Notre Dame recruiting needs

With signing day rapidly approaching, here's a look at the needs in this class for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish:

Defensive line: Recruiting impact, star players on the defensive line have been a problem for Notre Dame for years. That problem now might be solved. The Irish are bringing in a highly acclaimed, highly impressive group of defensive linemen, including Aaron Lynch and Stephon Tuitt. They could help make Bob Diaco's defense, which improved so much down the stretch last season, a truly elite unit.

Offensive line: The Irish offensive line played pretty well this past season and came together in the final few games. Right tackle Taylor Dever is among those applying for a fifth year of eligibility, so left guard Chris Stewart might be the only loss. Still, the line needs some restocking, and coach Brian Kelly hasn't yet got the kind of quick, athletic linemen he prefers for his offensive system.

Running back: The one miss so far in this otherwise excellent recruiting class has been a difference-maker at tailback. Notre Dame will be replacing seniors Armando Allen and Robert Hughes in the backfield. Cierre Wood has showed flashes of brilliance but hasn't yet established himself as a consistent enough player. Kelly has even suggested that Theo Riddick might move back to running back from receiver.

Linebacker: The 3-4 scheme requires a talented hybrid player who can line up on the defensive front or stand up as an outside linebacker. The Irish hope touted recruit Ishaq Williams can be that guy. They were also thin at inside linebacker this season beyond Manti Te'o, and Brian Smith graduated.