There are no recruiting limitation excuses coming from this coaching staff. It is not a matter of if but when Notre Dame will be back in the College Football Playoffs. Marcus Freeman knows that the next time the Irish are in the playoffs, they will need elite talent to win the national title. Now, the Fighting Irish are witnessing recruiting successes they have not seen since the days of Lou Holtz while shattering the mythical recruiting ceiling that Brian Kelly proclaimed.
Recent Notre Dame Recruiting Classes (per 247 Sports)
|2019||22 Commits||0||16||6||#15 overall|
|2020||17 commits||1||8||8||#18 overall|
|2021||27 Commits||0||12||15||#9 Overall|
|2022||22 Commits||1||17||4||#7 Overall|
|2023||20 Commits||1||17||2||#2 Overall|
|2024||5 Commits||1||4||0||#1 Overall|
Brian Kelly is responsible for the 2019, 2020, and 2021 recruiting classes. Then Marcus Freeman joins as the defensive coordinator for the 2022 class, and Brian Kelly has one of his best classes while in South Bend due to the recruiting success Freeman brought with a heavy group of star defensive players. The 2023 and 2024 classes are all under Head Coach Freeman.
Marcus Freeman’s Recruiting Success
Notre Dame Football has been back and forth with Ohio State this Summer for the #1 recruiting class in the country. As a result, the program is no longer battling teams like Michigan for the #10 ranking in the country. The Irish currently hold the #2 spot on 247 Sports but should jump the Buckeyes if they can land 4-Star LB Jaiden Ausberry in a few weeks.
While looking ahead to the 2024 class, it is awfully early, but Freeman already has his quarterback via 5-Star CJ Carr. The Irish have the #1 recruiting class for 2024 and are looking to build. Marcus Freeman is winning over recruits with a genuine personality, hard work, and relationships. Notre Dame fans on social media fought hard for Freeman to become head coach, and it is apparent why.
The Notre Dame Recruiting Myth
There has always been a myth that Notre Dame Football was limited in recruiting the top 300 players in the country because of academic regulation, being a Midwest program, and other justifications. Therefore, many people believed the Fighting Irish were limited to Top-10 recruiting classes, and a potential top-5 class was their peak.
However, those explanations have been thrown out the window as Marcus Freeman has been able to catapult the program to the top of the rankings most of the Summer. Once he has established himself in South Bend, the future can be even brighter. In other words, the recruiting ceiling did not exist. It was more of an excuse for lack of recruiting execution.
I am not writing this article to bash Brian Kelly because I have moved on with Marcus Freeman and do not want to live in the past. Coach Kelly took Notre Dame to a national championship and two playoff appearances, and the Irish were one spot away from the playoffs last season. I am grateful for the success and all the memories he brought to me, watching the Fighting Irish over the past decade.
However, it is really upsetting when an entire fanbase is told there is a Notre Dame Recruiting ceiling, and fans would not have known otherwise without the emergence of Freeman. Marcus Freeman does not make any excuses regarding recruiting in South Bend. He seems to be everywhere at once and always puts in the hours on the recruiting trail.
I understand that Marcus Freeman has only been the head coach since December, but I believe this recruiting success is here to stay. It is not the University of Notre Dame that was the issue with recruiting but the man at the top. All the factors are the same, Marcus Freeman has surpassed Brian Kelly’s recruiting efforts.
Coach Freeman can undoubtedly recruit, but he will have to blend his recruiting efforts with on the field coaching to bring Notre Dame Football a 12th national championship.