Will Notre Dame’s Pursuit of Top-50 OL Rocco Spindler Pay Off?

During these unprecedented times for college football, recruiting efforts have continued to press forward. Virtual campus tours and calls have headlined recruiting during COVID-19. While the safety of summer practices and hopes of a college football season are the top priorities for coaches now, recruiting efforts must continue. The coaches who can adapt to the new recruiting environment the quickest, will see their efforts on the field in the upcoming seasons.

Rocco Spindler Profile

  • Position: Offensive Guard
  • Class: 2021
  • Ranking: #50 Player Nationally, #3 Guard According to 247 Sports
  • Hometown: Clarkston, Michigan
  • High School: Clarkston

Top Five Schools

Spindler announces his top five. On May 22nd, the offensive guard announced his top 5 programs, which included LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Penn State. Rocco Spindler is one of the best players in the country and perhaps the top remaining prospect for the Coach Kelly and the Irish, his commitment would be crucial for the program.

Two-Horse Race. Although Spindler’s list included five schools, Notre Dame and Michigan appear to be at the top of the list for the Clarkston Offensive Guard. Ann Arbor is closer to Spindler, but geographically Notre Dame is not too far away. While the Irish and Wolverines will not clash on the gridiron for over a decade, recruiting battles will continue to flourish between these longtime rivals.

Commitment Date of August 8th

No Official Visit in 2020. Unfortunately, the Irish will not be able to get Spindler on campus for an official visit this fall before his commitment date. For Notre Dame, the University and historic campus are a main recruiting point for prospects. COVID-19 has certainly hindered programs throughout the country and Notre Dame has been no exception.

Clock is ticking on commitment. The Notre Dame coaching staff will have to finish strong with their recruitment of Rocco Spindler. While the staff is adapting to practice changes in hopes of a college football season, it will be up to Coach Jeff Quin and Brian Kelly to finish strong with their recruiting efforts of Spindler.

Notre Dame’s Recruiting Advantage

Strong Academics in South Bend. It goes without saying, but a Notre Dame Degree is extremely valuable. The main recruiting pitch for prospects is the education that the University can provide, whether athletes pursue NFL careers or not. Many players, such as Jaylon Smith, even return to Notre Dame to finish their degrees after pursuing an early NFL career.

Notre Dame has become O-Line U. Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish have a recruiting advantage over every program in the country when it comes to the offensive line. Last season, three former Irish offensive linemen accounted for five of the NFL’s 1st Team All-Pros in 2019. The list included Zack Martin, Ronnie Stanley, and Quenton Nelson.

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The first team all-center was Jason Kelce, who went to Cincinnati, and was also coached by Brian Kelly.

Sustained Success. A lot of programs across the country promise winning in the future, but Brian Kelly has the results. During the past five years, the Irish have tallied four, 10+ win seasons in South Bend. More recently Notre Dame has gone 23-3 in the last two years with a college football playoff appearance and dominating win over Matt Campbell’s Iowa State team in the Camping World Bowl.

Recruiting Efforts

Offensive Line Coach Jeff Quinn. With the departure of Harry Heistand, Jeff Quinn has continued to pick up the recruiting effort along the offensive line. On the field production and false starts are a topic for another day, but Coach Quinn has continued the recruiting dominance off the field. The Irish Offensive Line Coach will be put to the test this next month in hopes of landing another talented recruit.

Offensive Coordinator Tommy Rees. Building bonds with recruits is the most important aspect during quarantine. Virtual campus visits help, but the relationship between the coaches and athletes must be solid. In his first season as offensive coordinator, Tommy Rees will have a lot to prove on and off the field.

Can he bring in elite level talent to bolster this offense, or call the right play at the end of the game? Fans will hopefully find out this Fall.

2021 Recruiting Class

Spindler to join OL Commit Fisher? The Irish received a commitment from fellow offensive lineman Blake Fisher over a year ago. Fisher, the Indiana Native, is currently the #51 overall and #8 Offensive Tackle in the country according to 247 sports. As mentioned in a previous article, Fisher is Notre Dame’s leading recruiter and is undoubtedly pushing hard to be accompanied by Rocco Spindler in South Bend.

The 2021 Offensive Line Class currently includes Blake Fisher, Pat Coogan, and Joe Alt. If the Irish can land Spindler, that would unequivocally solidify the offensive line.

Recruiting during the quarantine. Notre Dame has picked up several commitments throughout the pandemic via high school stars and transfers, but there are still more spots to fill. The Irish are currently sitting at the #14 class in the country according to 247 Sports. Without a commitment from Spindler, it is unlikely the program would crack the top ten this year.

Final Thoughts

Can the Irish land Rocco Spindler? Absolutely, the Irish and Wolverines are locked in this recruiting battle. Notre Dame has an unrivaled history at this position but will need to make a final push this month to secure their future along the offensive line for years to come.

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Irish eyeing top 10 recruiting class. If Brian Kelly and Notre Dame want to finish with a strong 2021 class, it all starts with Rocco Spindler. Although the pandemic has caused chaos for the schedule off the field, landing Spindler would create much-needed momentum heading into the fall season. Consistency has finally defined the program the past several years and has provided a foundation.

Notre Dame has the talent to make the College Football Playoffs but winning these vital recruiting battles can be the difference between a playoff appearance and a national championship trophy.

 

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