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Quarterback carousel gets started

The Florida Gators locked in one of the elite quarterbacks of the 2011 class this week when Florida prep star Jeff Driskel committed to Floria over a pack of top SEC programs. While that recruitment seemingly has nothing to do with notre Dame, Driskel’s decision could’ve set forth the recruiting carousel that’ll likely result in the Irish locking in one of their select quarterback targets in the next few weeks.

Right now, the Irish have offered six quarterbacks from the 2011 class scholarships: Kiehl Frazier of Arkansas, Christian LeMay of North Carolina, Braxton Miller of Ohio, Bubba Starling of Kansas, Max Wittek of California and Justin Worley of South Carolina. After taking three quarterbacks in the 2010 recruiting class, you can only assume that Kelly will only take one quarterback this year. (A risky assumption, but one we’ll go with nonetheless...)

Of the six quarterbacks that Kelly has offered, all but Wittek and Worley are on the ESPN150 Watch List, and Wittek is already an elite recruit, with offers from both USC and UCLA as well as Florida and Florida State, while Worley has early offers from Florida, LSU, and Tennessee.
Of that entire list, every quarterback with the exception of Bubba Starling had an offer from the Gators, meaning that the commitment of Driskel will have those elite quarterbacks now looking to play somewhere other than Gainesville, and at the very least moving the Irish up a notch in their choices.

And while Starling might not have been hearing much from Urban Meyer, there are published reports that he’s been in South Bend the past few days on his second visit of the spring, getting to know Brian Kelly and the staff better. He took in practice yesterday, and it now looks like the Irish have the inside track to Starling’s commitment.

Starling isn’t the polished, college-ready quarterback that many expect Notre Dame to sign, but his raw athleticism, 6-foot-6 size, and blazing speed are natural elements that coaches can’t teach. The only wildcard with Starling are his prospects as a baseball player, where the right-handed pitcher is also a target of Major League Baseball scouts.

Driskel’s commitment might have been the domino that needed to fall, helping the rest of the elite quarterback recruits make a decision and fill some of the holes on the commitment lists of major programs. If it helps the Irish reel in Starling or any of the other targets the Irish have at quarterback, Irish fans should be thanking Urban Meyer for a change.