Recruiting classes are very often analyzed and gauged in two year increments. No class is targeted in a vacuum; the current seasons recruiting class is often influenced by the season before it. For example, in 2017 Notre Dame signed zero corners. The year after, they signed five.
Breaking down the last two classes will show where Notre Dame is talent wise at each position group, how the numbers look, and where the Irish are likely to go heavy in 2020.
- 2018 Signed: Phil Jurkovec
- 2019 Signed: Brendon Clark
- Average composite rating: .9195
- Top 200: 1 (Jurkovec)
Notre Dame always wants to take one per season, and they usually stagger them with a highly rated quarterback and something of a bridge or program quarterback. Jurkovec is a top 100 player, Clark is a three star prospect. Obviously, Clark is not to be taken lightly, as the 2018 season showed when three star player Ian Book took over for top 50 recruit Brandon Wimbush.
Notre Dame has a top 150 quarterback already committed in the 2020 class, Drew Pyne. This position is right where the coaching staff wants it.
- 2018 Signed: Jahmir Smith, C’Bo Flemister
- 2019 Signed: Kyren Williams
- Average Composite Rating: .8698
- Top 200: 0
The number of backs isn’t a huge problem, but the quality is what is lacking. Williams is already on campus and recently achieved four star status. He possesses a very diverse skill set out of the back field and is extremely elusive in the open field. Smith and Flemister saw light work in 2018 and will have the chance in the spring to prove themselves and earn their way into the rotation.
This position is in serious need of a talent upgrade and is a major priority for the staff. They are in on some very highly rated 2020 players and new running backs coach Lance Taylor couldn’t be coming at a better time.
- 2018 Signed: Kevin Austin, Braden Lenzy, Lawrence Keys, Micah Jones, Joe Wilkins
- 2019 Signed: Kendall Abdur-Rahman, Cam Hart
- Average Composite Rating: .8972
- Top 200: 1 (Austin)
This is a good indication of the previous years class affecting the other. Notre Dame went heavy in 2018, light in 2019.
Long on numbers with seven players signed in the last two classes, short on star power. This group does have a lot of potential, however. Austin is the headliner, Lenzy, Keys, and Wilkins are the speed players, Jones and Hart the possession guys, and Abdur-Rahman the wild card. He was a quarterback in high school and was very elusive in the open field as a runner and showed really good burst. Not a lot to evaluate as a receiver, but he was a handful with the ball in his hands.
The group is still hovering around four star status when put together, not terrible, but an upgrade can be had here. With seven guys signed, they really should have more than one composite top 200 player. Like running back, Notre Dame has some very good options in 2020 and will be a priority for them.
- 2018 Signed: George Takacs, Tommy Tremble
- 2019 Signed: None
- Average Composite Rating: .8914
- Top 200: 0
Kind of a unique situation here. In 2017 Notre Dame signed two of the top tight ends in the nation in Brock Wright and Cole Kmet, then followed that up with Takacs and Tremble. They decided to punt on the position in 2019 with two of the top tight ends already committed in 2020, Michael Mayer and Kevin Bauman.
Tremble and Takacs both redshirted last season, Tremble was coming off of a knee injury, and Kmet and Wright will be featured prominently on the 2019 team. They’ll enter the season with four and it’ll be six in 2020 should everyone be around. They are taking a risk counting on the 2020 guys so early. Should one of them change their mind, they’d be a little bit exposed numbers wise. Should make clear there is no indication either committed player isn’t solid, and committing early generally indicates a solid pledge, especially when they are already high profile.
- 2018 Signed: Jarrett Patterson, John Dirksen, Cole Mabry, Luke Jones
- 2019 Signed: Zeke Correll, Quinn Carroll, Andrew Kristofic, John Olmstead
- Average Composite Rating: .9084
- Top 200: 4 (Correll, Carroll, Kristofic, Olmstead)
Notre Dame made up for an unfavorable board in 2018 with a home run in 2019. I guess Jeff Quinn can recruit. They brought in four top 200 players, two in the top 150, and one of those in the top 100. All are on campus as early enrollees. As you may have noticed, this is the most talent rich position on the offense, both in terms of average rating and top ranked players, which is exactly what Notre Dame needs to win. They will likely never match the top teams in terms of skill players, so they need to be better up front. It’s been the formula since the beginning of time.
Notre Dame is in hot pursuit of top targets in 2020, but with eight signed in the last two cycles, and a slew of upperclassmen with multiple years of eligibility remaining, this position unit is in very good shape.