Fans worrying about this year’s recruiting class may find comfort in these facts:
- So far, there are no reports of anyone transferring at the semester from last year’s team.
- The Irish have eight freshmen from last year who never played a down, making them, along with the recruiting class of 2010, essentially new players coming on to next year’s team. Plus freshman tight end Tyler Eifert only played in the first game before an injury sidelined him, meaning he, too, will be eligible for a fifth year at Notre Dame. Among the eight who never played is running back Cierre Wood, who looked like the complete package in terms of power, size and speed the lone time the media got to watch him run in a scrimmage-like situation prior to the start of last season. The 6-foot, 218-pound Wood now has the possibility of playing four years under Brian Kelly, not to mention a fresh start with an almost entirely new coaching staff. Wood, who came in ranked the 10th-best player nationally by Sporting News, may be considered fourth on the depth cart behind Armando Allen, Robert Hughes and fellow frosh Theo Riddick heading into spring practice. But remember –– Allen and Hughes are in their final year. Another player worth keeping an eye on this spring is cornerback E.J. Banks, who was coming off a knee injury last year. In an interview last fall, he came across as a very impressive young man, who appears to have plenty of leadership ability. He also is quite an athlete, having played safety and QB in high school, rushing and passing for more than 1,000 yards each his senior year. You also can’t forget about offensive linemen Alex Bullard, Zach Martin and Chris Watt. With the graduation of starters Eric Olsen, Sam Young and Paul Duncan, opportunity abounds there. And then there’s nose tackle Tyler Stockton. There were a lot of high hopes for him when he came in ranked No. 32 overall in ESPNU’s top 150 recruits. Really, the whole group, which also includes linebackers Carlo Calabrese, he of the muscular structure, and Dan Fox, he of the more athletic- looking structure, not to mention Jake Golic at tight end, will be getting chances to contribute to next year’s team. And that should enhance the yet-to-be determined number of prospects in the recruiting class of 2010 that join them.