Notre Dame received a little bit of more good recruiting news on Monday when running back Keivarae Russell whittled his list of schools down to two with the Irish being one of his finalists along with his home state Washington according to ESPN’s Greg Biggins.
Here’s an excerpt from the free portion of Biggins’ report on Russell’s decision to eliminate Cal and select between the Irish and Huggies.
““I’m down to Washington and Notre Dame,” Russell said. “Cal was cool too, and I had a good visit, but I like my opportunity to play early better at these two schools, and I have a better relationship with the coaching staffs at those two schools, as well.”
This looks like a classic “State U” battle for Notre Dame. Because of the uniqueness of Notre Dame, it’s common for the Irish to find themselves in recruiting battles with a recruit’s home school. Unfortunately we’ve also seen over the years that these recruiting battles are very tough for Notre Dame to win. This isn’t to say that Notre Dame doesn’t have a chance here. Quite the contrary actually, the Irish are sitting in pretty good position here. Historically though, being a finalist against a home state school hasn’t always bode well for Notre Dame.
Adding Russell to this class would be a great pickup for the Irish. Notre Dame could really use another running back in this class in addition to Will Mahone with limited depth at the position in 2012. Notre Dame will have Cierre Wood, Cam McDaniel, and George Atkinson back, but will lose Jonas Gray and the return of Cameron Roberson is still uncertain after his injury suffered last spring.
Bringing in two running backs in this year’s class could also allow the staff to move George Atkinson back to wide receiver, the position he was originally recruited for should they decide he can have a bigger impact at receiver.