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Friday, September 28, 2007


In 2006, after Charlie Weis's first season as Notre Dame's head coach and a 9-3 record, the Irish pulled in Rivals's eighth-ranked recruiting class: 28 players, with an average rating of 3.46 stars. Now three of those players - QBs Zach Frazer and Demetrius Jones, and TE Konrad Reuland - have all left the team, and another - OL Chris Stewart - is thinking of doing the same. In each case, these have been players low on the depth chart - Frazer was the #4 quarterback and Jones was a backup at best, Reuland was reportedly in a battle with freshman Mike Ragone for the #3 spot, and Stewart hadn't seen the field at all this year - apparently looking for a place where they'll have a better chance to play. Following up on a suggestion from at Her Loyal Sons, though, it seems worth comparing this rate of attrition with those at other top programs.

Let's start with Southern Cal, which had the #1-ranked 2006 class according to Rivals, with 25 total players. That class has seen the following players depart (USC's current roster is here):

Florida's second-ranked class is considerably more intact (official roster here), as their only transfer so far out of 27 total players was that of 3* ATH Derrick Robinson, who quit the team to pursue a career in professional baseball. But Florida State's third-ranked class has lost four players out of their original 31 (official roster here):
Similarly, Georgia's fourth-ranked class has lost three players of its original 28 (official roster here):
And the University of Texas (official roster here) has lost five players from their original 25, which ranked fifth:
In sum, ND's transfer rate so far is not much to worry about. As I said, all of the players who have left, or are thinking about leaving in Stewart's case, seem to have done so primarily because of depth chart issues, and when four-star highschoolers don't manage to get on the playing field, that suggests that the talent level - in ND's case, among the underclassmen - is very high.

Moreover, note that with an NCAA-imposed limit of 85 total scholarships, having a class of 28 can be a bit problematic. The Irish can get away with it - and indeed, can use all the bodies they can get - right now because of their incredibly small junior, senior, and fifth-year classes, but the size of the '06 class could have posed a problem down the line. That said, other schools make up for players who transfer away from their program with others who transfer TO it - whether from junior colleges or other D-I programs - and ND has a policy of not doing this.

Don't jump, though. At this point there's every reason to think these transfers have been a product of what's happened on the practice field and the players' inabilities to rise to the top, rather than ND's lack of success this season on Saturday afternoons.


CNY_Domer said...

Sorry to quote Coach Gundy but were are we at in society, when these young student athletes transfer from a school due to playing time and pro prospect potential. Were as a parent does someone say to a student athlete who is considering transferring that you are a student first and transferring from a school will hinder you progress to a diploma and graduation. Moreover, what happen to trying to beat out the person in front of you with hard work? Additionally, what does it teach to a young student athlete that when faced with adversity just transfer from the situation. The only parent from the transferring Notre Dame Football players that has acted like a parent is George Stewart who said he does not what Chris to transfer. Someone please bring me clarity to this situation.

John said...

I think you're right. These kids are coming from a situation where they've been told their whole lives that they were the best, and now they've got friends, family, and coaches at other schools telling them they have a shot at the big time if all they do is transfer. They're really being done a huge disservice.

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