The most important thing to do during the spring is land targets at the need positions. Last year, Notre Dame loaded up on the Offensive Line and were finished at the position by the conclusion of Spring practice. The Fighting Irish have needs at Quarterback, Inside Linebacker, Offensive Line, Wide Receiver and Nose Guard. With the transfers of Gunner Kiel, Davonte Neal and Justin Ferguson, it is critical that Notre Dame finds players at those positions. Brian Kelly and his staff has top targets at each of these positions. Who are they?
Brandon Dawkins–QB–Thousand Oaks, CA (Oaks Christian)
At the beginning of the recruiting cycle, Dawkins was not as important as he was now. With the exit of Gunner Kiel, Notre Dame could be left with only two scholarship Quarterbacks in 2014. Andrew Hendrix does have eligibility left but there are no guarantees that he will want to return in a backup capacity. That means Notre Dame needs to land a Quarterback in this class to give them a 3rd Quarterback on the roster in 2014. Why is a 3rd Quarterback so important? Without a 3rd Quarterback, Notre Dame cannot effectively run the scout team to the level it should be. In addition, if someone were to be injured, Notre Dame would be in a dangerous situation.
Right now, the Fighting Irish have all their eggs in one basket with Dawkins. He is the only Quarterback that the Fighting Irish have offered up to this point. Dawkins only has offers from Notre Dame and Utah but other schools have expressed interest. He visited Notre Dame on October 13th. The majority of recruiting services have Dawkins ranked as a 4-star recruit. He threw for 2,844 yards and 33 touchdowns as a Sophomore. Notre Dame probably feels good about the position they are in with Dawkins because they have not offered another Quarterback and we are quickly approaching Spring Practice.
Alex Bars–OL–Nashville, TN (Montgomery Bell Academy)
Bars is a Notre Dame legacy who visited Notre Dame for Junior Day on March 23rd. Although Notre Dame did land a commitment from the 6’6″ 287 Offensive Linemen, they did put themselves solidly in the race for him.
Bars is a 4-star Offensive Linemen that ranks as the 182nd best player in 247′s rankings. Bars has recently visited Florida State and will visit Michigan on April 13th. This recruitment will continue on but Notre Dame is solidly in the race. Bars has visited Michigan several times including last year’s Spring Game, last fall and this upcoming April. They should probably be considered the favorite at the moment but Notre Dame might be 2nd.
K.C. McDermott–OL–West Palm Beach, FL (Palm Beach Central)
McDermott is perhaps the best Offensive Tackle in the 2014 class. 247Sports.com has McDermott ranked as the 31st player overall in the class. McDermott is down to Notre Dame and Miami. He has visited Miami three times and visited Notre Dame on March 26th for an unofficial visit.
The need for Offensive Linemen cannot be overstated. One of the reasons that Notre Dame lost the National Title is that they did not have enough Offensive Linemen to practice hard in preparation for the game. McDermott is a player who would give immediate quality depth to the Left or Right Tackle position and then could compete to start in his second year.
Corey Holmes–WR–Ft. Lauderdale, FL (St. Thomas Aquinas)
With the loss of Davonte Neal, Notre Dame only has one true slot receiver. The Irish could really use a body like Corey Holmes. Holmes plays for the famed St. Thomas Aquinas. At 6’2″ 175lbs, Holmes runs a 4.48 40-yard dash. This would be excellent for the Z position at Notre Dame.
Currently, Holmes has a Top 3 of Notre Dame, Miami and Michigan. Holmes is scheduled to unofficially visit Notre Dame on April 6, 2013. He already visited the Hurricanes on March 2nd. Notre Dame should be able to pitch early playing time to Holmes when he visits. Landing him will be a priority for Notre Dame when he visits.
Thomas Holley–DT–Brooklyn, New York (Abraham Lincoln)
Notre Dame fans have gone overboard on the necessity of landing another Louis Nix type player. His type of frame is not typically available at the high school level. Additionally, Notre Dame has players who could definitely move into the role that is occupied by Nix now. Tony Springmann, Eddie Vanderdoes and Sheldon Day are all candidates to fill in when Nix leaves. However, Notre Dame can sign a player who could develop in an excellent Defensive Tackle and Nose Guard.
Thomas Holley is one of these players. Holley hails from the same school as current Notre Dame Linebacker Ishaq Williams. Holley would be a bit of project but he has offers from all major programs including Alabama, Notre Dame and Ohio State. He has only played football for one year but has the size to be successful.