Things were looking pretty rosy for Notre Dame’s running back recruiting about a month ago. All signs were pointing to the Irish being the unquestioned leader for 5-star back Chris Tyree and 4-star power back Tirek Murphy. A weekend visit to Oklahoma for Tyree however has the Irish now playing catchup and trailing in a recruitment that looked like it was trending in the right direction just a few weeks ago.
Now, before we get any further, let’s not all freak out. This one is not over, but following Tyree’s trip to Oklahoma, he is now saying that the Sooners lead according to Tom Loy of 247 Sports. Loy’s report has a few other very important developments with Tyree’s recruitment:
- Oklahoma does now lead after the visit
- Tyree WILL still be taking his official visit to Notre Dame in June
- He seems to enjoy the younger, hipper vibe of Lincoln Riley to the “more traditional” Brian Kelly
- Chip Long and Lance Taylor are putting in the work here for Notre Dame
And it does indeed look like Tyree enjoyed himself according to Twitter.
— Chris Tyree4️⃣ (@chris_tyree4) April 15, 2019
So this is not all bad news for Notre Dame. It is not uncommon for a recruit to make a visit somewhere and fall in love on the visit and nearly commit only to come back home and have things settle down a bit. How many times have recruits visited Notre Dame over the years and “loved the visit” and “been close to committing” only to get home and have the wow factor die down in the days and weeks that followed?
It happens all the time.
The fact that Tyree was floored by the visit and left Norman without committing and with his June official visit to Notre Dame still scheduled is huge and shows that this one is far from over. Kelly, Long, and Taylor have plenty of time to regroup and have the last word here over Oklahoma.
Getting Tyree on campus in June is important for Notre Dame as well because the weather should be perfect, the Golden Dome should be shining in all it’s glory, and campus should look beautiful. Reminder, official visits in June are still a new thing so this is something that Notre Dame wouldn’t have had working in its favor in years past. In fact, in years past this is the kind of recruitment where in the past I would have said Notre Dame might be out of it.
Let’s also not forget that new running backs coach Lance Taylor has only been on the job a few months and is playing catchup to other staffs on the recruiting trail. Early returns, however, suggest that Taylor has been making his presence felt in a relatively short period of time.
Obviously this is not an ideal situation for Notre Dame. In a perfect world Tyree would have returned home from his Oklahoma visit and said that Notre Dame was still his leader. That didn’t happen, but it also doesn’t mean that Notre Dame won’t be his leader again after his visit in June or that he won’t be eventually signing with Notre Dame.
Once the Notre Dame staff gets Tyree back on campus and is able to pull out the red carpet and hammer home just how much he would be used in the Notre Dame offense, the Irish should be right back in it. While Jafar Armstrong looked great in the Blue – Gold Game over the weekend, it was clear Notre Dame is missing a gamebreaker in the Dexter Williams mold in the backfield right now.
In Loy’s report Tyree said that what really made the visit to Oklahoma so good was how the Sooners staff showed him how he’d be used in their high flying offense. Kelly, Long, and Taylor should be able to deliver a similar message and demonstrate how a back like Tyree is really the only missing piece in this offense right now.
Notre Dame has some work to do here, but with Tyree looking to end his recruitment over the summer potentially, they should get the last word in here – at least over Oklahoma.