Excitement is running high for Notre Dame's 2011 season. But what about 2012 and beyond?
I recently caught up with ESPN.com recruiting expert Tom Luginbill for his take on how the Irish are recruiting for the Class of 2012. Brian Kelly currently as 13 commitments (you can view the current class here). Here's what Luginbill had to say:
Brian Kelly made the secondary a priority in this recruiting class. How do you think he's done with that so far?
Tom Luginbill: Well, first there's Ronald Darby, and he can really, really run. He's got great speed. I think he can play at both safety and at corner. He's primarily a corner at the high school level and will probably play corner for us at the Under Armour game.
Tee Shepard is a pure cover corner who has a chance to be really, really good. He is a guy that without question can be a potential play-early type.
C.J. Prosise, he's kind of a bigger safety, hybrid outside linebacker guy. I wouldn't classify him as a perimeter guy on the corner, and I don't think he needs to be, anyway. So I don't think there's any question that [Kelly] is making inroads in the secondary with the guys they've got so far.
Darby is one of five ESPNU 150 players in the class so far. What can you tell us about the other four?
TL: Justin Ferguson is a physical, well-built receiver. He's kind of built like a shorter version of Michael Floyd. He burst on the scene -- he didn't have a lot of early recruiting attention, and all of a sudden May and June rolled around and he started garnering some ACC and SEC attention and offers. He's a big, physical receiver that runs well. I don't think he is a get-into-space, wiggle, make-you-miss type guy but rather more of that physical, stretch-the-field, difficult-to-tackle receiver.
[Defensive lineman] Sheldon Day is one of those guys who doesn't weigh as much as he's going to. Right now, he's only about 270 pounds. He's not overly tall, so I don't know how more he's going to be able to pack onto his frame. But he is extremely active and a guy that can create some havoc from a three-technique position. He can get some one-on-one matchups and use his leverage and his hands to his advantage.
[Receiver] Deonte Greenberry, he's really, really good. He's a California kid who's very athletic and tall. He has a chance to be very, very good.
How would you rank Notre Dame compared to other teams in the country right now?
TL: Right now, they're sitting at No. 13. We don't focus on numbers -- the number will come and there's a long time between now and February. But they're starting to get once again in with the LSUs and the Miamis and Alabamas, the Michigans and the Auburns and Oklahomas, where that wasn't always necessarily the case when you talked about the players they're pursuing. Obviously, Brian Kelly is making inroads there.
Irish fans ask me if there will be a big-time running back in this class since the team is thing there right now. Anyone fit that bill who Notre Dame has a chance to get?
TL: Keith Marshall is a guy we're high on. He's the No. 1-ranked running back in the class out of North Carolina. He's a guy that everybody pretty much loves, and he's considering Notre Dame. But there's really not a lot of other high-end running backs in this class. Drew Harris is a kid we like who's in the top 20 overall running backs out of Pennsylvania. Wes Brown is another top running back out of Maryland. But as far as difference-makers, in my opinion, Marshall's probably the only one I would see them having a significant chance at.