On Thursday night, Notre Dame picked up its biggest commitment in a long time when 5-star quarterback CJ Carr, legendary Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr’s grandson, selected Notre Dame over Michigan, Wisconsin, LSU, Georgia, and Michigan State.
The last time Notre Dame signed a 5-star quarterback was almost a decade ago when Notre Dame legacy Gunner Kiel flipped from LSU to Notre Dame at the last minute. The last time Notre Dame signed a quarterback as highly rated as Carr is at the moment was the class of 2007 with none other than Jimmy Clausen.
Michigan was long considered the favorite for Carr, given the deep family ties to the Wolverines. Still, Notre Dame made its move over the last few months culminating with Carr’s visit this past weekend for the Irish Invasion. Ever since Carr was on campus over the weekend, the buzz was all about him landing at Notre Dame.
Notre Dame went all in for 5-star QB Dante Moore in the class of 2023, and to date, it has not paid off for the Irish. However, getting Carr, a 5-star for 2024, committed so early does so much for the momentum of the class as a whole that it’s fun for Notre Dame fans to wonder just how good the class of 2024 can be given the results from the class of 2023 from the new Notre Dame coaching staff under Marcus Freeman who, unlike his predecessor, has mandated recruiting be the primary focus of every assistant.
What Carr’s commitment means for Notre Dame’s class of 2023 and Dante Moore specifically remains to be seen. Notre Dame very publicly went all-in on Moore and stopped recruiting all other quarterbacks. There’s been some speculation that Carr’s commitment means the Irish are out of the Moore sweepstakes, but that is still speculation at this point.
If they are, however, out on Moore, does that mean the Irish turn their attention to Avery Johnson or other class of 2023 signal callers? We don’t know at this point. We know that Notre Dame just got one of the elite quarterbacks for 2024 committed early. The benefit of this is having an elite quarterback who reportedly wants to be a “lead recruiter” for his class committed more than 18 months before Signing Day. In theory, that should help the Irish recruit skill position players to join Carr in the class.
In terms of comparing Moore and Carr, it’s almost splitting hairs right now. Both are elite prospects, and if you compare sophomore to sophomore films, the two are very, very close. Carr has excellent accuracy and incredible footwork for someone his age. He makes some throws that sophomores in high school simply don’t usually make. He’s dropping dimes 45-50 yards downfield as a sophomore in high school.
From an optics perspective, it’s hard to imagine a more significant win for Marcus Freeman and Tommy Rees. They just got Lloyd Carr’s grandson to commit to Notre Dame. Lloyd Carr led the Wolverines to their only ½ national championship since 1948. Imagine Lou Holtz having a 5-star quarterback grandson commit to Michigan. That’s the equivalent of what Freeman and Rees just pulled off.
Over on the Michigan side, the momentum of Carr to Notre Dame that has been building all week long has brought out the worst of the recruiting world. Michigan sites have published articles that I won’t link to that said Carr is overrated and that Michigan didn’t recruit him that hard. Spoiler: Michigan started recruiting Carr when he was in eighth grade. There have been video podcasts of grown adults disparaging a high school junior—very classy things from the Michigan side of things in this one.
We’ll find out what this all means for Notre Dame’s 2023 recruiting class soon enough. For today though, Notre Dame just landed one of its biggest commitments in years and did so at the expense of a long-time, hated rival, even if the Wolverines are trying to talk themselves into believing that they didn’t really want a 5-star, legacy quarterback when their program’s single-season record for touchdown passes in a season is 25. That’s two less than current Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees tossed in 2013.