Monday, December 18, 2006

Dever Decides | by Pat

The influx of recruits continued late last week when California offensive lineman Taylor Dever became the 15th player to make a public commitment to Notre Dame on Thursday night. Dever, seen on the right bending the defender in half, echoed sentiments by recent commits Ian Williams and Golden Tate that a recent trip to ND's campus sealed the deal.

"Once I went to Notre Dame I knew it was the place for me," Dever said. "There wasn't one thing I didn't like. I liked the coaches, the facilities, the players, the students. I really enjoyed myself."
The 6-6, 300 pound lineman is the 3rd offensive lineman of the class of 2007 and is a classic case of the unknown sleeper recruit. Playing in Nevada County, California -- about halfway between Sacramento and Reno -- Dever didn't have any D-1 scholarship offers until Fresno State officially offered him on Sept. 30th of this year. That sparked a rush of offers from many Pac-10 schools like Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona State, Washington, and Washington State, as well as programs like Boise State and UNLV. The offers kept flowing in and pretty soon both Miami and Nebraska reached out to offer Dever. Finally, at the end of November, ND offered when Weis visted Dever's high school, along with Coach Latina and Coach Polian.

Considering that he grew up a huge ND fan, Dever seemed like a likely commit from the moment ND offered. He had planned to come out for the football banquet but snow canceled his flight. He made alternate plans for the next week and committed last week during an in-home visit from Coach Polian.

One comment that keeps popping up in stories about Dever is "athletic" which is always something you want to read about lineman. Dever, who also plays basketball for his high school, sounds like a tackle prospect for now. Wherever he ends up, Dever seems pretty happy with his decision.
“When you think of Notre Dame, you think of the golden dome and the basilica. But to actually get out there and see that in person was pretty amazing,” he said. “To step on that field and look up into those stands, it was pretty amazing.

“But there is a lot that is going to be expected. I’m not going to go to Notre Dame and just be happy to be there. I’ve been told there’s a lack of depth on the offensive line and that I’ll have the chance to play early.

“Ultimately, that’s up to me and how hard I work. And that’s something I’m pretty good at."
The absence of OL recruiting during the Willingham era is slowly but surely being fixed and a legitimate depth chart is starting to take shape. It's still a year or two away, but it's getting there. Here's a quick look at the depth chart for 2007. I took a few liberties, such as assuming Sully will be returning, Turkovich will play guard, and that Nuss and Emeka are guards and not (defensive) tackles. Obviously, none of this is set in stone. I also left off Northwestern transfer Thomas Bemenderfer for now, since he's not on the roster yet and I have no idea what his contributions to the team will ultimately be.




Turkovich Olsen




Hopefully freshman All-American Sam Young will be a stalwart at left tackle for the next three years. Paul Duncan is my guess to start at right tackle with Bartley Webb backing him up. For now Young's backup might be Duncan, who would slide over and let Webb pick up the slack at right tackle. Center looks to be in pretty good hands with Sully and Wenger. The depth at guard is getting much better and I imagine that two decent ones will come out of the Turkovich/Olsen/Carufel/Stewart mix. My guess is Olsen (left) and Stewart (right). The only real certain thing is that ND's line will be pretty green next year, but the depth chart is being filled with some pretty talented players.