Recruiting update: Quarterback carousel needs to come up Irish
(Good work by those loyal readers who caught the lack of recruiting update in my AM column this morning... You’ll be rewarded with eternal consciousness, or something equally awesome.)
If there’s a lack of recruiting news, it’s because the Irish coaching staff is blanketing the country during the May evaluation period, getting to the high schools of as many potential recruits as possible.
Here’s the breakdown of the coaching staff and their recruiting regions, just to give you a look into the territories they each cover.
Tony Alford: Central Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Colorado
Kerry Cooks: Texas, New Mexico, Arizona
Mike Denbrock: California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Dakotas, Montana, Idaho
Bob Diaco: New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire
Mike Elston: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, South Florida
Tim Hinton: Southern Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Florida
Charley Molnar: Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia
Ed Warinner: Northern Ohio, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska, Kansas
If you’ve followed the ins and outs of recruiting at all, this isn’t necessarily a hard and fast breakdown of things. Specifically, Kelly looks to be using his coordinators as recruit-specific guys, doing the same with position coaches working to build relationships with players they’ll be hopefully coaching. Both Molnar and Diaco drop in and out, elevating the importance of a visit, especially during the spring period, when head coaches are unable to take trips.
While there are plenty of positions of need, expect the recruitment of a quarterback to take center stage until the Irish receive a verbal commitment. Here’s a look at the quarterbacks that are candidates to join the uncertain depth chart behind Dayne Crist.
KIEHL FRAZIER -- Springdale, Arkansas: Frazier is a truly national recruit, with offers from coast to coast. He’s a true dual-threat quarterback, beating teams with his legs, rocket arm, and even making plays on defense. (Don’t believe me, check out the highlight tape from his personal website.) Frazier seems high on the Irish and Kelly right now, but he and his father are playing things close to the vest, and he’ll see how the cards fall with other elite quarterbacks before making a commitment.
BRAXTON MILLER -- Huber Heights, Ohio: Miller profiles as the top prep quarterback in the state of Ohio and he has an offer from the in-state Buckeyes, usually a pretty good sign that a QB is going to end up in Columbus. While Kelly and Miller have known each other since Kelly’s Cincinnati days, it’s looking less and less like Miller will end up in blue and gold next season.
BUBBA STARLING -- Gardner, Kansas: If there’s a front-runner for the quarterback spot, it’s Starling, who has already visited Notre Dame twice this spring. That said, while the Irish are in good shape for the dual-threat quarterback’s pledge, Starling’s status as one of the top prospects in the 2011 Major League Baseball draft complicates things. Baseball America profiles Starling as a Top-50 prospect, and depending on his commitment to college football, he could be taken in the top two rounds.
MARQUISE WILLIAMS -- Charlotte, NC: While Williams hasn’t set foot on the Notre Dame campus, he’s put the Irish in his top five along with Virginia Tech, North Carolina, LSU and MIchigan. He’s another stud quarterback that has elite offers, a dual-threat signal-caller that is a truly national recruit.
JUSTIN WORLEY -- Rock Hill, SC: Worley is the most recent quarterback offer of Kelly and company, and they’ll compete with LSU, Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida and Florida State for his signature. The Irish have to gain ground on on both the Tigers and the Vols, but they’ve got Tony Alford and offensive coordinator Charley Molnar on the case as they push for a visit from Worley this summer.