Notre Dame is still trying to wrap up its class of 2022, but while it might be limping to the finish line for 2022, they are off to a roaring start for 2023 after adding another 5-star defender on Wednesday night. Linebacker Drayk Bowen gave the Irish their second five-star commit for 2023 when he selected Notre Dame over Auburn and Clemson.
With the addition of Bowen, Notre Dame has six commitments for 2023, the lowest of them (safety Adon Shuler) is still rated #243 overall in the country in the 247 composite rankings. Bowen is the second-highest-rated among them at #28 overall – one spot lower than fellow 5-star defensive lineman Brenan Vernon. Three others are in the top 200 – TE Cooper Flanagan, DE Keon Keely, and RB Sedrick Irvin Jr.
Of that group, Keeley looks like he has the most potential to shoot up in the rankings even more based on his play during his junior season. Keeley currently ranks #107 in the country, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone if he’s firmly in the top 100 before too long. This year, Shuler already jumped in the rankings after having a 3-star designation when first offered by the Irish.
In the very early team rankings for 2023, the Irish sit 3rd currently, just like they do for the class of 2022. However, the difference is that for 2023 Notre Dame already has two 5-star commits with Bowen and Vernon. For 2022, the Irish have just one – Jaylen Sneed – and are likely to drop a few spots unless they pull some upsets on the recruiting trail over the next two months.
In recent years, Notre Dame has struggled to land 5-star recruits, so having two already for 2023 is significant. Some are trying to nit-pick that Bowen isn’t a 5-star recruit because each service has him as a 4-star, but his composite ranking on 247 at the moment is a 5-star. Also, Rivals has only handed out seven 5-star designations at this point but ranks Bowen 22nd overall, which is 5-star territory. So, if you want to argue that Bowen isn’t currently a 5-star, I suppose you can, but why would you?
In addition to Bowen and Vernon, the Irish are currently have other 5-star recruits they have a great chance to land, such as Alex “Sonny” Styles, brother of current star freshman receiver Lorenzo Styles. Additionally, OL Kaydn Proctor, ATH Samual M’Pemba, QB Dante Moore, and WR Jalen Brown are all composite 5-star players with whom Notre Dame is heavily involved.
Brian Kelly’s stated goal of becoming a program that recruits top-5 classes might fall short this year – again, unless something changes with some of the top of the board recruits left the Irish are pursuing. Still, for 2023, Notre Dame is further along at this point than they were a year ago and already has more 5-star players committed. That is progress. It might be slower progress than some Notre Dame fans want on the recruiting front, but it is progress nonetheless.
With the back-to-back monster recruiting weekends, including the largest ever in Notre Dame history two weeks ago, Notre Dame is building toward a potential monster haul for 2023. Some hoped that haul would happen in 2022 after a hot-start to that class. But, unfortunately, that didn’t quite happen for Notre Dame after a few critical misses. As of today, however, Notre Dame can actually have more misses than they did in 2022 and still have a better class from top to bottom.
Time will tell if the class of 2023 is finally the one to push Notre Dame over the top, but the early signs are there that it could be the one to at least finally get the Irish past the top-5 barrier that has been eluding the program.