Well the fax machine in the Notre Dame Athletic Department got quite a workout last Wednesday. 24 new lads, you can read all about it just about in any sports media. We won’t plagiarize here. The Irish ended up being rated/ranked number 3, if you believe in rankings and ratings concerning 18 year old recruited kids.So what does all this mean for the Irish? Are there any loose ends? What pieces of the puzzle for another championship run this year or maybe next year need to be placed on the board and interlocked?
First here are a couple of pieces that may have been missed. Notre Dame has a freshman punter and kicker to add to the class of 2017 in preferred walk-ons Andrew Antognoli (punter) and John Chereson (place kicker). Hopefully these pieces will turn into future athletic scholarships down the road for Andrew and John. Both punter Ben Turk and kicker Nick Tausch on scholarship turned out just so-so.It would appear that the Irish have enough athletes to field a true punt return and kickoff return squad and no more talk about lack of talent and afraid to put the defensive starters out there to block and tackle in the open fearing injury.
Some pieces that have to fall into place:An answer is needed from the NCAA on Jamoris Slaughter (S) and his appeal for a final year of playing eligibility. My god, the man will have a doctorate by the time he leaves Notre Dame if approved. Jamoris has been designated one of eight Irish invited to the NFL Combine so the sting of final rejection may not be so bad.
The kicking walk-ons pretty much answer the question on whether Nick Tausch will return for a fifth year. If he has a goal in kicking for the NFL, maybe a lower division school where he can play immediately would be the solution for him.Tight end and inside linebacker are lacking in experience and questionable depth. However, that’s what coaches get paid for.
Apparently there are enough slots left to offer both Carlo Calabrese and Dan Fox fifth year scholarships. After all, they applied and add some great experience in the middle of the defensive backfield. Hope that happens.Here is the bad piece of the puzzle that can’t seem to fit. Everett Golson, Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix, Gunner Kiel, Malik Zaire. You cannot carry five quarterbacks on scholarship. The logical odd man out is Hendrix. The problem is practice repetitions to prepare and action on the field. Expect Hendrix to transfer after spring practice and when school lets out in May. Everett is the guy to beat out. Tommy is the preferred short term backup, Gunner is the competition and the quarterback to have ready and Malik will be wearing a redshirt.
We here at the Station are excited about the Irish and are looking forward to the vanilla Blue-Gold game to get some depth chart questions answered or at least give us something to write about.P.S. The entire coaching staff is in place for at least another year and that is a good thing.