The loss of Eddie Vanderdoes continues to sting Irish fans, but Brian Kelly and Co have moved on and are already pushing hard to reload the defensive line through the 2014 recruiting class.
The Irish have offered Kentucky DT Matt Elam, Texas DE Solomon Texas and Brooklyn, NY DE Thomas Holley.
Elam, who sits at 6’6″ 340lbs, is a raw talent that has not completely grown into his size. With some development, Elam could fit nicely in Diaco’s 3-4 scheme and possibly replace Louis Nix.
Solomon Thomas, a 6’3” 256lb defensive end, has already made a visit to Notre Dame’s campus and ranks as a top 50 recruit by Rivals, Scouts and 247sports. The four-star prospect from Coppell, Texas, made the trip following the Rivals 100 Challenge in Chicago over the weekend.
Thomas Holley, a 6-4, 290-pound prospect from Brooklyn, N.Y., attends the same high school, Lincoln, as Irish linebacker Ishaq Williams and plans to visit later in June according to Tyler James of the South Bend Tribune. Holley ranks as the top 10 defensive tackle and top 100 player according to Rivals and 247Sports.
Kelly’s committment to the pursuit of defensive and offensive line prospects(4 recruits for 2014 class and 5 recruits in 2013 class) should reinforce to fans that Kelly intends to compete with top-level colleges in the trenches. As the summer continues and Notre Dame welcomes a plethora of visiting recruits, expect to see more offers for defensive line prospects. Some of these recruits, like Elam, may not have the rankings or the star rating, but they have the potential to develop into outstanding players and difference makers who fit into a larger team goal. So before everyone gets upset about the lack of star power remember that many recruiting services had Louis Nix as a 3-star recruit, and we all know how that turned out.