The NCAA announced some widespread changes to recruiting rules last week and while I would love to dive into all of them right now and their impact on Notre Dame, that whole real life thing keeps on popping up. That said, there are two rules specifically that could help Notre Dame in their head to head battles with Stanford moving forward.
Of the six new rules that were introduced last week, here are the two that could help Notre Dame in their head to head battles with Stanford.
- Allowing recruits to make official visits between April and June
- The addition of an early signing period in December
Stanford is Notre Dame’s Biggest Recruiting Threat
Before getting into how these two rules changes can help Notre Dame head to head vs. Stanford, let’s first admit that Stanford has become one of Notre Dame’s biggest rivals on the recruiting trail. In fact, some may not want to admit it, but Stanford has become in many ways Notre Dame’s biggest threat in recruiting.
It used to be that when there was an elite prospect who was very serious about academics and football, they were a shoe-in for Notre Dame. That is not the case any longer. In fact, some could make a very strong argument that that mantle now belongs to Stanford. Again, scoff if you want at that notion, but in reality, Stanford has been more than just a thorn in Notre Dame’s side on the recruiting trail in recent years.
Ok, with that out of the way, let’s get into how these two rules can help Notre Dame head to head versus Stanford.
Earlier Official Visits Huge for Notre Dame
Allowing for official visits between April 1 and the end of June is huge for Notre Dame in general. Notre Dame recruits at a national level and with the recruiting calendar moved up so much and many elite prospects making their decisions before their senior seasons, Notre Dame has been at a disadvantage for the last few years in having to wait until September for official visits.
Many elite recruits considering Notre Dame that are unable to make arrangements on their own to visit Notre Dame unofficially in the spring could already be at the stage of naming their finalists well before they can ever step foot on campus. At that point, Notre Dame is toast. So allowing for official visits in the spring time should allow Notre Dame to be a player for more national recruits who don’t live in close proximity to South Bend, Indiana.
With specific regards to Stanford, what is one of Stanford’s biggest advantages over Notre Dame that is totally outside of Notre Dame’s control? Weather. While Palo Alto might not exactly be the tropics year round, the weather there beats the hell out of the South Bend winters. Getting west coast recruits on campus during the spring time when the weather is much nicer should help the Irish in some battles with the Cardinal. It might be a minimal effect, but it should still help nonetheless.
Early Signing Period: Stanford’s Loss, Notre Dame’s Gain?
The real big advantage Notre Dame should gain versus Stanford, however is in the early signing period. Stanford head coach David Shaw once called an early signing period potentially “catastrophic” for college football.
Stanford coach David Shaw says an early signing day for football would be "catastrophic" for the sport. Wants to see date pushed back.
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) November 13, 2012
In actuality, it’s more catastrophic for Stanford specifically and not necessarily college football as a whole. This is because in many instances, the Stanford admissions department is slow to approve some scholarships. That approval doesn’t come sometimes until very late in the recruiting process including after the proposed early signing period as they await recruits’s senior year first semester grades.
Take the case of Paulson Adebo just this past year. Adebo was a Notre Dame commitment from the spring all the way up until January when he decommitted and selected Stanford shortly after gaining his Stanford admissions acceptance.
In the future, an elite recruit deciding between Stanford and Notre Dame or Stanford and any school for that matter who doesn’t have their admissions to Stanford cleared by December could be rolling the dice a bit by waiting. Do they wait until January and officially gain their clearance and run the risk of losing their spot with another school or do they play their cards safe and sign with another school in December?
The early signing period could drastically change the dramatic of the recruiting process for all schools. For Notre Dame this is just one example of how. For instance, Notre Dame salvaged its class of 2017 by adding late recruits that were previously committed elsewhere in January. Would those options have been off the table for them with an early signing period?
Jafar Armstrong, Jordan Genmark-Heath, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, and Jonathan Doerer were all committed elsewhere on January 1, 2017. All five ultimately signed LOI’s with Notre Dame in February.
Specifically with regards to Stanford, however, the early signing period will likely impact them much more than it will Notre Dame. That should help the Irish in their head to head battles with the Cardinal.
Odds are neither of these two rules will have drastic impacts on Notre Dame’s recruiting efforts overall. Winning on Saturday afternoons and evenings will do that. These two new rules could, however, make the difference between a head to head battle or two a year with Stanford.
Considering that the last five contests between Notre Dame and Stanford have been decided by an average of just 5.2 points with none being decided by more than a touchdown, one or two head to head battles a year could make a big difference.