(While I am on hiatus for the next month, I am leaving behind six articles--(July 1) an analysis of Illinois' 2007 recruiting class, (July 2) Illinois' recruiting for 2011, (July 3) Notre Dame's recruiting for 2011, (July 4) Iowa's recruiting for 2011, (July 5) Wisconsin's recruiting for 2011 and (July 6) Northwestern's recruiting for 2011. Please archive past articles. And enjoy the summer)
For the first time ever at this time of the year, Notre Dame has offered more than 100 scholarships. And new coach Brian Kelly is off to a good start with 10 commitments from big-time prospects. The class deserves to be ranked between No. 10 to 15 nationally at the moment. But to finish that high or higher, the Irish must sign difference-makers at the skill positions, particularly on defense.
Over the past 60 years, Notre Dame has recruited the best tight ends in the nation, dating to Heisman Trophy winner Leon Hart in 1949. They have a commitment from 6-5, 230-pound Ben Koyack of Oil City, Pa., one of the top three tight ends in the nation. He has 4.59 speed and averaged 20 yards per catch last season.
Notre Dame also has commitments from the best player in New Mexico, 6-5, 265-pound offensive lineman Matt Hegarty of Aztec; the best offensive lineman in Florida, 6-6, 280-pound Jordan Prestwood of Plant City; the son of former Notre Dame quarterback Terry Hanratty, Conor Hanratty, a 6-4, 300-pound offensive lineman from New Caanan, Conn.; and 6-3, 240-pound defensive end Clay Burton of Venice, Fla.
Also committed are 6-6, 260-pound defensive end Tony Springmann of Fort Wayne, Ind., 6-6, 260-pound defensive end Brad Carrico of Dublin, Ohio, 6-4, 235-pound linebacker Jarrett Grace of Cincinnati, Ohio, defensive back Matthias Farley of Charlotte, N.C., and the leading kicker in the Midwest, Kyle Brindza of Canton, Mich.
They struck out on all the quarterbacks on their list. They are desperately trying to get a running back with game-breaking speed and a fast, athletic defensive end.
They are pursuing running back Shavon Huggins of Jersey City, N.J., running back Justice Hayes of Grand Blanc, Mich., and running back Brendon Bigelow of Fresno, Calif., who committed to Washington but is continuing to look around.
They also are in the mix for 6-2, 190-pound wide receiver George Farmer of Gardena, Calif., and 6-2, 200-pound wide receiver Kasen Williams of Sammamish, Wash., one of the leading pass catchers in the nation.
Aaron Lynch, a 6-6, 240-pounder from Cape Coral, Fla., would fill their need at defensive end. Wayne Lyons of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will be a great fit at defensive back. And Cyrus Kouandijo of Hyattsville, Md., the best offensive lineman in the country, would be a recruiting coup--but he likely will follow his brother to Alabama.
For one of the few times in memory, the Irish don't seem very interested in any players from the Chicago area.