National Signing Day 2010: Who Will Fill Out Notre Dame's Depleting Class?
Brian Kelly spent his day on Feb. 3rd, 2009 huddled in a conference room alongside his many assistants and recruiting assistants.
This year, Kelly will spend the "Super Bowl of Recruiting" in a conference room situated in the football offices of South Bend, Ind.
Taking over for Charlie Weis, Kelly had to forget his Cincinnati "big board" and turn his attention to the Notre Dame prospects.
Now, with a little over a week to go before signing day, Kelly still has plenty to work to do in order to secure the current Irish class and reel in a few more big names to finish what Weis and Co. started.
Instead of visiting local prospects in his old black and red helicopter, Kelly will board the Notre Dame private jet and fly around the nation to visit many of the remaining uncommitted prospects.
OT Matt James (Ohio), OT Seantrel Henderson (Minnesota), and LB Christian Jones (Florida) will all be getting an in-home visit from Kelly sometime this week, along with a number of assistants.
Notre Dame currently has 16 committed players in this class. Just earlier today, RB Gio Bernard re-opened his recruitment, now listing the Irish, North Carolina, and Oregon State as his favorites.
With DE Blake Leuders also decommitting from the Irish tonight, this is bound to be a rocky rollercoaster ride for the next 10 days, full of excitement and disappointment.
Where will the remaining top Irish targets end up on Feb. 3rd?
-Seantrel Henderson, Ohio State : Weis' departure actually helped the Irish in Henderson's recruitment. Although the Buckeyes look like the likely destination, don't be surprised if he follows his father's words and chooses the Irish.
-Matt James, Notre Dame : James has a close relationship with most of the staff, as he was recruited by Kelly at both of his schools this year. Down to Ohio State, the Bearcats, and the Irish, it would be very hard to imagine James going anywhere but South Bend.
-Christian Jones, Florida State : The Irish may have gotten in a little late in this race. He is another case of Weis' departure helping Notre Dame's chances in a recruitment. Florida State looks to be almost a done deal, but with recent news of Jones trying to get his grades up and having a great relationship with Tony Alford, the Irish may be able to pull off the upset.
-Dietrich Riley, UCLA : Riley was blown away by his visit to UCLA. If it's not the Bruins, then he will choose the Trojans. The only way Riley ends up in South Bend is if he takes Kelly up on his offer as a running back.
-Danny Spond, Notre Dame : A quarterback in high school, he is being recruited by Kelly as a linebacker. He fits the mold of a Kelly RKG (Right Kind of Guy). If he enjoys his visit on the 29th, expect a commitment from him shortly after. Colorado, where Spond was formerly committed, is the likely competition here.
-Jeremy Ioane, Notre Dame : Manti Te'o and Roby Toma's former Hawaiian teammate, Ioane is being recruited as a safety by the Irish. After being blown away by his visit to Washington, the Irish will need to "wow" him this weekend on his official visit. In the end, his close friends and opportunity in South Bend might be too much for Ioane to pass up.
-J.R. Ferguson, Notre Dame : Ferguson is a curious (and quiet) case. He has said great things about the Irish but hasn't named a leader throughout the process. I'm expecting Kelly to either reel in Jones or Ferguson as the last big-name defensive recruit of this class.
-Luke Massa, Notre Dame : Originally committed to Kelly at Cincinnati, the new Irish head coach offered Massa again after coming to South Bend. Although Notre Dame already has verbals from two quarterbacks in Andrew Hendrix and Tommy Rees, there is no reason why Massa would not join as he has stated competition will not be a factor in his decision.
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