So let’s see how this class is doing compared to last years class at the same time. Needs for each year are different. Scholarship numbers change; however, by looking at the quantity and quality of the recruits we can get a better idea of how this class is shaping up.
So in May of 2012 where did we stand?
Well we had 12 verbal commitments. Eight 4 star recruits, and four 3 star recruits. We hit the Offensive side of the ball early, in particular the line. Five of twelve were OL, with two more being TEs. Our lone QB, 2 WRs round out the offensive side of these recruits. The only defensive recruits were a pair of defensive backs.
With the offensive line and defensive backfield being the primary concerns in 2012 most of the holes were filled early.
12 commits with a 3.67 star average, 10 Offensive, 2 Defensive.
What does May of 2013 look like?
We’ve got 9 verbal commitments. One is a 5 star recruit, five are 4 stars and three 3 stars. Again, it seems offensive early and often with a target on the line. Three lineman, a TE, RB, and a WR. Only three defensive prospects, a LB as well as two very welcome additions to our burgeoning stock of elite defensive lineman.
This year we had less holes to fill than in 2012, and no real area that is a glaring need. The areas of need include TE, OL, and maybe DL if you had to choose them. The needs again seemed to have been addressed early.
9 commits with a 3.78 star average. 6 Offensive, 3 Defensive.
There are some interesting similarities to these classes. 2012′s class ended up with 24 players, meaning half of the players were already in the fold at this time. Due to scholarship restrictions I believe this next class of 2013 may only have around 18 players, and maybe less depending on who leaves or stays with the program for various reasons. So it seems the target for the staff is to be half way home in May.
Both classes went after the offensive side of the ball early, in particular the lineman. A deep, experienced line that keeps reloading is the hallmark of a great program. This is true on both sides of the ball. It seems that this staff understands that and has addressed lack of depth on the offensive lines the past two recruiting cycles as early as possible. While in 2012 we didn’t have much on the defensive line early, we already have 2 commits for 2013. It looks like the area of emphasis early in cycles for this staff is the line, and I for one wholeheartedly support this, as games are won and lost in the trenches. (see-all of last year)
2012′s IrishMob13 demonstrated what I’d call the most visual impact of the “twitter era” on recruiting I’ve seen. I’m not sure if the coaches had much to do with this (they may have after the Tee Shepard/Deontay Greenberry debacle) but the way the previous class stuck together, as well as recruited each other seemed to be unique. As communication has become easier, it is interesting to see how this impacts recruiting. Maybe this has gone on to this extent before, only it was next to impossible to see unless you were in the all star camps.
This year’s “GoldenArmy14″ is beginning to do the same. As mentioned by Keith Arnold over at Inside the Irish Elijah Hood in particular has begun to recruit. This is a good sign about the strength of his commitment as well as the ability of the staff to sell a recruit. After a few de-commitments and transfers of elite prospects in early years, the coaches seemed to have reined in all of those issues. When you convince a recruit to not only commit, but to preach his convictions to other elite kids making the same type of decision then you are doing something very well.
Last year’s recruiting class was one of the best in the country. In recent recruiting history we’ve had trouble, or been perceived to have trouble landing big defensive difference making recruits. That idea has been slowly laid to rest after we’ve consistently grabbed top tier defensive recruits, with last years class of Jaylon Smith, Max Redfield, and Eddie Vanderdoes perhaps being the most star studded defensively in a very long time.
So where do we stand? I’d say with respect to last year we stand in about exactly the same place, with slightly better talent. However, this year we’ve got less holes to fill. As we move forward in this cycle it will be interesting to see not only how many recruits we get, but the overall quality. I believe if we do well we will see an equally or more impressive class than last year. We may also strike out going after elite talent and not fill up the class. The way things have been going leads me to believe the former is more likely.
On Thursday, Notre Dame unveiled a concept sketch of an expanded football stadium. I wonder how the ND fanbase would react?
On Monday Sam Mustipher made himself the 6th member of the 2014 recruiting class. One of the better additions to the class, he’s ranked #2 as a Guard in more than one service. With a couple of good looking prospects on both sides of the line of scrimmage, as well as a wide receiver and an inside linebacker; the class is off to a great start. Below is a list of the class members and their positions, with a link to their bios. The bios include ranking in each major ranking services, a little of our own opinion, vitals, and a video link if available.
Sam Mustipher OG/OT
Andrew Trumbetti ATH/DE
Greer Martini ILB
Jay Hayes DT/OT
Jimmy Byrne OT
Justin Brent WR
Well, it’s been a bit of a rough ride for the 2012 recruiting class. Last year, Tee Shepard was only on the roster for a few hours. Aaron Lynch departed after the 2011 campaign. Gunner Kiel decided to head elsewhere. And this week, Davonte Neal and Justin Ferguson decided to depart as well.
Attrition has definitely set in. These days, it’s an annual expectation. Thankfully, the Notre Dame Football program is healthy enough to handle it.
That may sound a little strange, especially since we (1) aren’t used to that line of thinking these days and (2) Brian Kelly has made several references to a lack of depth in 2012. However, it’s the truth.
Consider the fact that after Lynch left, our defensive line was still a dominate force in 2012. Despite not having Tee Shepard to fill some huge holes in the secondary, the Irish still managed to hold it together. We still have three more years of Golson with Malik Zaire waiting in the wings, softening the loss of Kiel. While our WR corps isn’t as stocked as I would prefer, I have little doubt Kelly and company will be able to use the talent available to compensate.
Further consider the recruiting mindset of Kelly. He wants to land a QB every year. He is constantly looking for what he calls “big skill” players that could possibly fill a couple of different roles if needed. A solid group of starters at any position isn’t enough — he wants them two-deep for constant depth and to keep his roster in a state of constant competition.
This season, we have seen the fruits of those three years of recruiting labor. Despite the attrition that has hit the Irish, we still find ourselves only able to offer well below 20 scholarships to the class of 2014 because we are so close to the maximum of 85 scholarships for the entire roster. While every player that leaves the Irish is definitely a disappointing loss, it now opens up a precious roster spot for a potential fifth-year, an extra offer to an elite recruit, or even the chance to reward a deserving senior walk-on.
So as far as attrition goes, I’m going to use a rather infamous Kelly quote: “Get used to it.”
Some guys might leave for personal reasons, but we are also seeing our former blue-chip recruits leave simply because they don’t think they’ll get the playing time they want. That speaks volumes for the level of talent Notre Dame now has. A couple of years ago, if a huge get in the recruiting class had a guaranteed three or four years of playing time. That simply isn’t the case anymore.
So bring the attrition on. “Next man in” as Kelly would say. This is exactly where we want to be.
I guess this counts as WAC attrition. Idaho and New Mexico State are fleeing the WAC for the Sun Belt. The Sun Belt is also grabbing Appalachian State (HEY MICHIGAN) and Georgia Southern from the FCS. Care to take a stab at which group is the better get?
And the 2014 National Championship game will transfer to… DALLAS! Win-win for me. Either Notre Dame makes a title run in my backyard or I’m renting out my house, making a mint, and going on vacation.
Johnny Football is gone. From Twitter. Wait, what did you think I was going to say?
Southern Cal has lost another player. This time, due to injury.
The NCAA might be able to use a little attrition themselves. Someone else has apparently dropped the ball in the Miami case.
This qualifies as what I like to call “Saban-style attrition”. Four players are gone from UCLA. One for violation of team rules and the other three…well, this article outright calls it “roster maintenance”.
My beer choice is also suffering from some attrition because I’m still cleaning out my beer fridge of brews that have been donated for one reason or another. Considering I have a Vegas trip coming up to save money for and because I’ve been ridiculously busy for work (because of the Vegas trip, the main reason I’m there is because of work), I have had little motivation to go buy more beer as of late.
Ok, it’s probably not attrition, it’s being lazy and cheap as hell, but I don’t care.
On the chopping block this weekend: Dos Equis.
Stay thirsty, my friends.
For obvious reasons, I will not be publishing a column called “Good Fridays” this week. If you think The Lord was angry when he took a whip of cords to the temple moneychangers, try blaspheming on the His least favorite day of the year. Hence I have moved to today, Spy Wednesday. We call it that because this was the day Judas Iscariot, the spy among the Apostles, sold Jesus to the Sanhedrin for 30 pieces of silver. He then famously betrayed The Lord with a kiss – were that to happen today, no doubt there would be eight pictures snapped of the betrayal kissing, and posted on some gossip page. Betrayal in our midst might seem to be a pertinent topic, since we have now suffered three defections from the football team. Though we hate to see them go, each lad has a very good reason for seeking to move elsewhere (at least one of those reasons needs regular diaper changing and feeding).
Maundy Thursday is about the Last Supper; Holy Saturday is about waiting for Jesus to come out of the tunnel tomb; Easter Sunday is about Resurrection to new life (not coming back to life after faking your death because drug dealers are pursuing you even though you never really existed); and the only Passion at Notre Dame on Good Friday better be the one read in Sacred Heart. So for Spy Wednesday, let’s play a little game about what we’ve secretly seen and heard, some of which may actually be true.
I spy with my little eye something beginning with the letter “C” –
Camouflage is reportedly entering the football uniform roulette for this season. It has the advantage of being generally green. It is designed to hide the wearer in a natural environment, so it could be used to conceal Irish receivers and running backs on a grass field. Thus camouflage may not be worn in the Stadium for too much longer. However, as we have seen with basketball uniforms, when you dress like a clown the whole game turns into a bad joke. Camouflage is not worn by buffoons, but by warriors and hunters; and if it inspires the lads to fight and win, let them wear it…for ONE game.
I spy with my little eye something beginning with the letter “S” –
Screen – a very big screen – one for each end zone. The “J” word is not used, both because it is verboten and because that is not technically what is being shopped. You see, when they entombed our beloved Stadium in its concrete sarcophagus, the television people paid for the lights with the concurrent promise never to use them for a night game. This opened the possibility for literally power-hungry electronic devices to be mounted above the battlements. The ‘scoreboards’ such as they are, bear no resemblance to the originals which were structurally part of the outer wall; these new ones are just big light boxes set upon two pylons – and they’re old. It’s time for replacements, so why not buy fancier light boxes that just happen to have a very big screen built in. In fact, all the options on the market seem to have a screen feature, so it’s really unavoidable (and therefore, no one’s decision/fault). Again, if it inspires the team; if it raises the level of enthusiasm in the Stadium above the current ‘wake for a loved one’ level of intensity; if it draws recruits who are not impressed by technology older than they are, but not yet old enough to be historic or iconic; then this is a positive innovation. Remember, the original-original scoreboards had clocks with a big hand and a little hand. And before that, we used cardboard and paint.
I spy with my little eye something beginning with the letter “P” –
Plastic grass will grow…in places. For those sections of the field’s periphery where too many feet grind God’s greens into goo, the fake stuff is moving in. It’s more humane – it saves the little grasses from a slow and painful death by crushing. But it’s going to make the real grass look weathered, worn, and sloppy, especially late in the season (and it’s supposed to). The goal is for this plastic grass to miraculously spread like weeds. Once it has a foothold in the corners and on the sidelines, it will never be uprooted. We used to put down carpets over muddy areas for spectators. They were a little hard to clean, but easier than cleaning the spectators. Philosophically, I don’t see any difference between avoiding a swampy mess with carpets or fake grass…except that you can’t play an entire season on carpets, which is the eventual plan for the lawn toupee.
I spy with my little eye something beginning with the letter “R” –
Renegotiating a contract is a tricky thing. What do you give the man who already has so much, and who could go somewhere else to get more? How about promises. Or even better, how about power. Whatever the last fellow’s shortcomings (and they were many) he blamed the University’s Byzantine structures of authority and custom for limiting his abilities and achievements. Well of course we have an elaborate and hidebound bureaucracy, comprised of resident and non-resident wielders-of-influence – what else would you expect from a Catholic school founded on a French model? But this has left Professor Kelly feeling as though he has to fight for permission to succeed. Fortunately, Professor Swarbrick is in a position to give him what he wants, because Professor Swarbrick holds the position of Vice President. Quite an unusual and important hat to wear in addition to that of athletic director. And it means that, in addition to pocket money and well-paid friends, he can give Professor Kelly a properly large sphere of influence, free from local and national meddling. Squarely in the center of this sphere is located a large Stadium where there are no more player walks…and so much more. It must have been hard for Professor Kelly to take orders from tens-of-thousands of bosses, especially when most of them only want to preserve a way of life that ceased to exist decades ago (and, even then, existed only in their minds). All Professor Kelly wants for Easter is the authority to make LOTS of decisions. In return, for Christmas he will give us another undefeated season.
I spy with my little eye something beginning with the letter “G” –
Gold was not the preferred covering for the Dome on my new Main Building. That was my idea, and solely my idea. In fact, it was a very unpopular idea. It was viewed as an unnecessarily costly and ostentatious innovation. ‘We didn’t have a Golden Dome before, why would we need or want one now,’ went the argument. I was entirely alone in my vision for a Golden Dome, to the extent that the traditionalists and old-fashioned fuddy-duddys on my council of administration were opposed to me. So first I took over the chairmanship of the council; then I refused to allow it to meet until it approved my Golden Dome; and then I packed my bags and moved to St. Mary’s so they couldn’t trick or force me into having a meeting. That was a bit odd for me and for the girls, but I wasn’t going to give up until I got my way. I think you can tell who won that battle. So I moved home back across the street, my Dome was gilded, and change came to Notre Dame.
A glittering dome in Northern Indiana was a pretty wild idea in 1886. And though it was expensive, the Dome didn’t cost our University the figurative 30 shekels…and its Gold, not silver.