Notre Dame Offers QBs Travis Waller, Jarrett Stidham to Replace Blake Barnett

Tyler DonohueNational Recruiting AnalystJune 5, 2014

Credit: 247Sports

Notre Dame lost prized quarterback prospect Blake Barnett on Wednesday when he ended a six-month commitment to the Fighting Irish by posting a statement announcing his decision on his Twitter account. Head coach Brian Kelly and his staff swiftly responded Thursday, taking a proactive approach in an attempt to replace him.

The team extended scholarship offers to a pair of 4-star passers. Notre Dame's new targets are Travis Waller (Anaheim, California) and Jarrett Stidham (Stephenville, Texas):

Less than 24 hours after losing a promising piece of the 2015 class, Fighting Irish fans can take solace in the fact that other options have quickly surfaced. Both players are at uniquely different spots in their respective stages of recruitment.

Waller, a 6'3", 190-pound Servite High School standout, has seen interest mount since mid-May. Offers from Cal, Maryland and Alabama have arrived in recent weeks.

Now that Notre Dame is in the mix, it's fair to say he's one the country's hottest recruits. Waller previously held offers from Arizona, Washington, Tennessee and Northwestern, among others.

He completed 54 percent of his passes for 1,669 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2013. Waller flashed excellent mobility in the process, rushing for 1,293 yards and another 13 scores.

Waller is rated No. 3 nationally among dual-threat quarterbacks in 247Sports' composite rankings. Wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown is his top target at Servite, and the 4-star recruit expects to visit South Bend next week, according to 247Sports' Barton Simmons (subscription required).

Notre Dame may decide to go all-in on trying to secure the duo as a package deal.

Stidham, a 6'3.5", 190-pound prospect from the Lone Star State, doesn't present quite the rushing threat that Waller incorporates into his game but remains dangerous as a runner. He gained 821 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground as a junior.

His prowess as a passer places him above Waller in 247Sports' rankings, which rate Stidham No. 2 nationally among dual-threat quarterbacks. He completed 61 percent of pass attempts for 2,613 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2013.

Stidham displayed serious athleticism as a sophomore when he took snaps at wide receiver. Before shifting behind center, he caught 50 passes for 819 yards and 11 scores in 2012.

Unlike Waller, he has announced a collegiate commitment.

Stidham pledged to Texas Tech in March. He chose the Red Raiders over a lengthy list of options that includes Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Florida and Texas.

Waller and Stidham are the latest quarterbacks to land on Notre Dame's radar but may not be the last. Kelly is likely to expand his options after the unexpected departure of Barnett.

The next step in the process will be to establish a rapport with both quarterbacks, who may be interested to understand why the Irish didn't target them during earlier stages of the 2015 recruiting cycle. Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury is more than likely immediately on a mission to lock down Stidham and alleviate any concerns the in-state star might have about his commitment to the Red Raiders.

With Barnett out of the picture, Notre Dame has quickly turned the page. Thursday's developments represent a strong step toward stabilizing the situation and getting things back on track for a recruiting class that currently rates 20th nationally in 247Sports' composite team rankings.


Recruit information and statistics courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.