Yes, ND has the occasional Joe Schmidt or Mike Annello, but it's pretty rare that a walk-on contributes on the field. I am sure ND has lots of walk-ons who work their butts off, but they were a 6'1 195 lbs DE from Hinsdale Central who had a 4.67 GPA and 1460 SAT and pops makes 475K as a [fill in lucrative occupation here].
That's an extremely limited pool to fish in.
On the other hand, when Kansas St played at West Virginia, the announcers mentioned that 30 of the 70 players who travelled to Morgantown started out as walk-ons at KSU. Think about that for a moment - 42% of its players didn't count against the 85 scholarship limit as they lifted, matured, grew. Also, when you offer a scholarship to a walk-on who has been on the roster for two years, it counts towards the 85 total but not the 25 annual limit.
K-State has a DT who's 6'1 305, Will Geary. He was a four-year heavy weight state champ wrestler and an excellent student. He started as a walk-on. You think he may have helped with our decimated defensive line this year?
ND's walk-one are feel good stories - as they should be. But name a non-kicker ND walk-on to play in the NFL. K-State has Jordy Nelson, Jon NcGraw, Ryan Lilja. Tomorrow K-State will have former walk-ons starting: Geary, Ryan Mueller, Curry Sexton, John Truman.
This simply cannot happen at Notre Dame. The tuition is too high and admissions too selective.