Nobody has a crystal ball, and it is easy being a Monday morning QB. Guys are going to leave or back-out at the last minute, and when you have multiple coaches in a short period, everyone is trying to support their own philosophy/strategy (unless you are TW and your philosophy is not to put the time into recruiting...which means his strategy/execution fit his philosophy....which led to his execution).
However, there is one thing that should be consistent…take at least one QB in every class (a “real/legitimate” QB recruit). It would be nice if you could take an absolute stud every other year to balance the expectations…but let the chips fall where they may regarding who gets to start. Biggest QB recruiting mistakes since 2002 were:
1. 2004: TW taking lower ranked David Wolke (3 Star #43 QB recruit accoring to Scout) and Darren Bragg (2 Star #82) after Chris Olsen left once Quinn won the job…Olsen left prior to the 2003 season.
2. 2009: Coach Weis not taking at least one QB, even though he dad Clausen and Crist the pervious 2 years (he lost both QBs from the '06 class in 2007. He should have been able to have gotten someone similar to the 2010 QB recruits, and not left the 2010 team with Crist and 3 freshmen and walk-on Montana).
Below are the 2002 to 2014 QB recruits and rankings according to Scout.
- Chris Olsen (4 Star #18)
…. Transferred in the summer before his sophomore year to Virginia after Brady Quinn passed him on the depth chart
…. His brother Greg (5 Star #1 TE) transferred to Miami prior to classes starting in his freshman year.
- Brady Quinn (4 Star #14)
…. Started for Willingham his freshman year
…. The only reason that Willingham landed Brady Quinn was because Mr. Ndukwe told TW to recruit him (Mr. Ndukewe used to bring Brady and his son Chinedum to ND for football games to visit Ndukwe’s older son). Chinedum Ndukwe (4 Star #23 WR) was the first recruit in the 2003 class because he camped at ND (easy pick’ns)…and Mr. Ndukwe said to TW why aren’t you recruiting Quinn (has offers from UM & OSU) and TW was not pursuing him at the time. TW was such a waste…maybe he did not want to scare Darren Bragg away.
- David Wolke (3 Star #43)
- Darren Bragg (2 Star #82)
…. Wolke, lowest rated first QB option in this ten year span...Bragg must be one of the lowest ranked QBs in quite some time.
…. What a waste part 2…an even bigger waste. I believe that Bragg was moved to another skill position.
…. Overall this may be the worst recruiting class in ND history. There were more 2-Star recruits (4) than 4-Star recruits (3) in this 17 player class. Only two OL in this class and both never played...leading to the worst OL depth in history. TW did more damage in recruiting than the recent USC NCAA penalty.
- Evan Sharpley (4 Star #18)
…. Only QB in class…should have perhaps tried for 2 4-Star recruits (or at least another 3-Star recruit since we are talking about TW recruiting class before CW could fully recruit) due to losing Olsen and only having lower ranked QB recruits Wolke and Bragg in 2004
…. Sharpley a better baseball career than football career, but he was important to have for back-up insurance. If you do not count Bragg, then ND had recruited 2 scholarship QBs over a 4 year period that were still on the team…crazy
- Zach Frazier (4 Star #9)
…. Transferred to UConn prior to sophomore camp since he was slated #4 after Spring practice with Clausen as a Freshman
- Demetrius Jones (3 Star #34)…ranked higher by services other than Scout
…. Transferred to Cincinnati after starting first game as a sophomore after Clausen was given the job.
Coach Weis did the right thing in bringing in these 2 QBs for the future. Coach Weis could have lost Quinn to the draft after his junior year…and these 2 QBs plus Sharpley would have been the only QBs available for 2006.
- Jimmy Clausen (5 Star #1…some felt #1 overall player…most heralded recruit since Powlus).
…. Started 2nd game of freshman year. Frazier left before the season and Jones transferred to Cincinnati immediately after losing his spot. Depth: Clausen…Sharpley…Bragg…or walk-on
- Dayne Crist (5 Star #3)
…. Great follow-up to Clausen…Clausen leaves after junior year and Crist redshirts freshman year. This leaves Crist with 2 to 3 years as a started and back-up to a projected All American. This seemed to be the USC pipeline tradition. Only downside is that Sharpley is only back-up if Clausen gets hurt…and Clausen was getting sacked like crazy his sophomore year (could have required Crist to burn his freshman year of reshirt).
- No QB in this class
…. Depth Clausen (Jr.); Crist (RS Fr.); Sharpley (5th year)
…. Mistake not getting at least a 3 Star QB recruit, to get some experience in the system since Crist would be the only returning scholarship QB (perhaps CW felt comfortable with Goodman and McCarthy from the ’08 class as potential back-ups).
…. Almost under any circumstances you have to take a QB. If CW got a 3-Star QB in this class, he would probably have gone into the game in 2010 when Crist went down…instead of Rees as a freshman with spring practice experience.
- Andrew Hendrix (3-Star #29)
- Tommy Rees (3-Star #64)
- Like Massa (3-Star #74)
- Derek Roback (2 Star #102)…I believe taken as an athlete
…. Coach Weis’ last recruiting class for the year before being let go. Coach Kelly had to keep both Rees
and Massa since he had no other QB returning other than Crist. Coach Kelly convinced Hendrix to come to ND. Thank goodness Rees was an Early Entry…I bet that Hendrix now wishes he had been an Early Entry.
…. Crist (only returning QB) goes down and in comes Rees
- Everett Golson (4 Star #15 QB)
…. 4th highest recruited QB in 10 years (1. Clausen 2. Crist 3. Quinn).
…. Fits the profile for what Coach Kelly is looking for (very mobile QB who can extend plays and potentially run).
…. Have Crist and Rees coming back, so he can be redshirted.
- Gunner Kiel (5 Star #1 QB)
…. 2nd highest rated QB in over 20 years after Clausen and before Powlus.
…. Everett Golson was being developed all through the year and improved.
…. At best it appeared that Kiel would have one year as a started (Golson staying for 5 years).
…. I suspect that Kiel was probably hoping that Rees was the starter, so Kiwl would have his freshman year to catch-up to Golson…when Rees got suspended, Kiel’s chances were further diminished.
….I wish him well. I hope he goes someplace with a good OL.
- Malik Zaire (4 Star #14)
…. Similar to recruiting numbers as Quinn…which does not mean he is better or worse than Quinn as a recruit).
…. Taller and bigger than Golson, but appears to have the similar skill sets
…. Hopefully he can redshirt, but could be forced into service based upon Hendrix’s plans and if there are injuries to Golson and Rees. Massa could be pressed into service as a 3rd string QB behind Rees.
- Brandon Dawkins (4 Star #17)…only QB offered by ND and supposedly has strong interest
…. Has similar size to Gunner Kiel but not as highly recruited (6’4” – 215 lbs.). In his sophomore year in HS he threw for 3,000 yds. 30 TDs and 300+ yards rushing. Comes from same HS as Jimmy Clausen (Oaks Christian HS).