Notre Dame Gearing Up for Final Recruiting Push

Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly waits with his players to enter on to the field in action during the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Spring Game, at Notre Dame Stadium, in South Bend, IN. (Photo: Robin Alam / IconSMI)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly waits with his players to enter on to the field in action during the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Spring Game, at Notre Dame Stadium, in South Bend, IN. (Photo: Robin Alam / IconSMI)

As college fans eagerly await signing day, with their technological side-kick a mere inches away, college coaching staffs have no such luxury. Most are busy scurrying around the country, making the final rounds for 2015, while also checking out 2016 targets. Brian Kelly and his staff are no different. The last 2 weeks of recruiting are a blur for most coaches, as they pay final visits, burn their phones up, and have an insane amount of correspondence sent out, on the university’s behalf. All in the hopes of securing the commitment of young men that can change the future of their program, hopefully for the better.

Brian Kelly is obviously not in this alone, as he has some very strong assistants under the Notre Dame Umbrella. Tony Alford, Harry Hiestand, and Mike Denbrock are just a few of the staff that are integral pieces to the success of the recruiting process. Currently the Irish staff are busy making strong pushes for a just a few elite athletes that remain interested in Notre Dame, but remain uncommitted. Why still the strong push, even after months of recruiting? Because most of these athletes could be difference makers for the program. Make no mistake about it though, even without any of the remaining targets left on the Irish wish list, the staff at Notre Dame has done a solid job of recruiting for the 2015 class, as they have added some frontline talent, and depth to areas that desperately required it.

As busy as the staff has been slowly checking off the needs and wants list, there is still work to be done though. The Irish will have an in-home visit with four-star wide receiver, Equanimeous St. Brown, and still eagerly await on word from four-star running back, Dexter Williams. The previous Miami commit, has mentioned the Irish in a very favorable light as of late, but said he will not announce his decision until signing day. On top of that they are still trying to figure out how to fit in three-star cornerback, Jalen Julius into the program, and late word is that the Irish have made some major headway with four-star safety Arrington Farrar(previous Stanford commit), but nothing is a lock at this point.

Notre Dame also is still actively and aggressively recruiting safety prospects Justin Reid, Nathan Meadors, and Frank Buncom IV as they attempt to replace the recent loss of 4-star safety Prentice McKinney to North Carolina.  Reid will be on campus this weekend for an official visit but there is ground for the Irish staff to make up there.

Obviously there is still some work to be done before signing day, and from the looks of it, none of it will be easy. Irish fans will have an eager ear come February 4th, as there is a list of talented athletes still sitting out there, uncommitted. Kelly and his staff has put in some solid work thus far, but can ill-afford to take their foot of the pedal during these last few days, if the goal is to finish out 2015 with an elite class.

In many ways being a college coach is tougher than being a pro coach. Not only are you selling yourself and the teams potential, but you are also selling a university, an academic program, a fan-base, and doing so to teenagers who, you guessed it, think like teenagers. The amount of pressure surrounding the whole idea of recruiting is so difficult, not only on the kids and their families, but on the coaching staff also. If Kelly and his staff finish the final few weeks strong, than they will most likely end up with the second best recruiting class under his tenure. The Irish have a solid core returning, and a strong final push in the class of 2015 will only add to that, and hopefully secure a solid future for Irish fans to enjoy.

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  1. Most over rated guy on all of the lists. Big man on a HS field. When he meets people his own size and bigger, we will all fell sorry for him.

  2. Well done post. However, the problem with looking at recruiting rankings like this at least in terms of “expectations” for upcoming seasons—–is that the difference between ND and the top of the recruiting rankings is the same (or more) than the difference between ND and #25 in recruiting, at least considering elite prospects of 4 and 5 stars.

    Unfortunately, that fits with the on-field reality, too.

    In recruiting and (mostly) on the field, we are doing well and looking good, but ultimately we are as close to mediocrity as to consistently competing for a championship.

  3. Dont care much about how many stars a high school player has all i care about are wins-losses-championships for ND.

  4. Brett McMurphy ‏@McMurphyESPN 9 minutes ago
    So recruit rankings not always right? RT @gobigrecruiting:
    Not 1 starter in Super Bowl was 5 Star recruit in high school!

    1. True, but teams that finish in the top 5 of recruiting yearly – e.g. Alabama, FSU – seem to end up in the top 10 quite consistently. So some real correlation exists.

      The point does need to be explored – how ND seems to always be around the top 10 in recruiting but not consistently playing or ending up ranked at that level. Would be a nice study; recruiting rankings to final end-ofyear rankings over a 10 year period.

      1. Elite recruits matter. But a high schooler’s adjustment to college, gone from home, and especially when that school demands classroom performance, along with development of these athletes on and off the field, matters more. My example of the SB teams’ starters was speaking to the point that you can win with three and four star athletes at any level. Talent is essential- but hard work, determination, and development of that talent of RKGs will trump whether some recruiting analyst determines the athlete should have four or three starts after his name coming out of high school. What happens after he arrives on campus, if the talent is evident, leads to top ten teams.

  5. As much as we try and recruit the top names every year, its plain to see that Notre Dame will, at best, mingle in the top 25 every year moving forward. We have no major selling points to bring in the top recruits (who won’t cheat) and bring back National Championship status to Notre Dame. We barely beat LSU and they were lousy this year. I love Notre Dame and bleed Blue and Gold every single day. But its clear that we have lost the path to the elusive National Title.

  6. Archangel, I’m fairly certain that Shaz can define “The Pompatus of Love.”

    I wait with bated breath……

    1. The question to everyone’s answer…
      Is usually asked from within.

      But the patterns of the rain and the truth they contain….
      Are most certainly thicker than skin.

      We live in this world of illusion….
      Where everything is peaches and cream.

      We all face a scarlet conclusion….
      But we spend our time in a dream.

      Jungle love, it’s driving me mad, It’s making me crazy, crazy….

      Jungle love, it’s driving me mad….

      It’s making me CRAAAZZZZZY!


  7. McKinney has good size, athleticism, and hitting ability, and performed well in one of the top conferences in one of the top football states, Texas — all factors which suggest that he had the potential to develop into a very good safety for ND. So I hated to see him de-commit (reportedly due to academic issues), especially since safety is currently such a position of need for ND. And I’m sure ND’s coaches feel that way too. But he is not a 4-star recruit. He was not ranked in ESPN’s top 300, 247Sports’ top 247, the Scout 300, or the Rivals 250. In fact, if you use position rankings of these four recruiting services to project his overall national ranking (e.g., if the #15-ranked safety for ESPN has an ESPN national ranking of 300, then ESPN’s #30-ranked safety would project to be ranked #600 nationally), McKinney’s overall average national ranking for these four services would be about 450:
    ESPN position rank: 27
    ESPN estimated national rank: 332
    247Sports position rank: 32
    247Sports estimated national rank: 695
    Scout position rank: 30
    Scout estimated national rank: 510
    Rivals position rank: 18
    Rivals estimated national rank: 250
    Overall average position rank: 27
    Overall average estimated national rank: 447

  8. FWIW, here’s a SWAG attempt to measure the last four years of recruiting success. It is concededly imprecise and inconsistent with scientific method.

    In Phil Steele’s 2014 book, he added a chart to his recruiting review and presented a chart of most of the top teams in recruiting for the last five years.


    (1) ranked as a golf score, with “1” in his aggregated ranking blending the major recruiting services as the “best” score. Any non-rank in the top 25 was assigned a “26” admittedly nonscientific, but hardly capricious. (Bama’s low “golf score” reflects three “1s” in the period.)

    (2) It treats each of 2011-2014 (the players who COULD be eligible in 2015) equally, unweighted.

    (3) the methodology ignores supervening, intervening events: transfers, injuries, dismissals. Gang of Five events, early departure for NFL and other such events. It is, simply, a blind calculation

    Here are the top ten which result from this methodology
    (1) Bama 5 points
    (2) OSU 15 points
    (3) FSU 18 points
    (4) USC 27 points
    (5) University of Notre Dame du lac 29 points
    (6) Auburn 32 points
    (7) Texas A&M 35 points
    (7t) LSU 35 points
    (9) Georgia 37 points
    (10) Florida 46 points

    Some will note that the top three in this ranking played in the Final Four.

    Some will note that the SEC West has 4 of the top 10.

    Some contend that the MARGIN by which Bama has been #1 understates, in this list, the magnitude of Bama’s “Talent gap.”

    For your reading and analytical pleasure

    1. So, it would appear that if you want to complain, don’t complain about our recruiting (I personally don’t). Save your criticism for the apparent persistent gap between our recruiting ranking and our performance ranking (I don’t call for BK’s head but fall into this camp).

      1. I think it would be easy to point to many game time coaching decisions that have lost won games, or removed all doubt we were going to lose. As a recruiter, BK should get an A when compared to previous ND coaches. As a developer of talent, BK probably deserves a B. As a game coach, I would give him a D- or worse. I would do so when looking at his clock management, play calling, 4th down decisions, player feedback and player interaction, time out calling, speed and efficiency at getting plays into the game, and communication between coachs would all receive failing grades. The only thing saving him from an F would be sticking with a game plan. He might receive a B- or C+ for that. I don’t call for his head either. I just wish he wasn’t trying to teach the players lessons or show the world that “That’s the way we do it here.” and would coach to win the game.

    2. Great points, hopefully this transfers to performance. Irish due for another 2012! They need to weed out the “shake your head game” and start to crush opponents. Tie. Northwestern, Tulsa, S Fla. With this level of recruiting, they should be top 4 or 5!

  9. I had this girlfriend who some argued was a “9”… others were convinced that she was a “10”

    Me… I was just happy to split the difference.

    Signed: The Gangster of Love

    1. Some people call me: Space Cowboy
      or . . .”Maurice”
      or do I have the wrong
      “Gangster of Love”?

  10. In olden days, a recruit coming to Notre Dame would almost magically gain one or two stars. Gerry Foust’s demise was attributed to this phenomenon. Any recruit coming to ND was quickly reassessed and determined to be a blue chipper. I’m a little surprised, but actually relieved to see that it may be working the other way around now. This may mean that the guys we have recruited are being under estimated by recruiting opponents now because they want to use the old “sour grapes” approach. “Don’t go to ND. They haven’t helped themselves at all. You might play, sure, but you’ll lose too.” It’s like the old “Don’t go to my rival’s restaurant. It’s too crowded.”

  11. Due to our ND love/allegiance we always turn to the chicken little, sky is falling route. Many times a commit has left and we rued him leaving (see Vanderdoos, Lynch, Neal)……look getting good players is key but I personally think coaching,development and the “want” of these young athletes outweighs them all. Unfortunaately, the “want” of these young gentlemen is very hard to pinpoint.

  12. I’ve noticed the same thing. He is marked as a 3* by most. I guess it depends on what recruiting site the writer goes by

  13. Grass is always greener, but I thought that his grades weren’t up to snuff with admissions? (Could be wrong)

  14. Why is it that while we (tenuously) had safety Prentice McKinney in the fold, we always referred to him as “3-star” Prentice McKinney? Now that he has moved on to the academically rigorous UNC, we longingly refer to him as “4-star” Prentice McKinney. I believe 3 of 4 recruiting services consistently dub him a 3-star player … so this is kind of funny. The girlfriend that got away is always hotter in hindsight, right?

    1. Spot on post, Barry.
      Keep ’em coming.
      I suspect who ND signs Feb. 4th can all play, and will need coaching-up and development right out of high school like every other recruit. How well that happens will have more to say about how elite this class looks three years from now.
      Off topic . . .but-
      In the meantime, fellow posters, if you enjoy watching offense in college basketball, tune in on ND- they can outshoot and outscore anyone on a given day- with four or five capable of lighting it up in any game. #topptenNDmbb

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