All had been a little quiet on the Notre Dame recruiting front lately in terms of a commitment standpoint. The Irish have had no shortage of highly ranked players in talks with the Fighting Irish coaching staff, but the wave of expected commitments hadn’t happened just yet.
That changed today when 2023 Defensive end prospect Keon Keeley announced on Twitter his intention to attend Notre Dame.
Keeley’s commitment comes just a few weeks after a visit to South Bend, where he was highly impressed with the campus and the coaching staff, particularly Mike Elston.
A unanimous 4-star prospect from Berkeley Prep in Tampa, Keeley stands about 6’6 and looks the part of someone who could be the next great D-end at Notre Dame.
He is also the first member of ND’s 2023 recruiting class.
Mike Elston Consistency
It’s undeniable that Marcus Freeman has had an enormous impact on recruiting he came aboard, and there’s little doubt that the only reason NDs getting in the room with some of these prospects is his presence.
As unbelievable as Freeman has been already, it should not go overlooked that Notre Dame has had and still does have one of the best recruiters in the country on the defensive side of the ball in Mike Elston.
Do people think it’s a coincidence that the Defensive Line has consistently been one of, if not the best position group on the roster?
Elston consistently brings in high-end guys and very clearly brings in talented guys. Just say this blogger, in particular, is pleased he’s still the Defensive Line Coach at Notre Dame versus the Defensive Coordinator in West Lafayette.
Impact on recruiting
Due to the program’s success in recent years, One could’ve been nervous when it was announced that Brian Polian and Mike Elston were swapping positions making Elston the director recruiting. Still, the results thus far speak for themselves.
The Irish currently sit with the 2nd ranked 2022 class and off to a bang in 2023 with the commitment of Keeley.
A few factors are trending in Notre Dame’s favor that should continue to give fans optimism regarding recruiting.
The biggest being having the campus back as an asset. Notre Dame has long used the personal experience of setting foot on campus as one of its value props, and to some degree, relied on this too much at times.
Brian Kelly’s staff was able to get creative during Covid, but now that COVID-19 seems to be mostly behind us, The Irish have been hosting a ton of high-end recruits who have no shortage of good things to say about that beautiful campus.
Another reason for optimism is the belief that Notre Dame is in a good spot with prospects at positions that are currently weak in the 2022 class.
Wide Receiver has been a discussion point this offseason, and it should be for the 2021 season considering the Irish’s lack of depth at the position. Still, the Irish 2nd rated 2022 class only has one receiver committed at this point.
Amorion Walker, a 3-star but one Nick Saban has some interest in, seems like he will keep his pledge with the Irish, but Notre Dame has to add a couple of high-end guys at the position.
Luckily, they look like they are in a position to do so. Tobias Merriweather is a 4-star out of Washington that Notre Dame has a good relationship with, as well as a few others like 4-star CJ Williams and 4-star Nicholas Anderson.
Notre Dame is in a good spot with the 2022 class, especially along the front seven ball and along the O-line. If they can add a few more skill guys,, it can be one of Kelly’s best classes at Notre Dame.