Notre Dame football notebook: What's Plan B for Irish at DL?

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Even if Eddie Vanderdoes' arrival at Notre Dame hadn't shifted fromimminent to ominous in the past 48 hours, adding elite defensivelinemen to the 2014 recruiting class was at the top of the Irishcoaches' to-do list.

"If Vanderdoes doesn't end up coming," said 247Sports nationalrecruiting writer Steve Wiltfong, "then it becomes a little moreurgent."

Vanderdoes remains in self-imposed limbo about whether he'll begin hisNotre Dame football and academic career on June 17 or not at all.UCLA, a 61/2-hour drive from Vanderdoes' hometown of Auburn, Calif.,remains the rumored alternative.

The particulars surrounding the 6-foot-3, 285-pound five-stardefensive line prospect remain muddled in the rumor stage, withmultiple sources trumpeting an academic snag, and Vanderdoes' familyjust as vehemently telling Sacramento Bee reporter Joe Davidson: "Onething I can tell you is grades or eligibility is not and has neverbeen an issue."

Notre Dame's issue -- Vanderdoes or no Vanderdoes -- is that recruitingand developing standout defensive linemen helped transform the Irishinto a national championship contender again. A step backward in thatdepartment would distance the Irish from the template with which thetop-shelf SEC schools, in particular, build success.

In that light, here are the names worth remembering: Khairi Clark,Josh Frazier and Andrew Williams.

Those are the three players, Wiltfong said, that Notre Dame appears tobe zeroing in on to add to already committed defensive linemen JayHayes of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Andrew Trumbetti of Demarest, N.J. TheIrish have 10 commitments for 2014 overall.

Some other prospects in the mix include Jalyn Holmes, a 6-5, 235-pounddefensive end from Norfolk, Va. (Luke Taylor High School), and MattNelson, a 6-8, 250-pound defensive end from Cedar Rapids, Iowa(Xavier), who already has visited ND unofficially and has another tripplanned to South Bend next month.

Clark and Frazier are coveted not just for their prowess but becausethey fit ND's nose guard profile better than anyone projected at thispoint to be on the Irish roster after the 2013 season (includingVanderdoes).

The 6-2, 325-pound Clark will be a senior at Chaminade Madonna inHollywood, Fla. He is ranked as the No. 139 overall prospect in thelatest rankings and No. 52 by 247Sports.

The 6-3, 334-pound Frazier will be a senior at Har-Ber High inSpringdale, Ark. He sits at No. 92 in the Rivals top 250 and No. 71 inthe 247Sports player rankings.

Williams is a 6-4, 245-pound defensive end from ND incoming freshmandefensive end Isaac Rochell's high school -- Eagles Landing ChristianAcademy in McDonough, Ga. He is unranked by Rivals and No. 200 by247Sports.

"I wouldn't say they're the leader for any of them," Wiltfong said."But they're in the mix for all of them and in a position to get anofficial visit from all three. You've got to remember, ND wasn't theleader at this time last year for a lot of really good players theyended up signing.

"What it's really about at this point is being in the game, and theIrish are doing just that."

Five make Rivals list reshuffled its top 250 prospect rankings this week -- andundoubtedly will several times before national signing day nextFebruary.

Two Irish commits are among the 18 players designated as five-starprospects -- running back Elijah Hood (the No. 13 prospect regardlessof position) and offensive tackle Quenton Nelson (No. 16). Threeothers made the top 250 -- offensive tackle Alex Bars (56th), offensiveguard Sam Mustipher (123rd) and wide receiver Justin Brent (174th).

Golic lands at UC

Former Notre Dame tight end Jake Golic announced on his Twitteraccount Tuesday that he is transferring to the University ofCincinnati, where he'll be a fifth-year senior.

"Can't thank the ND family enough for all the love and support overthe last 4 years at ND. You have made it a pleasure to be Irish!"Golic wrote. "With that being said, I am incredibly excited about theopportunity of attending the University of Cincinnati and being a#bearcat!"

The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Golic appeared in five games in his ND careerand did not catch a pass. The son of former Irish standout and currentESPN personality Mike Golic battled injuries throughout his career andplayed behind standouts Kyle Rudolph and Tyler Eifert. Golic was aU.S. Army prep All-American after playing at Northwest Catholic Highin West Hartford, Conn.

Golic becomes the second ND player to transfer to Cincinnati, Irishcoach Brian Kelly's former school, in the past couple of months.Earlier this month, freshman quarterback Gunner Kiel enrolled atCincinnati. Kiel, however, won't become eligible to play until 2014,the season after Golic's college eligibility expires.

Golic's older brother, Mike Jr., completed his eligibility at NotreDame last season. The offensive lineman went undrafted and signed afree agent contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Early ranking

Athlon Sports slates ND as the No. 8 team in its preseason collegefootball poll.

Defensive end Stephon Tuitt and nose guard Louis Nix were named to themagazine's first-team All-America unit, and left tackle Zack Martinwas named to the third team.

ND's defensive line was rated the country's second-best unit, thelinebacker group sixth and the defensive backs No. 10.


-- Former Notre Dame safety Jamoris Slaughter, a sixth-round draftchoice of the Cleveland Browns, on Tuesday became the team's firstmember of its draft class to sign a contract. Slaughter signed afour-year deal.

-- Former Irish kicker David Ruffer, who last played college footballin 2011, has signed with the New England Patriots.

Staff Writer Bob Wieneke contributed to this story.

Staff writer Eric Hansen:


Eddie Vanderdoes