Notre Dame Football Recruiting 2012: 7 Things the Irish Are Hoping for on NSD

Connor Killoren@@Connor_KillorenSenior Analyst IJanuary 29, 2012

Notre Dame Football Recruiting 2012: 7 Things the Irish Are Hoping for on NSD

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    With national signing day a mere three days from now, it's time to take a look at what the Fighting Irish are hoping for on Wednesday.

    The current recruiting class stands at 17, with three of those players (Gunner Kiel, Tee Shepard and Sheldon Day) currently enrolled in spring classes.

    Brian Kelly and Co. are hoping to add a few critical pieces in the next few days.

    Follow along to take a look at what the Irish are hoping for leading up to NSD.

7. Not Losing Any Commitments

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    The threat of a player de-committing is always present, as witnessed by former Notre Dame pledge Ronald Darby doing so after having been committed to Notre Dame for a few months.

    It'd be strange for a player to de-commit this late in the recruiting process, but it's never out of the question.

    Brian Kelly and his staff are working arduously to ensure that the current class holds until after each player has signed his national letter of intent.

    Irish fans shouldn't worry, though, as each of the 14 remaining commitments have vowed their allegiance to Notre Dame.

6. Reeling in Elite LB Ken Ekanem

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    Centreville, Virginia native and linebacker Ken Ekanem is set to announce his decision at 9 a.m. on Wednesday after a somewhat tumultuous recruiting process.

    The 4-star prospect tore his ACL during the Virginia high school playoffs, and dealt with staff changes at a few of the schools he was interested in, including North Carolina and Pitt.

    However, Ekanem is down to two schools in Virginia Tech and Notre Dame.

    It is widely expected that he'll be choosing the Hokies, after his official visit to Notre Dame was cancelled two days prior.

    Nothing is official until Ekanem signs his name on the dotted line, though.

5. Add to the Stable of Receivers with Davonte Neal

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    Davonte Neal, a 5'10", 175-pound receiver out of Scottsdale, Arizona, was recently visited by head coach Brian Kelly.

    The caveat is that Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer visited Neal on the same day.

    However, Neal has kept quiet during his recruiting process. The only thing we're sure about is that Neal will be choosing between Arkansas, Arizona, North Carolina, Ohio State and Notre Dame.

    Neal has taken official visits to each of the five schools.

4. Steal CB Brian Poole from Florida

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    With Notre Dame only having one commitment at the cornerback position in Tee Shepard, it's crucial that the Irish reel in at least one more.

    One option may be current Florida commit Brian Poole.

    The 5'11", 187-pound defensive back out of Bradenton, Florida has maintained a strong relationship with Notre Dame receivers coach Tony Alford throughout the recruiting process.

    An announcement from Poole is likely to come within the next 48 hours.

3. Persuade CB Marcus Rios to Come to South Bend

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    As I mentioned in the previous slide, Notre Dame is desperate for a few more commitments at the cornerback position.

    Like the situation with Brian Poole, the Irish will have to persuade Marcus Rios to leave his current school to come to join the Irish.

    Rios is currently committed to UCLA, but a new coaching staff screams anything but stability.

    At Notre Dame, Rios would be guaranteed playing time as a freshman. Will it be enough to convince him to leave UCLA?

    Only time will tell.

2. Hope That CB Anthony Standifer Passes Spanish

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    The title of this slide may seem a little silly, but it's true.

    Notre Dame requires prospective students to have completed two years of a foreign language, something Anthony Standifer had not done.

    Because of that fact, Standifer is currently enrolled in an online Spanish class, the passing of which would successfully make him an official commit.

    That's great news for the Irish, who are in great need at the cornerback position.

1. Convince Ronald Darby to Come Home

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    Former Notre Dame commit Ronald Darby de-committed at the end of December, and has opened up his recruitment.

    He has added Auburn, Clemson, Maryland and Florida State to his list of potential destinations.

    However, Darby returning to Notre Dame would be the icing on the cake for the Irish.

    Darby is considered to be the fastest player in the 2012 class, and he plays cornerback, which is also great news for Notre Dame.

    The coaching staff has remained heavily involved with Darby, who is likely to wait until Wednesday to make an announcement.