer/ don’t offer someone a 5th year there are a couple more.
Given the current roster and state of recruiting affairs I believe only two men would be allowed to fill those spots. Eddie Vanderdoes, a monster 5 star DT and former USC commit, or Priest Willis, a 5 star CB. Priest Willis looks like a real long shot, with us out of his top schools. While either would be a lovely addition to the class, we could miss both and potentially still be the best class out there. We could get both and have to find room for them. At the end of the recruiting cycle its a nice change to be thinking about just tacking on a couple more 5 star recruits, even given our recent loss.