I'm not arguing that outliers don't exist. They do. Tremendous student athletes exist who are looking for a great education as well as a great opportunity to play football. Their talents on and off the field will lead them to great things in one arena or another.
Jaylon Smith appears to be a shining example of this, and is someone we should all herald for both his achievements and his potential. I couldn't be more excited about him committing to the Irish. Clearly the pitch had a direct and measurable impact on Jaylon, as he is out there quoting statistics that he likely got from ND coaches. So, kudos, +1 for the academics pitch.
Now I'll try to type slowly, so you can hear me clearly.
My assertion is that based on our highly ranked recruiting classes, the recent relative failures of ND both on the field and on draft day must be attributed to something.
We've tried changing coaches (several times), added training tables, allowed EEs and more transfers, etc... etc...
I see two distinct possibilities:
1. Everything is just about to turn the corner now that Brian Kelly has his players and the changes have just taken time to take effect.
2. There is something else cultural and systemic that is causing the problem that keeps us at the very LEAST from being a Top 20 team.
I see no evidence of 1. (Although guys like Jaylon gets me excited)
I'm suggesting, as a hypothesis, and I think Uncle J is echoing this, is two fold.
1. The equally ranked recruit who is academics focused, is not as driven to succeed on the football field because he has options. This is just human nature.
2. Establishing a culture of 99% graduation means that you don't need to fight to stay here. Again, I'm just talking about human nature here. People don't work as hard when they can't get fired.
Can we agree on this much?
Or is it the lack of the jumbotron and field turf?