Here is a compilation of info from various articles - mostly ESPN, about 13 players eligible for 5th year at Notre Dame. Also, Harry Hiestand was named to the Irish coaching staff, replacing Ed Warinner as both offensive line coach and run game coordinator. (http://irish.nbcsports.com/2012/01/25/hiestand-named-ol-coach-and-run-game-coordinator/) That would seem to be an encouragement for the OL in particular to make a switch. They also announced the addition of Bobby Elliott as safeties coach, so maybe some DB’s will be that much more interested in switching. It will be a new system, but at least they get to be with the guy that actually recruited them.
John Goodman (WR), http://espn.go.com/blog/notre-dame-football/post/_/id/3071/staying-or-going-john-goodman By Matt Fortuna Before Notre Dame: From Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne, Ind., Goodman entered Notre Dame as ESPNU's No. 43 overall receiver. He played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. At Notre Dame: The 6-foot-3, 207-pound Goodman has 28 catches for 315 yards, including seven for 65 this season. He has also been Notre Dame's primary punt returner, averaging a team-high 0.6 yards per return this season (that's not a typo).
Last season, Goodman, who played quarterback his senior year of high school, tossed a 32-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd against Western Michigan. What's next?: A management-consulting major, Goodman is scheduled to graduate in May. The verdict: Staying. Goodman is probably the toughest call to make among those in this group. But with Floyd graduating and Theo Riddick possibly moving back to running back, there are spots for the taking at receiver. The Irish know what they're getting out of Goodman and he could provide some much needed stability for a unit that faces several questions moving forward.
Deion Walker (WR), By Matt Fortuna Before Notre Dame: From Christchurch (Va.) High School, Walker entered Notre Dame as ESPNU's No. 18 receiver and its 103rd player overall. At Notre Dame: The 6-foot-3, 206-pound Walker has played in seven games for the Irish the past three seasons, making one catch for 15 yards in 2009. What's next?: Walker has not ruled out a fifth year at Notre Dame, though the management-consulting major told The Observer he has a job offer from a bank in Kansas. He is scheduled to graduate in May. The verdict: Going. Walker came in as a highly touted recruit but was never able to crack the two-deep at receiver. Despite uncertainty around the unit next season, it is unlikely he would come back and leap over the younger players already ahead of him on the depth chart.
Braxston Cave (OC), Most probable (coveted by CW ?) 5th year, since the alternative is a pair of freshmen. Hmmm, "struggling to learn a new system". Maybe he’d like to return to a good ol’ system. Part one of twelve previews analyzing a dozen players essential to the Irish making a BCS run next season. http://irish.nbcsports.com/2011/03/02/2011-in-100-words-braxston-cave/related/. This article (http://espn.go.com/blog/notre-dame-football/post/_/id/3026/staying-or-going-braxston-cave) thinks he’s staying.
Before Notre Dame: From nearby Penn High School in Mishawaka, Ind., Cave entered Notre Dame as ESPNU's No. 126 overall prospect, and its No. 1 overall center. At Notre Dame: The 6-foot-3, 303-pound Cave played in 34 straight games and started 22 in a row before suffering a season-ending left foot injury Nov. 5 at Wake Forest. Mike Golic Jr. has started in his place since. What's next?: Cave underwent surgery Nov. 10 and will probably be held out of contact in the spring. Brian Kelly said he had two centers suffer similar injuries before -- in which a ligament pulls off the bone mid-foot -- and both came back strong. He estimated the recovery time is similar to that of a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The verdict: Staying. Cave has been an anchor on the line the past two years. He grew up on Notre Dame. And he will provide more stability to a unit that loses its entire right side next season, in guard Trevor Robinson and tackle Taylor Dever.
Lane Clelland (OT), http://espn.go.com/blog/notre-dame-football/post/_/id/3031/staying-or-going-lane-clelland By Matt Fortuna Before Notre Dame: From the McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Md., Clelland entered Notre Dame as ESPNU's No. 12 guard prospect. At Notre Dame: The 6-foot-5, 297-pound Clelland was recruited as a tackle, played in 14 games -- mostly on special teams -- and even spent some time in spring of 2010 as a defensive end. Unfortunately for Clelland, his season ended before it even started, as he tore an anterior cruciate ligament during the summer. What's next?
Majoring in English and computer applications, Clelland is expected to graduate in May. The verdict: Going. Clelland is the classic, unfortunate case of a guy who just couldn't seem to catch a break on the field, be it through injuries or multiple position switches. It would be a surprise if he came back for another go-round.
Jake Golic (TE), Class of 2009 Is Jake being confused with Mike, whom they project as the starting center with Cave leaving/recovering from injury.
Sean Cwynar (DT), No. 16 DT in Class of '08, 79 Scout Grade This article (...irish.nbcsports.com/2011/03/03/2011-in-100-words-sean-cwynar) makes a point of him being a bit out of position as a DT in a 3-4 scheme. With all the recruits we have in the middle now, are we more likely to play a 4-3 even though Campo coached in 3-4 schemes recently? By Matt Fortuna Before Notre Dame: From Marian Central Catholic High School in Woodstock, Ill., Cwynar entered Notre Dame as ESPNU's No. 16 defensive tackle. At Notre Dame:
Cwynar has played in 35 games the past three seasons and was the Irish's season-opening starter at nose guard this year. He missed one game this season and was limited in four others after breaking his right hand, which forced him to play with a club on it. Splitting time in the middle with sophomore Louis Nix, Cwynar has 21 tackles this season and 57 for his career, including three tackles for loss. He has also forced one fumble. What's next?: Having already graduated with a degree in management consulting, Cwynar is currently in Notre Dame's accelerated MBA program.
This season, he was named to the Capital One Academic All-District V team. Clearly, the future is bright for him beyond football. The verdict: Staying. Nix, impressive so far, is still only in his first year on the field. Defensive end Ethan Johnson is gone after this year. Cwynar provides plenty of stability in the middle, and Nix has clearly benefited from having him back in there at full strength. Cwynar has been a veteran presence in the middle of a defensive line that has been forced to rely heavily on its youth because of injury, and he should be a valuable piece moving forward. More recently, this article ( http://irish.nbcsports.com/2012/01/18/ready-for-next-challenge-cwynar-calling-it-a-career/) indicates that he isn’t going to play football at all, though it really only says that he won’t be playing at ND.
Kapron Lewis-Moore (DE), No. 19 DE in Class of '08, 79 Scout Grade By Matt Fortuna Before Notre Dame: From Weatherford (Texas) High School, Lewis-Moore entered Notre Dame as ESPNU's No. 19 defensive end. At Notre Dame: The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Lewis-Moore appeared in 32 games and started 29 before detaching the medial collateral ligament in his right knee Oct. 22 against USC, costing him the rest of this season. For his career, Lewis-Moore has 140 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. What's next?: Lewis-Moore underwent surgery Oct. 27, and Brian Kelly has said he expects the recovery time to be about 4-6 months. His status for the spring is unclear, though the Irish likely won't rush his return, given that they already know what he can do at full-strength.
The verdict: Staying. Aaron Lynch and Stephon Tuitt have had strong freshman seasons, but they certainly could benefit from a veteran presence like Lewis-Moore. The depth of the line was severely tested this season given injuries and illnesses to Lewis-Moore, Tuitt, end Ethan Johnson and nose guard Sean Cwynar. All but Johnson could be back next season, and the defensive line could be the strength of the defense.
Hafis Williams (DT), Staying or going? Hafis Williams By Matt Fortuna Before Notre Dame: From Elizabeth (N.J.) High School, Williams entered Notre Dame as ESPNU's No. 19 defensive tackle. At Notre Dame: The 6-foot-1, 295-pound Williams has played 24 games for the Irish, recording 19 tackles and two tackles for loss. He saw most of his action toward the end of last season in place of the injured Ian Williams. His 244 snaps last season were the fifth-most among Irish defensive linemen. What's next?: A sociology major, Hafis Williams has said he is undecided on his future. For now, he remains a reserve nose guard heading into the Irish's bowl game, though Louis Nix and Sean Cwynar see most of the snaps at that spot.
The verdict: Going. There are just too many bodies in front of him in the middle, especially if Cwynar returns. Plus, freshman Stephon Tuitt has shown the ability to play inside as well.
Brandon Newman (DL), By Matt Fortuna Before Notre Dame: From Pleasure Ridge Park High School in Louisville, Ky., Newman entered Notre Dame as ESPNU's No. 17 defensive tackle. He was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. At Notre Dame: The 6-foot, 303-pound Newman has played in just two games in his career, including this year's contest against Navy. What's next?: A film, television and theatre major, Newman will prepare for the Irish's bowl game as a reserve noseguard, though he is not on the two-deep. He told The Observer last month that he plans to apply for a fifth year and will look to play somewhere else next season if it doesn't work out at Notre Dame.
The verdict: Going. Louis Nix has been great in the middle. Sean Cwynar, when healthy, has been a solid force as well and may return. Freshman Stephon Tuitt has also seen time there, leaving little to no room for Newman moving forward.
Anthony McDonald (LB), By Matt Fortuna Before Notre Dame: From Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif., McDonald entered Notre Dame as ESPNU's No. 27 outside linebacker. He was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. At Notre Dame: The 6-foot-2, 238-pound McDonald has played in 27 games the past three seasons, recording 24 tackles. He suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament his freshman year, a concussion his sophomore year, another knee injury his junior year and a torn pectoral muscle this past spring. He saw extended action in last season's Sun Bowl in place of the injured Manti Te'o. What's next?: A sociology major, McDonald will prepare for the Irish's bowl game as a reserve inside linebacker, though he is not on the two-deep at either spot.
The verdict: Going. If it sounds like we have said this before, it's because we have. But McDonald is another case of a talented high school player who ran into a rash of injuries at the next level, hindering him from making a lot of progress.
David Posluszny (LB), By Matt Fortuna Before Notre Dame: From Hopewell High School Aliquippa, Pa., Posluszny entered Notre Dame as ESPNU's No. 30 outside linebacker. At Notre Dame: The 6-foot, 235-pound Posluszny has played in 25 games the past three seasons, seeing time on special teams and at inside linebacker. He has eight career tackles. He missed some time last season because of a hamstring injury. What's next?: A management-entrepreneurship major, Posluszny will prepare for the Irish's bowl as a reserve inside linebacker, though he is not on the two-deep.
The verdict: Going. Three of Notre Dame's top four inside linebackers will be back — and perhaps even all four if Manti Te'o chooses one more year in college over the NFL draft — leaving little room for Posluszny next season.
Dan McCarthy (S), By Matt Fortuna Before Notre Dame: From Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, Ohio, McCarthy entered Notre Dame as ESPNU's No. 24 safety and was named Gatorade Player of the Year for Ohio. He joined older brother Kyle, who was a 2009 captain for the Irish and currently plays for the Denver Broncos. At Notre Dame: The 6-foot-2, 205-pound McCarthy has appeared in 23 games the past three seasons, playing at safety and on special teams. He has totaled 15 tackles and one forced fumble for his career, which has been hampered by injuries. What's next?: For now, McCarthy will back up captain Harrison Smith as the Irish prepare for their bowl game.
The verdict: Going. Much like Clelland, McCarthy never caught much of a break on the field, suffering a neck injury in a high school game his senior year and dealing with a hamstring injury early last season before later undergoing shoulder surgery.
Jamoris Slaughter (S, CB as a Soph) No. 5 S, No. 85 overall in Class of '08, 82 Scout Grade By Matt Fortuna Before Notre Dame: From Tucker (Ga.) High School, Slaughter entered Notre Dame as ESPNU's No. 5 safety and its 85th player overall. At Notre Dame: The 6-foot, 198-pound Slaughter has played in 35 games the past three seasons for the Irish, starting 15. He spent some time at corner before moving back to safety. Slaughter has 85 career tackles, two tackles for loss, two interceptions and one forced fumble. He was plagued by an ankle injury through much of last season. This season, he has been valuable in nickel coverage for the Irish, replacing drop linebacker Prince Shembo in certain situations and taking on a hybrid-like role. What's next?: The industrial design major will continue to split time with Zeke Motta at safety opposite captain Harrison Smith in the lead-up to the bowl game.
The verdict: Staying. Three-fourths of the Irish's starting secondary will not return, and Slaughter, whose versatility has been on display this season, will likely be the leader of the unit heading into 2012.