Here we are again. Huge, prime time match for Notre Dame against a marquee opponent and Notre Dame has a group of elite recruits lined up for official and unofficial visits including a few that could propel this class into legit elite status. Notre Dame does this almost every year and when they win, the results are generally very good. When they lose? Not so much.
This is nothing new for Notre Dame. They do this every year and some years it’s worked and in others it hasn’t. If Notre Dame can knock off Georgia this weekend the Irish should be in pretty good shape here. With the expected invasion of Georgia fans this weekend though, if Notre Dame comes out and lays an egg in front of say 25,000 or more opposing fans, how many of these uncommitted kids do you think will ultimately end up at Notre Dame?
Recent history tells us not to expect many and if any and to be scared about losing commitments from those already in the fold who are also visiting.
Notre Dame loaded up on elite recruits last year for the Michigan State game and not only did they only land one recruit – Aaron Brooks – they ended up losing one of their best defensive recruits – Donovan Jeter – to Michigan. Jaiden Cole, Salvon Ahmed, Jacob Phillips, Hezekiah Jones, Thomas Graham (who Notre Dame was leading for), and Shaun Wade all went elsewhere.
For Stanford, Notre Dame had another set of big time visitors and after losing to the Cardinal on the field they lost commit Paulson Adebo to them on the recruiting trail a couple months later. Notre Dame didn’t land a single recruit from that weekend who wasn’t previously committed but did lose three – Adebo, Elijah Hicks, and Jordan Pouncey. Foster Sarell visited that weekend too and the 5-star offensive lineman ended up at… Stanford. So not only did the Irish fail to land any recruits that weekend, but they lost two to the team they were playing.
With Georgia native Jamaree Salyer (uncommitted) and Derrik Allen (committed to Notre Dame) lined up this weekend that should be a cautionary tale.
Now this can work out in Notre Dame’s favor as well. Two years ago Notre Dame loaded up for the USC weekend and after an impressive win over the Trojans, the Irish cleaned house that weekend. They ended up with Daelin Hayes, Devin Studstill, Javon McKinley, Khalid Kareem, Troy Pride Jr, AND Deon McIntosh all from that weekend. Ian Book, Kevin Stepherson, and Jalen Elliott were also in attendance, but they had all committed already. That is a ridiculous haul from a single weekend. Hayes and Kareem were both 4-star DEs. Studstill a 4-star safety. McKinley a 4-star wide receiver. Pride a 4-star cornerback.
In 2014, Notre Dame’s two big recruiting weekends were Michigan and Stanford. When the Irish blanked the Wolverines they ended up with Tevon Coney and when they knocked off the Cardinal in thrilling fashion, they did it in front of Equanimeous St. Brown who had not committed anywhere to that point.b
We could go back further too. In 2011 when Notre Dame played USC for the first night game in Notre Dame Stadium in over 20 years and started this trend, they laid an egg against USC with Deontay Greenberry in attendance. He ultimately spurred the Irish on Signing Day. Also on the sidelines that day where Shaq Thompson, Keith Marshall, John Theus, Tee Shepard, Brian Poole, Zach Banner, Bryce Treggs, and Jordan Payton among others. None of those names ring a bell? That’s because none of them ended up at Notre Dame.
Notre Dame did manage to pull Keivarae Russell out of that weekend, but with 14 official visitors on hand, they landed one recruit they didn’t already have. Tee Shepard was still committed at the time – and did enroll early at Notre Dame – and Justin Ferguson was committed already too, but both eventually transferred from Notre Dame.
So that brings us to this weekend. Recent history tells us that Notre Dame can expect to do well with this weekend’s visitors if they win. It’s no guarantee for multiple commitments, but we have seen that when the Irish lose one of these big prime time games in which they have a ton of top prospects on hand, they are guaranteed for mediocre at best returns.
With some very crucial recruits such as Jamaree Salyer, Houston Griffith, Kalon Gervin, Chase Cota, and Julius Irvin on top of some of their best current commitments, Notre Dame can’t afford to lay another egg in primetime like we’ve seen happen all too often over the last few years.