The Big Board: WR and RB

RB Sony Michel

Part II of this week's expanded Big Board examines Notre Dame's needs and targets at wide receiver and running back.

There are a combined 23 seniors and 5th-year competitors on Notre Dame's 2013 roster. Subtract that total from the 83 present scholarships (including incoming freshmen) or 2013 and Brian Kelly's program has 60 scholarships taken for the 2014 season.

Beginning with that number (60), Irisheyes.com expects at least five current seniors -- RT Christian Lombard, QB Andrew Hendrix, TE Alex Welch, CB Lo Wood, and S Austin Collinsworth -- to apply for and be granted a fifth season of eligibility. That would make the number of scholarships taken for the 2014 season, 65.

Rather than presuming 65 scholarships, which makes for 20 open spots in the 2014 class, it makes more sense at an early stage to account for attrition over the next 10 months. Consider 22 pledges for the 2014 class as the working total.

Six of those 22 scholarships are already accounted for with Monday's pledge by OL Sam Mustipher and his fellow 2014 class members Greer Martini, Justin Brent, Jay Hayes, Jimmy Byrne, and Andrew Trumbetti.

In this, the second of of four Big Board updates this week, Irisheyes.com recruiting reporter Anna Hickey highlights Notre Dame's top offensive targets while O'Malley handles the team-centric aspect of each position group:

(Note: Click here for Part I of the Big Board and a look at the programs needs at offensive line and quarterback.)

Wide Receiver (3)

Three-star Speedway, Indiana native (Speedway HS) Justin Brent pledged to the Irish on July 9, 2012.

O'Malley Expects: One more top tier prospect, then two more pledges due to sheer need, the latter reality a direct result of the March 2013 transfers of Davonte' Neal and Justin Ferguson. As of today, the Irish would open 2014 with just seven receivers (including Brent); two more are thus mandatory.

Still, three pledges should cap the position in 2014 as it's a number that would give the Irish seven receivers signed over a two-year span. It's relevant to note that all of Notre Dame's 2014 receivers will have eligibility remaining as the class's only graduating senior, DaVaris Daniels, would have a 5th-year option.

Hickey's Top Targets

- Corey Holmes (Fort Lauderdale, Florida): Has visited Notre Dame three times.
Decision timeline: Plans to take officials
Schools to watch: Florida, Syracuse, Miami, Michigan
Notre Dame visit date: April 6, Post visit story: click here

--Michiah Quick (Fresno, California): Had a great time on his visit, he's not ready to decide any time soon, however. Oklahoma/USC seem to be biggest competition.
Decision timeline: Plans on taking all of his officials and announcing on National Signing Day.
Schools to watch: USC (team to beat), Alabama, Oklahoma, UCLA, Cal.
Notre Dame visit date: April 11, Post visit story: click here

--Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tennessee): Staying wide open right now, hasn't named any favorites.
Decision timeline: Plans to narrow this summer and most likely will take official visits.
Schools to watch: Tennessee (team to beat), Vanderbilt, Clemson, South Carolina, Ohio State, LSU, Florida.
Notre Dame visit date: April 20

--Artavis Scott (Tarpon Springs, Florida): Teammate Mason Cole committed to Michigan, both visited Notre Dame last summer.
Decision timeline: Not any time soon
Schools to watch: Florida, Michigan (team to beat), Florida State, Miami.

-- Mark Andrews (Scottsdale, Arizona): Being recruited the hardest by Arizona, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan, and Notre Dame
Decision timeline: None
Schools to watch: Arizona, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan.
Notre Dame visit date: April 20

-- Trevion Thompson (Durham, North Carolina): Staying open right now, Clemson may hold the early edge
Decision timeline: Plans to take officials and announce on NSD.
Schools to watch: Clemson (team to beat), Ohio State, Florida, West Virginia.
Visit date: June 22

-- Cameron Sims (Monroe, Louisiana): Likes Alabama right now, if the Tide will take him is in question.
Decision timeline: No timetable, but plans on taking official visits.
Schools to watch: Alabama (team to beat), LSU (no offer), Texas (no offer).

-- Malachi Dupre (New Orleans, Louisiana): Has long favored LSU
Decision timeline: No timeline set
Schools to watch: LSU (team to beat), Alabama, Florida, Ole Miss

-- Trey Quinn (Lake Charles, Louisiana): Irish need to get him on campus sooner than later to have a shot.
Decision timeline: Before his senior year
Schools to watch: LSU (team to beat), Clemson, Ole Miss

Running Back (1)

None are necessary in terms of overall numbers, but all elite players would obviously be welcomed by the staff, an opinion evident in their early approach to recruitment of the position. With six 'backs on the 2013 roster, none of which exhaust eligibility at season's end, relative depth is not an issue.

O'Malley Expects: One top tier pledge then a waiting game (i.e., 2013 season and off-season attrition). I don't think an eighth running back will join Notre Dame's 2014 squad, but if he does, he'll assuredly not be afraid of competition.

Any 'back below the upper echelon will be signed as a player capable of playing multiple positions -- a "Big Skill" athlete -- in Kelly parlance.

Entering fall 2013, Notre Dame's top running back talent will be in its junior (George Atkinson, Amir Carlilse, Cam McDaniel) and freshmen (Greg Bryant, Tarean Folston) classes. That's an enviable position entering the 2014 cycle.

Hickey's Top RB Targets

-- Sony Michel (Plantation, Florida): Big news of recent that he'll be back on campus April 20 for the spring game, Georgia still will be tough to beat
Decision timeline: April 26
Schools to watch: Miami, Georgia (team to beat), Florida, Florida State
Notre Dame visit date: April 20

-- Elijah Hood (Charlotte, North Carolina) - After favoring Notre Dame for most of his recruitment, he may be looking to stay closer to home. Latest news is Elijah will be back on campus April 27.
Decision timeline: Don't see it lasting longer than through the summer, could come sooner
Schools to watch: North Carolina (team to beat), Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Michigan, Clemson
Notre Dame visit date: April 27

-- Nathan Starks (Las Vegas, Nevada) - Visited Notre Dame April 11 and left feeling great about the Irish
Decision timeline: Doesn't plan on deciding soon
Schools to watch: USC, Oklahoma (team to beat), Alabama, Texas
Notre Dame visit date: April 11

-- Christian McCaffrey (Littleton, Colorado) - Father is Ed McCaffrey, who played for Stanford and in the NFL
Decision timeline: Plans to narrow his list after visits this spring and summer and decide before or during his senior year
Schools to watch: Stanford, Vanderbilt, Florida State, Michigan, Wisconsin

-- Joe Mixon (Oakley, California) - Recently cut his list to 16
Decision timeline: Will take officials and announce at the Army Bowl next Jan.
Schools to watch: USC (team to beat), Alabama, Oregon, Cal, Washington

-- Donte Thomas-Williams (Durham, North Carolina) - Right now, he's a backup if Notre Dame misses on Starks, Hood, Michel
Decision timeline: Plans to take officials and announce on NSD
Schools to watch: Clemson, Ohio State, Florida, Georgia Tech
Notre Dame visit date: June 22

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