Tuesday, September 27, 2005

17 and Counting.... | by Pat

The music is speeding up and the empty chairs are getting fewer as offensive lineman Eric Olsen decided to give his committment to Charlie Weis and the Fighting Irish this past Friday. The 17th known verbal commit is an important one as large offensive lineman are one of the biggest priorities for this class. At 6'5" 300lbs, a member of the Rivals Top 250 (for whatever that's worth), and possessing scholarship offers from Miami, Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and finalist Boston College, Olsen certainly fits the bill. He also seems to have the proper mindset.

"I've got the decision out of the way," said the 6-foot-5, 300-pound Olsen. "Now, I can straight-up play and maul people."
A defensive end and offensive tackle for Poly Prep in Brooklyn (alma mater of Marcus Wilson and JW Jordan among others), Olsen appears to be recruited as a guard, or possibly a center, for Notre Dame. Instant playing time will be his for the taking as there are currently no offensive guards in the junior, sophomore, and freshman class. (Ouch.)

Olsen also plays on his high school lacrosse team, which is an excellent sign that his footwork will be more than fast enough to be a productive college lineman. In fact, his results on the lacrosse field -- last year Olsen was the leading scorer on the team with 55 goals to go along with 10 assists -- suggest he's an excellent athlete moreso than just a big body.

After coming to Notre Dame's summer camp and performing for the coaches, Olsen left without a scholarship offer, but a vow that an offer would be extended or not after the ND coaches viewed film of the first two games of his senior year. However, the wait didn't last that long as Coach Weis informed him of a full ride offer in late August a few weeks before Olsen's season started. And in a bit of a role reversal, it was Olsen's viewing of Notre Dame's first few games that convinced him that ND was the place for him.
I visited a bunch of schools this summer and I got a good feel for Notre Dame, the mystique is above every other school and with the success they're having, it's become such a hot commodity that I didn't want to miss my chance."
With 17 of the 25 open scholarship spots taken, perhaps it's time to don the recruitnik cap and gaze into the crystal ball a bit. After all, it's likely that Olsen isn't the only one who doesn't want to miss his chance to play for the Irish. At least we can hope so.

This type of speculation is perhaps better covered on the recruiting oriented websites like Irish Eyes, Irish Illustrated, and Blue and Gold Illustrated, but I won't pass up an opportunity to pen a little "recruiting state of the union" that can be referenced in the future with "I wish we could have signed him" laments and "Boy, Pat sure was wrong" mocks.

Currently, Notre Dame has 17 known verbal commits. Here's the breakdown:
2 Quarterbacks (Zach Frazer, Demetrius Jones)
3 Running Backs/Fullbacks (James Aldridge, Munir Prince, Luke Schmidt)
3 Wide Receivers (Barry Gallup, Robby Parris, George West)
2 Offensive Linemen (Bartley Webb, Eric Olsen)
1 Tight End (Paddy Mullen)
2 Defensive Lineman (John Ryan, Kellen Wade)
1 Cornerback (Raeshon McNeil)
2 Safeties (Leonard Gordon, Jashaad Gaines)
1 Kicker (Ryan Burkhart)
(Quickly, before we go on to possibilites for the rest of this class, here are updates from the past two weeks that cover how our recruits did in their high school games: Week 3 / Week 4)

Now then, the chance of early enrollment means that Notre Dame can take more than 25 recruits this year. Whether the number of early enrollees is one or greater than one is unknown at this point but there are potential early enrollment candidates out there. So, with a minimum of 8 spots left, here are some of the more popular names associated with Notre Dame's recruiting efforts. Keep in mind that by no means is this a complete or exhaustive list. Nor are the listed positions where players will end up should they come to Notre Dame. And expect even more names to pop up, especially if Notre Dame keeps winning. Ok, enough with the disclaimers and qualifiers, here are the names to try and fit into the few remaining spots in the Class of 2010. Have fun mixing and matching. If these names are meaningless to you, be thankful you haven't been sucked into the vortez/male soap opera that is college football recruiting.
Wide Receiver - David Ausberry, Terrance Austin, Richard Jackson
Offensive Lineman - Sam Young, Matt Carufel, Butch Lewis, Aaron Brown, Chris Stewart, Daron Rose, Jim Barrie, Lou Eliades, Alex Stadler, Dan Wenger
Tight End - Konrad Reuland, Will Yeatman, Andrew Quarless
Defensive Lineman - Jason Kates, Gerald McCoy, Lawrence Marsh
Linebacker - Anthony Lewis, Toryan Smith, Morrice Richarson,
Cornerback - LaRon Moore, Darrin Walls
Safety - Sergio Brown
With the 8 (minimum) remaining spots I'd like to see ND bring in 3 more offensive lineman, 1 tight end, 2 defensive lineman, 1 linebacker, and 1 cornerback. If early enrollments increase the available scholarships, I'd hope for an extra offensive lineman to bring the total Big Ugly count to 6, then get guys that are athletic enough to have potential at multiple positions.

With the expected announcements of a few on that list coming in the next week (5-star all-everything cornerback recruit Darrin Walls being one) and a number of the aforementioned names coming into South Bend for the tilt with the Trojans, recruiting is going to be pretty interesting the next few weeks.