If Notre Dame’s 2018 National Championship campaign ended on a sour note, then the Irish’s recruiting since then has inspired fans with hope that this team can continue to compete for a national championship year in and year out.
In what has already started as an exciting 2020 recruiting class just became electrifying as the Irish locked down yet another 4-star Defensive end prospect earlier this week when Rylie Mills of Lake Forest, IL confirmed what many thought was coming.
— Rylie Mills #99 DE LFHS (@ryliemillss) May 6, 2019
The Irish are now officially getting a 6’5 270 man with the versatility to rush on the end or to be a disrupter from the interior defensive line. Despite that massive size, Mills is also said to be quite athletic in terms of speed off the line, and has real potential to be a pass rushing threat for the Irish defense.
Mills was long considered to be leaning heavily towards committing to the Irish, but he did take official visits to Ohio State and Wisconsin. And anyone who knows a thing about recruiting knows how quickly these things can change.
It seems like two coaches in particular get the credit on this one, and its two coaches we’ve heard a lot about in ND’s recent recruiting success – Mike Elston and Tommy “Don’t Call me Tom” Rees.
Mike Elston once again formed a solid relationship with an elite defensive lineman. Mills was cited as believing Elston is a very respectable coach, and loves the way he interacts with his players.
It seems that many recruits would agree because this is now back-to-back recruiting classes where Elston has brought in multiple 4-star Dline recruits. Retaining Mike Elston after the 2016 program overhaul continues to be one of the smartest decisions Brian Kelly has made in South Bend.
Rylie Mills becomes the 8th four-star D-lineman to sign with/commit to #NotreDame in the last two years and ND isn't done yet in the 2020 class
The previous two-year high in the last decade was 5
Mike Elston was named a Top 25 recruiter last year and he remains on fire in 2020
— Bryan Driskell (@BGI_CoachD) May 6, 2019
Tommy Rees should also get some credit here for bringing Mills home. Rees, a graduate of Lake Forest High school himself, made many visits to the school to build a relationship with Mills.
I’ll be the first to say I didn’t particularly enjoy watching Rees behind center, but his importance in recruiting lately can not be over valued as he has been cited as a main recruiter in some of ND’s biggest commitments in the 2020 class.
ND’s 2020 class is really starting to look like it could be Brian Kelly’s best at Notre Dame depending on the staff’s ability to land a few more big names on their board.
The next name to watch fall for ND is Braiden Mcgregor, a 6’6 DE prospect out of Michigan who most believe will end up with the Wolverines or the Irish.
In April, the Irish staff had 3 DL prospects it wanted to add to the 2020 class. They’ve already landed the first 2 in Jordan Bothelo and now Rylie Mills. Mcgregor was the third name, and I believe Mike Elston wants this one bad…
More: Irish DL coach Mike Elston plans to attend top DE target @BraidenMcgregor's lacrosse game on Thursday. #NotreDame's 2020 class of 9 commits now ranks No. 8 and No. 11 nationally on Rivals and 247Sports, respectively. https://t.co/A8dUQqAvxu
— Carter Karels (@CarterKarels) May 6, 2019
The biggest recruit Irish fans need to keep their eyes on is RB Chris Tyree out of Virginia. Tyree is one of highest rated RBs in the country according to both Rivals and 247.
Tyree has long been connected to Notre Dame, but it has recently been discussed that Oklahoma has made quite an impression on the prospect, but the tide may have started to turn back in Notre Dame’s favor. A decision from Tyree should be coming sooner rather than later.
Lance Taylor being able to secure an elite RB for the 2020 class would be an exclamation on what has been a very exciting recruiting period for the Irish as well prove that he was the right guy to bring in to solve ND’s RB woes.
No matter what happens with the remaining targets on ND’s 2020 board, this is as exciting as a class as I can remember since the 2013 class that featured Jaylon Smith.
It’s no secret that elite recruiting is how teams like Alabama, Ohio State, and Clemson are relevant year in and year out, and it’s inspiring to see that ND is not only landing elite talent, but talent that the above mentioned teams also want.
Let’s see if some of the other coaches on the ND staff besides Elston want to get involved in the fun going forward.