2019 Recruiting Cycle Positional Needs

With the 2018 class officially wrapped up (a bountiful 27 players*) we’re moving on to the next cycle. To date, the Fighting Irish already have 3 commits in the class and if you were too focused on National Signing Day this week here’s a quick refresher:

QB Cade McNamara – Committed back in mid-July as a relative under-the-radar prospect from Reno, Nevada. Throwing up 99 total touchdowns and 7,236 total yards as a sophomore and junior raised some eyebrows. He’s now made an ascent up the recruiting rankings settling in as a solid 4-star and the No. 7 pro-style quarterback at the moment.

DT Jacob Lacy – The second commit of the class coming a couple weeks after McNamara. A major priority for a long time he’s an early anchor of the class as the No. 10 national defensive tackle and currently just outside the Top 150 prospects in the country.

CB K.J. Wallace – He became part of the class just a couple weeks ago. Not quite the national prospect of his classmates but still comfortably a 4-star just inside the Top 300 rankings.

*Following Wednesday’s flurry of signings the Irish are sitting at 90 scholarships and will have 6 months to get down to the mandated 85-man limit.

A nice little start to 2019 as we turn the gears to figure out the numbers game for next year. With a massive 2018 class you’d think the next cycle is bound to be small but maybe not! Will it be 7 straight years with at least 20 recruits? Roster management, for the win!

Out of Eligibility Following 2018 Season:

WR Freddy Canteen
RB Dexter Williams
TE Nick Weishar
OL Sam Mustipher
OL Alex Bars
OL Jimmy Byrne
DT Jerry Tillery
DT Jonathan Bonner
DE Jay Hayes
LB Drue Tranquill
LB Te’von Coney
CB Nick Watkins
S Nicco Fertitta
S Nick Coleman
K Justin Yoon
P Tyler Newsome

In stark contrast to last year this list is loaded with impact players. Including the special teams we could see 13 starters walking out the door no matter what. It’ll be a lot of production to replace but at the same time also a good way for the 2019 class to be larger in size.

2019-20 Academic Classes:

3 Verbal Commits
27 Sophomores
19 Juniors
20 Seniors
8 Graduates
77 Total Scholarships

This is usually where we notate any recent transfers or scholarship losses. We haven’t had any for a couple weeks now.

List of Eligible Grad Students

Tier I

CB Shaun Crawford
TE Alize Mack
OL Trevor Ruhland
WR Miles Boykin
LB Asmar Bilal

Tier II

QB Brandon Wimbush
WR Chris Finke

Tier III

DT Micah Dew-Treadway

I can’t remember a cycle when most or all of my initial Tier II players didn’t eventually made their way to Tier I status in later editions of these posts. As I’ve said before I’d bet this is Mack’s last year at Notre Dame before heading to the NFL so there’s one scholarship opening up.

Somewhat controversially (maybe?) I have Wimbush in Tier II mainly because Notre Dame is in a vicious cycle of Irish quarterbacks not finishing up their eligibility in South Bend and if he ends up losing his job at some point in the fall the likelihood of a transfer is pretty high.


2019 Recruiting Cycle Needs

High Need

Running Back

The late addition C’Bo Flemister brings the scholarships to 4 and of course we may see someone move here during the spring, as well. If you’re thinking about moving someone then this position should be a priority in 2019. I think most are pretty high on C’Bo and Jahmir Smith as 3-star recruits. Yet, 2 more bodies could be needed next year and if it’s just one it has to be a definitive blue-chip talent.

Offensive Line

The Irish closed with Jarrett Patterson and a healthy 4-man class but as I wrote on Tuesday it’s a modest group for Notre Dame standards. In terms of need, it won’t be bodies as much as talent. We can probably expect 3 linemen although a 4th may be too much.

Defensive End

When is this not a need? Technically, only one defensive end was signed (Justin Ademilola) and many expect him to grow into an interior prospect. So the 2018 class could potentially feature zero ends which isn’t ideal. There is unlikely to be more than one loss at this position (unless one of Kareem, Daelin Hayes, or Okwara have a huge year) which allows for some wiggle room. Since we’re losing Jay Hayes you’d think the strong-side will be more of a focus for 2019 but it does seem like the Irish have more trouble getting impact guys on the weak-side.

Medium Need

Wide Receiver

This is a tough one because the Irish just signed 4 freshmen and all of the receivers could be coming back for 2019. The 2018 class also has the potential to be the best of the Kelly era. Nevertheless, putting so much pressure on said freshmen class exposes the fact that more help should come in for 2019, too.

Defensive Tackle

If Dew-Treadway doesn’t come back for a graduate season then 3 tackles will be gone from the roster next year. The young talent brought in for 2017-18 puts the program in a nice position moving forward, for sure. Any time you lose a couple starters there should be enough room available to hit this position with some firmness.


I’m including the Rover position here (or rather Drue Tranquill) which would mean the loss of 2 very important pieces in addition to Coney. At this point, 3 more linebackers for 2019 seems like it might be too much but we’re so far away from next Signing Day and I bet this will be the target number with a better idea of the future playmakers who are currently underclassmen.

Low Need


We’re more than good here. With McNamara on board there could be a max of 5 quarterbacks on the roster in 2019. That seems like a lot doesn’t it? See Wimbush above, there’s likely some movement within this unit before 2019 begins.

Tight End

If you’re going to plan as if Mack isn’t coming back (as I would) you could make the case that tight end should be a little more of an emphasis this cycle. That probably depends on who could join the 2019 class. If it’s going to be Hudson Henry (.977) just shut it down and move on to other positions.


The Irish just signed 5(!!!) corners. Yes, it’s likely someone is moving positions but that’s still a ton of wiggle room to get the right guys in place on defense. With only one corner for sure running out eligibility this might be a very light haul for this cycle.


Whether it’s Houston Griffith moving to the back end or someone else I’m pretty sure this wrapped up 2018 class will feature 3 safeties when it’s all said and done. The Irish seem to be cycling through the roster here quickly (Fertitta, Crawford into their last year with questions about the future abilities of Elliott and Studstill) and there should be a little more emphasis here than corner.

1 QB
2 RB
3 WR
1 TE
3 OL
2 DT
3 DE
3 LB
1 CB
2 S
1 P
22 Total Scholarships

By |2018-05-09T22:25:33+00:00February 8th, 2018|Recruiting|31 Comments

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I love it! Great job Eric. On to the next class. I heard several coaches talk about the early signing period allowing them to get a jump on the 2019 class. Sounds good to me.


Don’t we need a punter? Or is Doerer going to be doing that?


Love the look of the new comment section. Clean and crisp.

I feel Lamb and Bauer are going to be incredible players, so outside of depth I agree the need at LB is extremely low. Always need to take those positions though. I’d put all my eggs in the pass rushing positions, if it were me calling the shots. Too many years now we havent had major impact commits there and it’s scary.


Agreed, an impact player here is hopefully their top priority. Even on a solid 2017 defense, it was a glaring weakness.


Good overview.

Re: DE, some folks think at least a couple LBs will end up moving there.

Crawford has three more years of eligibility, I think, because he missed two seasons from injury.



That’s quite a bit higher for ND than I would have predicted. I suppose it does help to basically get 90+% of your defensive production back.


Are we allowed to post that domain on here? I’m unsure about the new rules of the site.

Anyway, one thing I dont like about this is that they’re using the last two years’ recruiting rankings? Amiright on that or…? These guys are going to hardly play, so why is that a component of their relative strength? Wouldnt it make more sense to use 3-4 years ago recruiting rankings?


The 3+ year recruits are taken into account in returning production.


That’s right. The 2-year recruiting rankings are intended to be a (supposedly appropriately weighted; Bill C. is much smarter than me) proxy to account for expected production by freshmen/sophomores, whereas returning production is supposed to represent those older folks. I suppose that leaves some gaps for teams that had super highly rated recruits that didn’t play much their first two years, but that basically describes Bama and Ohio State and not too many others, and they’re 1 and 2 anyways.


Does it take into account players who signed and transferred or if you got a 5-star and he left after 1 year(Gunner Kiel, jackass) does it still count for you or the program he went to?




I am going to guess that it does not account for that. I hear Bill C only likes chesty ‘croots


To me, this points out that there just aren’t that many great teams.

I expect USC and FSU to finish much higher than those rankings. Don’t think we will finish 7th (in polls or advanced stats), but us, Michican, MSU, Wiscy, Miami, other MSU, OkieLight, Stan, VT all seem like a fairly close peer group. Obviously one of those teams will finish ranked 9 spots higher than another, but they all seem like basically the same level of team right now.


Agreed. We’ve probably scheduled ourselves into another year where our S&P+ is better than our record – we play #10, #20 and #21 back-to-back, a probably-underrated #18 (because the guy who will be their QB this year doesn’t factor into these rankings), and #15. Not great.


I thought I read Connolly was including Patterson in Michigan’s returning production.


I was referring to FSU/Francois. Michigan is #10.

Brendan R

Great write up E… On DE, I think you might be mixing up Justin Ademilola with Jayson. There has been some thought that Jayson could start out at SDE and move to the interior, while Justin will start out at WDE and I haven’t seen any conjecture, at least, that he would move inside. Lamb could possibly grow into a drop end, but I think he’ll end up being too good at LB to move. More likely that Ovie could fill out and end up there.

All that said, I agree anyway on the numbers point, we definitely need to hit both end spots in 2019, and particularly SDE.


I’ll bet that they end up taking 25 in the end.


Hudson Henry is just a magnificent name.