Irish stocked with DEs, may add another

Notre Dame has long been known as a tight end magnet. But when it comes to the 2011 recruiting class, South Bend has become the en vogue destination for some of the nation’s top defensive ends.

With National Signing Day (Feb. 2) rapidly approaching, coach Brian Kelly has already landed an eye-popping crop of edge rushers, some of whom might transition to other positions for defensive coordinator Bob Diaco. And as two of the Irish’s final three targets chose other programs this week, Anaheim, Calif. DE Troy Niklas, rated a three-star player by ESPN, might end up capping an impressive haul that already stands at 23 players.

The 6-foot-7, 245-pounder, who is also ranked the 19th best tight end, is on campus this weekend for an official visit. He also visited Stanford, where he wasn’t accepted with a 3.7 GPA, and USC in recent weeks. If Niklas signs on, he’ll join four-star recruits Aaron Lynch, Stephon Tuitt and Ishaq Williams. The Irish also have verbal commitments from three-star ends Tony Springmann, Brad Carrico and Chase Hounshell.

Carrico, Lynch and Williams enrolled for the spring semester.