Notre Dame mailblog

What's up?

Greg from San Francisco writes: Hi Matt, What's the real scoop on Ishaq Williams ? He came in as 5 star HS recruit along with Stephan Tuitt. He's not a starter and is played sparingly. Is it too early to consider him a recruitment bust ?

Matt Fortuna: Greg, I'd say it's too early, yes. He saw more and more action as the season went on last year, and I think the instant big impact others in his recruiting class -- namely, Aaron Lynch and Stephon Tuitt -- made at Notre Dame have probably skewed outside expectations. Fellow cat linebacker Prince Shembo's standout 2012 campaign probably didn't help matters, either.

Colin Meyer from Madison, Ind., writes: How long do you think it will take for Gunner Kiel to figure out that he is squandering his NFL career by sitting on ND's bench?

Matt Fortuna: Colin, this was a popular topic late last season, even as the Irish made their run to the national title game. We got to talk to Kiel during bowl media day, and he said the thought of transferring never crossed his mind. While Everett Golson clearly has the inside track heading into the spring, the quarterback position has been far from stable at Notre Dame in recent years, and we all know that Brian Kelly won't hesitate to make a switch if the production isn't up to par. I'd wait and see how things unfold in 2013 before speculating on Kiel's future.

Bobby from Pensacola, Fla., writes: Now that the recruiting class is signed it will be interesting to hear about the medical status of the players and 5th year invites... Let's get on it Matt, time to know what the roster is going to look like. GO IRISH!!!

Matt Fortuna: Bobby, no official word, but barring anything unforeseen the returning fifth-year players figure to be Zack Martin, Chris Watt, Dan Fox and Carlo Calabrese. I'd say Nick Tausch has a chance, too. As for medical status, Matt Hegarty (ministroke) is expected to be cleared by spring practice, Austin Collinsworth (shoulder and back surgeries) should be ready and Bennett Jackson and Fox (shoulder surgeries) will likely be limited come spring. I'd be surprised if Lo Wood (Achilles) participated at all in the spring, and, last we heard from Kelly, constant leg problems might force Tate Nichols to take a medical redshirt.