The Irish will welcome the USC Trojans to South Bend on Saturday in what should be another fun battle in one of the most storied rivalries in American sports. The Trojans won’t be the only people the Irish are hosting as elite high school talent from across the country will be in attendance as well.
Notre Dame and USC have had some fun battles on the field over the years, but overlooked is the battle these two teams have on the recruiting trail. These two storied programs seem to battle over talent more often than one would think a Catholic school in rural Indiana and a glamorous California school should.
Just look at some of the few that have taken place recently….
Many Irish fans thought that Amon-Ra St. Brown was a lock to follow his brother Equanimeous to South Bend, but the Trojans were able to keep him at home with his Highschool quarterback JT Daniels.
Trojan running back Markese Stepp, a Four-star out of NDs back yard out of Indianapolis Cathedral was once verbally committed to the Irish, but later switched to USC.
The Irish have struck back a few times by going to California for talent. Most recently landing Tyler Buchner out of San Diego, who was also being pursued by USC.
Saturday’s matchup matters for bragging rights, but matters just as much in the recruiting battles with USC. Kids want to play for the team they think wins, and ND has to capitalize while the Southern Cal program is weak.
Clay Helton is as good as gone, and we know a fairly prominent Coach is currently unemployed and hanging out in Los Angeles. A team with the advantages USC has won’t stay down long.
With that being said, let’s look at what recruits will be in South Bend this weekend
Pryor is perhaps the most unique visitor this weekend because he’s not a high school recruit, but an Ohio State Buckeye looking for greener pastures. Pryor was highly considering Notre Dame during his highschool recruitment due to a strong connection with Todd Lyght.
It’s been rather fun having good defensive backs the last few seasons in particular at safety. The Irish certainly have depth at the position, but if a former four-star wants to hop in the mix the Irish would have no problem
Four-star Wide Receiver will be making his fourth trip to South Bend this weekend, and the Irish coaching staff is hoping it won’t be the last. The 6’4 receiver out of Athens, GA is the 95th ranked prospect on Rivals for the 2021 class and has offers to Alabama, Florida, and his hometown Georgia Bulldogs. Colzie was in attendance when the Irish visited Athens earlier this year.
The Irish are said to be strong contenders for the highly touted wideout, and that would undoubtedly be a big add. It’s been noted time and time again that the Irish need to land more elite offensive athletes. Brian Kelly and his staff are on their way with the commitments of Chris Tyree and Jordan Johnson. Colson would continue the positive trend of the Irish competing with top programs for elite athletes.
Arlen Harris Jr.
RB Arlen Harris Jr. will be at the game this week as the Irish begin to put together their 2022 class. Harris hails from Lutheran St.Charles in St. Peters, Mo, and has offers from most of the Big 10 schools, and is believed to have more coming.
Current Irish commit Gabriel Rubio also plays for Lutheran St. Charles, so it’s interesting to see the Irish trying to build a pipeline from a powerful program. I once wrote the importance of building relationships at big programs that pump out big recruits. These kids coaches have a lot of say, and so the fact that ND is now recruiting multiple kids from a big program shows me they are doing just that.
Andrel Anthony Jr.
Out of East Lansing, Michigan, Andrel Anthony Jr. is a 6’2 wideout with an abundance offers. Anthony has had the attention of a lot of Big 10 schools and is starting to get it from the more prominent names in the Midwest. Both Notre Dame and Michigan have recently offered Anthony, and the ND offer, in particular, was one he was hoping for. It’s believed that the Irish are the favorite for Anthony as Anthony was also at the New Mexico game earlier this year.
The Irish tend to do well with receivers, especially ones who aren’t necessarily big recruits. Will Fuller comes to mind every time I see a recruit like Andrel and current Irish receiver Braden Lenzy. Guys who have a very high ceiling just not as developed yet.
It’s great that the Irish have these crucial visitors, but now more important that they win the game. Kids want to play in big games, but they also want to win them. If you don’t believe me ask Michigan how hard it is to recruit against Ohio State when they get their doors blown off every year.