By: Eric Allen

It’s always interesting to read stories about fans wanting more of this or more of that. I read an article from Slap the Sign’s Joshua Vowles “Notre Dame Football: Waiting for That Big Recruiting Splash” from about a week ago. You can read it here: Click

Now first and foremost, this is not a personal attack on the author of the piece, but just a different view point.

If you don’t want to waste your time reading, he gives an opinion on how it has been a ‘really long time’ since Notre Dame made a ‘spectacular’ recruiting splash that Alabama and Ohio State feel “everyday”.

“It feels like it has been a really long time since Notre Dame made one of those spectacular recruiting splashes that seems like an everyday event in Tuscaloosa Alabama and Columbus Ohio. Where are those 5 star, elite, game-changing, program-changing, life-changing, superstars in the making? Why aren’t they committing to Notre Dame — and why aren’t they doing it right now?”

In the next sentence he answers his own question with the statement of:

“While all of those are valid questions, they deserve only the most basic and vague answer: it is only the end of March, and it’s a long way until the first Wednesday in February of 2017.”

The next statement he proceeds to say:

“With that said, it is incredibly frustrating right now for fans of Notre Dame football and in particular for fans of Notre Dame football that follow recruiting, even if it is just casually. The big fish aren’t swimming in this pond. Well, to be fair … the lunker bass that bring home trophies and boat endorsement deals aren’t swimming in the stream that leads to the pond that Notre Dame is fishing from right now.”

Well let’s take a look and see just how good or bad Notre Dame is doing on April 7, 2016.

According to 247 Sports and, the top two recruiting sites in America, Notre Dame currently has the 7th best recruiting class in the country without any big fish swimming or those lurker bass swimming in Notre Dame’s stream. Ohio State, Oklahoma, Miami, Clemson, Michigan and Florida State are the six teams ahead of the Irish. Yes, Alabama is ranked below Notre Dame at No. 8, with all the big fish they are landing on a daily basis if you listen to Vowles.

If you want to look at another recruiting source, has the 2017 Notre Dame class ranked No. 4 in the nation, only behind Ohio State, Oklahoma and Clemson.

Notre Dame should strive to be number one each and every year, there is no doubt about that. However, in the subjective field of recruiting evaluations, if a school is Top 10-15 each year, they are doing a more than job at bringing in elite talent. The Irish consistently fall into that category each year under Brian Kelly.

The fact remains, Notre Dame is hanging in there with Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State and that includes Notre Dame refusing to pay players. Yes, I said it. Some schools/boosters increase recruit’s wallets to simply visit their program, let alone decommit or commit.

It’s sad, but who can blame a kid for taking upwards of $100k to commit to a program? That’s the 2016 price to pay to get ‘big fish’ to commit and even visit your program.

However, there is Notre Dame, hanging in there with the shadiness of college football’s elite. Notre Dame also has different recruiting challenges. There are misconceptions about Notre Dame that most schools don’t have to deal with. Academics. Private school. Catholic School. Weather. Girls. All those are used against the Notre Dame coaching staff.

Yes, you will attend class if a recruit picks Notre Dame. And yes, the classes are harder, so student-athletes and student actually learn something in their time at the university.

Yes, Notre Dame is a private school with a different set of rules, but Notre Dame is more than accommodating if you don’t abuse laws of the great state of Indiana.

Yes, it’s a Catholic school, but Catholicism isn’t shoved down your throat. You
have the choice to believe in what you believe in.

Yes, the weather sucks at times, especially December through March (April this year), but as the cliché saying goes ‘If you get drafted to the NFL, you’re going to have to play in cold weather at some point’.

Yes, the girls aren’t like at Southern or West Coast schools, but there are still girls that actually go to Notre Dame and girls also attend the all girls school across the street.

Despite all those ‘negatives’ the ‘big fish’ are still visiting Notre Dame, which is CRUCIAL for Notre Dame. When a prospect visits, the coaching staff has a chance to put those notions to bed and show the prospect and prospect’s family what Notre Dame is about.

This is a list of prospects that have visited Notre Dame since January. Take a look: (Did not include commits or ‘three-star’ players)

2017 four-star offensive lineman Trey Smith from Tennessee.
2017 four-star athlete Isaiah Robertson from Illinois
2018 four-star defensive lineman PJ Mustipher from Washington D.C.
2017 four-star offensive lineman Robert Hainsey from Florida
2017 four-star athlete Paulson Adebo from Texas
2017 four-star receiver Tarik Black from Connecticut
2017 four-star receiver Trey Blount from Georgia
2017 four-star running back Robert Burns from Florida
2017 four-star running back AJ Dillon from Massachusetts
2017 four-star cornerback Thomas Graham from California, who has since decommitted from USC
2017 four-star defensive line Corey Malone-Hatcher from Michigan
2017 four-star linebacker Jacob Phillips from Tennessee
2017 four-star receiver Charleston Rambo from Texas
2017 four-star defensive back Amir Riep from Ohio
2017 four-star cornerback AJ Terrell from Georgia
2017 four-star defensive lineman Haskell Garrett from Nevada
2017 four-star offensive lineman Tyler Beach from Wisconsin
2017 four-star defensive lineman Greg Rogers from Nevada
2017 four-star offensive lineman Andrew Thomas from Georgia
2017 four-star defensive back Jaylon Kelly-Powell from Michigan
2017 five-star receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones from Michigan
2017 four-star cornerback Ambry Thomas from Michigan
2017 four-star defensive back Jamyest Williams from Georgia
2017 four-star cornerback LeAnthony Williams from Georgia
2018 four-star cornerback Derrik Allen from Georiga
2018 four-star quarterback Phil Jurkovec from Pennsylvania
2018 four-star offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer

I’d say there are some lurkers, but that’s me personally. The next step is locking these kids down, but it’s going to take return trips and official visits, which is something 90% of the kids above will be doing.

You can be angry Notre Dame isn’t number one in the country in recruiting and not landing ‘big fish’, but the coaching staff is doing a fine job at exposing Notre Dame’s brand to the top prospects in the land. Notre Dame doesn’t push for early commitments like most of the schools in the current Top 10. They have been burnt by decommitments and they staff has adapted. They encourage kids to visit other programs, because they are confident if Notre Dame is the place for that specific recruit, then they will see through the money, smokescreens and whatever is thrown at kids on recruiting visits.

If you write this piece again in in February of 2017, 10 months from now and Notre Dame is not in the Top 10, then it might be justified. However, in my opinion, writing this type of piece 10 months from National Signing Day is a bit uneducated about that state of Notre Dame recruiting.

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