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Friday, June 6, 2014
Early Offer: Where do Irish turn now?

By Jeremy Crabtree

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: Notre Dame’s recruiting efforts for 2015 suffered a major setback when ESPN 300 quarterback Blake Barnett decommitted. So where do the Irish turn now at the quarterback spot? Plus, could Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas’ loss be Arkansas’ gain?

Irish back at square one with QBs
If there is one position that has to be addressed in the 2015 recruiting class for Notre Dame, it was quarterback. Everett Golson has two years of eligibility, and Malik Zaire and DeShone Kizer each have four. But there are no guarantees that Golson will return to old form, and you just never know about young QBs like Zaire and Kiser. Plus, Brian Kelly has always wanted to have at least three quality quarterbacks to work with over the years. That’s why Barnett’s early commitment made so much sense for the Irish.

Now that Barnett is no longer committed, the Fighting Irish have been sent back to the drawing board. And the bad news for Notre Dame is that a majority of the best quarterbacks in the country are already off the board. So which QBs might become hot commodities over the next few weeks?

Don’t be surprised to see Notre Dame make a run at California quarterbacks Travis Waller and Sheriron Jones. Waller might make the most sense because he’s a true-dual threat who fits the Irish system, and his high school has been kind to Notre Dame in the past. Jones looks to be focused on Florida and Tennessee, with trips to both schools scheduled for this weekend, but will he change that if the Irish come calling?

No matter what happens, it’s simply not a good situation for the Irish to be in, especially because it looked like quarterback was the one position Notre Dame didn’t need to worry about with the 2015 class.

Going his own way
It’s rare to see a prospect in the Lone Star State with the offer list of Keaton Sutherland, with local powers such as Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State eliminated, but that’s exactly what the three-star offensive tackle did on Thursday. Sutherland announced on Twitter a final four of Arkansas, Baylor, Ole Miss and Texas A&M. Keep an eye on Arkansas with Sutherland. He has two brothers attending college in Fayetteville, and he has made repeated trips to the campus for games and unofficial visits.