We all know that Notre Dame recruiting has reached a new level already under Marcus Freeman. Gone is the “shopping down a different aisle” mantra, in is the “lets go after the best.” The proof is in the recruiting rankings. It’s also in the quotes from recruit after recruit singing the praises of Marcus Freeman and the staff he assembled. The latest is current commitment Rico Flores who told the Irish Players Club that Notre Dame wouldn’t even have been in his top 10 under the old staff.
Freeman elevated Notre Dame’s defensive recruiting from the day he stepped foot on campus as defensive coordinator under Brian Kelly. When he was introduced as the head coach to replace Bayou Brian, Freeman stressed recruiting over and over in his introductory presser. He wasn’t just talking either. Freeman left the presser and hopped on a plane with a mission to save Notre Dame’s 2022 class after Kelly left in the middle of the night.
The recruiting failures of former Notre Dame wide receiver coach Del Alexander have been well documented at this point. Notre Dame losing CJ Williams and Amorion Walker with no backup plan at the 11th hour last cycle is a large reason Alexander was one of the few coaches to neither be offered a job to stay at Notre Dame or follow Kelly to LSU. What wasn’t known to most Notre Dame fans, were the recruiting chops of new wide receivers coach Chansi Stuckey.
Stuckey made an immediate difference with Flores, along with Freeman. Without the two of them, Notre Dame doesn’t have a commitment from Rico Flores right now. He said it himself. Notre Dame wouldn’t have even been in the race.
Braylon James is another receiver commitment for the Irish who has stated that Stuckey made an immediate impact with his recruitment for Notre Dame.
When Notre Dame hired Stuckey, he was considered an unknown relative to other candidates linked to the job, but he knocked his interview out of the park. Most thought former Purdue WR coach Jeff Shepard would be Notre Dame’s next WR coach until Stuckey interviewed and became the favorite. The very early returns on Stuckey, on the recruiting trail at least, point to Notre Dame making a heck of a hire.
A year after signing just a single receiver, Notre Dame has two receivers committed (James and Flores) and should be adding a third on Friday when Jaden Greathouse announces his commitment. Most expect Notre Dame to add a fourth, Ronan Hanafin, at some point this summer.
Again, every Notre Dame fan who follows recruiting has seen the impact Freeman and the new staff have had already with the class of 2023. It’s another thing entirely to hear recruits talk about how Notre Dame wouldn’t have even been in the race with the old staff.
Notre Dame currently has the 2nd rated recruiting class on both On3 and 247.