When Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly addressed the needs for the 2011 recruiting class on Wednesday, he jokingly said, "On the offensive side of the ball, we'll only take about five or six more quarterbacks next year, and I think we'll be all set."
At least, I think that was a joke. He was smiling and laughed a little when he said it.
Kelly's joke to stockpile quarterbacks comes from Notre Dame signing three signal callers – Tommy Rees, who's already enrolled in school, Andrew Hendrix and Luke Massa.
The quarterback position was one the Irish needed to create at depth at, as Dayne Crist – who is recovering from a torn ACL but should participate in everything but contact drills during spring practice, according to Kelly – was the team's lone scholarship quarterback after Jimmy Clausen declared for the NFL draft.
But one analyst was perplexed with Kelly bringing in three quarterbacks, and the number could be considered five if athletes Derek Roback and Danny Spond are included in the mix.
"I didn't understand why they signed so many quarterbacks because most of those quarterbacks aren't athletes," said Barry Every, a national recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. "I don't know what they are going to do with them all.
"Luke Massa, I like him because he's a big, strong-arm kid who likes to stay in the pocket. Andrew Hendrix has shown flashes of brilliance, but at other times, he's been a little inconsistent.
"I don't think (Rees who's from Lake Forest (Ill.) played the same competition that (Massa from Cincinnati's St. Xavier and Hendrix from Cincinnati's Moeller) played in Ohio. Those two kids from Ohio played the best competition you could possibly play. Rees doesn't have the arm strength that those two have either, so I believe he has an uphill battle."
Rees committed when Charlie Weis was still coaching Notre Dame, and Every said by enrolling early and being able to compete in the spring and get used to the program could help the 6-foot-3, 192-pound quarterback develop.
"You do get an advantage going through spring ball," Every said. "Get used to going to classes, and you get used to having your time restricted. You go to class, you got meetings, you got weight lifting, you got practice and so on and so forth. And you're learning the system that Coach Kelly is putting in at Notre Dame."