Stanford and Irish wage war in recruiting

Leave a comment

I discussed it briefly during the IBG, but the boys at One Foot Down did a nice job breaking down the recruiting wars that have been taking place between Palo Alto and South Bend the past few years.

If you want a better look give it a read, but here’s a cliffnotes version of the common battles between Stanford and Notre Dame and the wins and losses for the Irish and Cardinal last year.



      Tai-ler Jones
      Tate Nichols
      Chris Badger

      Devon Carrington
      Blake Lueders

My take: TJ Jones is the recruit that’s done the most damage out of all these players, as Lueders and Carrington have only received spot duty, with each chipping in a few tackles thus far. Still, both Lueders and Carrington are in positions of need for the Irish, and Kelly would’ve taken them both.

Here’s One Foot Down’s breakdown of the 2011 recruiting class:

2011 Class

This year provides a truer measure of the Kelly vs.
Harbaugh staff recruiting battles.  The Irish have concentrated on OL
and Defensive front seven needs and been quite successful.

Notre Dame Wins (5)

Matt Hegarty (OT, NM) – A top OT, Matt chose Notre Dame and has been solid.  Rivals ranks Matt as a four star and the #5 OT in this class.

Conor Hanratty (OG, CN) – Conor had Stanford in his favorites, but when ND offered, he accepted.

Clay Burton (OLB/DE, FL) – Clay will play the position Lueders would have taken.

Tony Springmann (DE/OL) – This Indiana native stayed home, choosing the Irish.  Stanford was one of his top choices, though.

Jarrett Grace (ILB, OH) – An April commit to the
Irish, this Cincinnati Colerain prospect will be a solid addition to the
Irish LB core and ranked the #22 ILB.

Stanford Wins (2)

Brendan Austin (OT, CO) – The Irish hotly pursued
Brendan for our remaining ROT slot, but he has chosen the Cardinal. 
Brendan is a four star and the #22 ranked OT in this class.

James Vaughters (ILB, GA) – James was offered early
by the Irish, but we did not make his top 5 favorites.  He is a four
star prospect, ranked the #5 ILB in this class.

Remaining Battles

Wayne Lyons (S, FL) – One of the top Safeties in
this class, Wayne would be a terrific addition to the Irish class at a
position of need.  Both ND and Stanford have made his top 7, which also
include the three Florida schools, Nebraska and UCLA.  Wayne has made
two Official Visits (ND and UCLA) with one set up for Nebraska.

Troy Niklas (TE, CA) – Troy has narrowed his list to
Notre Dame and Stanford.  Troy was initially considered a DE prospect
for the Irish until commitments from two top DEs.  Will the Irish have

Miles Shuler (Ath, NJ) – Miles plays QB in high
school, but his 4.4 speed projects him as a WR in college.  His top
seven include Notre Dame but not Stanford.

Brennan Scarlett (DE/OLB, OR) – Brennan has offers
from both schools, but ND has probably filled up at his position.  He
has yet to narrow his list, but may remain on the West coast.

While the recruiting battle for the 2011 is far from over, from
Stanford’s perspective, the Cardinal want to get an Official Visit from
Lyons, secure Niklas from ND, and make Scarlett’s list of favorites. 
Notre Dame would love to fill out their class with Lyons and Shuler
among a few others.

A good topic and a nice breakdown of the work that Harbaugh has done to get into the living rooms of some of the best talent in the country, guys that might not have ever considered Stanford until Harbaugh took over and transformed the persona of the program.


Irish add commitment from CB Donte Vaughn

Donte Vaughn

Notre Dame’s recruiting class grew on Monday. And in adding 6-foot-3 Memphis cornerback Donte Vaughn, it grew considerably.

The Irish added another jumbo-sized skill player in Vaughn, beating out a slew of SEC offers for the intriguing cover man. Vaughn picked Notre Dame over offers from Auburn, LSU, Miami, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Texas A&M among others.

He made the announcement on Monday, his 18th birthday:

It remains to be seen if Vaughn can run like a true cornerback. But his length certainly gives him a skill-set that doesn’t currently exist on the Notre Dame roster.

Interestingly enough, Vaughn’s commitment comes a cycle after Brian VanGorder made news by going after out-of-profile coverman Shaun Crawford, immediately offering the 5-foot-9 cornerback after taking over for Bob Diaco, who passed because of Crawford’s size. An ACL injury cut short Crawford’s freshman season before it got started, but not before Crawford already proved he’ll be a valuable piece of the Irish secondary for years to come.

Vaughn is another freaky athlete in a class that already features British Columbia’s Chase Claypool. With a safety depth chart that’s likely turning over quite a bit in the next two seasons, Vaughn can clearly shift over if that’s needed, though Notre Dame adding length like Vaughn clearly points to some of the shifting trends after Richard Sherman went from an average wide receiver to one of the best cornerbacks in football, and Vaughn will be asked to play on the outside.

Vaughn is the 15th member of Notre Dame’s 2016 signing class. He is the fifth defensive back, joining safeties D.J. Morgan, Jalen Elliott and Spencer Perry along with cornerback Julian Love. The Irish project to take one more.

With Notre Dame expecting another huge recruiting weekend with USC coming to town, it’ll be very interesting to see how the Irish staff close out this recruiting class.




Days before facing Notre Dame, USC coach Steve Sarkisian to take leave of absence


When Notre Dame takes on rival USC on Saturday, they’ll be facing a Trojans team without a head coach. USC athletic director Pat Haden announced today that effective immediately, head coach Steve Sarkisian will be taking an indefinite leave of absence. Offensive coordinator Clay Helton will be interim head coach.

While the details are still coming into focus, multiple reports point to another incident with alcohol. Haden himself said that he made the decision after speaking with Sarkisian.

“I called Steve and talked to him. It was very clear to me that he is not healthy. I asked him to take an indefinite leave of absence,” Haden said, according to multiple Los Angeles media reports.

Sarkisian’s decision-making and alcohol use came into the spotlight this August when the head coach made inappropriate statements at a large booster event. Sarkisian addressed the media after the incident, acknowledged mixing medication with alcohol, and vowed to seek help and not to make the same mistake again.

Today’s incident appears to be a relapse, and one that requires immediate attention. Helton ran the team’s practice today and steps back into an interim head coaching role, a job he handled after the Trojans fired Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron left after not being awarded the permanent job.

“Fortunately or unfortunately, I have been in this situation before,” Helton said. “Once again, I’m very fortunate to have a group of first-class kids that are extremely talented and want to do something special here.”

This is the second major sports persona to leave his season to seek treatment in recent weeks. New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia left the team to seek treatment for alcohol issues. The Trojans are coming off an upset loss to Washington on Thursday night, losing 17-12 as a 17-point favorite.