A new reality? Notre Dame is consistently recruiting at an elite level
With just over a month to go before the Early Signing Period, Notre Dame’s 2022 recruiting class sits at No. 5 in the 247Sports Composite rankings.
That continues a telling trend: The Fighting Irish are on pace to have an improved recruiting class in each of the last three cycles.
Perhaps more importantly, it could mark the first time during the Brian Kelly era that Notre Dame will have top-10 recruiting classes in back-to-back years. Its 2023 class looks like it will be in that range, too.
Here are Notre Dame’s last 10 class rankings, per 247Sports Composite rankings:
- 2021: No. 9
- 2020: No. 18
- 2019: No. 15
- 2018: No. 10
- 2017: No. 10
- 2016: No. 15
- 2015: No. 13
- 2014: No. 11
- 2013: No. 5
- 2012: No. 17
The 2022 class is heavy on talent in the front seven. The Fighting Irish already have seven commitments from defensive linemen and linebackers, and six of those commitments are 4-star prospects or better.
This cycle also includes four receiver prospects, which will be important moving forward. Notre Dame is down to just five scholarship receivers heading into this week’s game vs. Virginia, so re-gaining some depth will be important in 2022. 4-star C.J. Williams leads the receiver group and is the No. 75 overall player in this cycle, per 247Sports Composite rankings.
Although it’s still early in the cycle, Notre Dame’s 2023 group looks even more impressive. That class already has six commitments and two of them are 5-star prospects — the latest being linebacker Drayk Bowen, who committed last week.
Notre Dame’s 2023 class currently ranks No. 3 in the 247Sports Composite and has the potential to be the best recruiting class of the Brian Kelly era. Four of Notre Dame’s first six commitments in this class are on the defensive side of the ball, too.
The Fighting Irish are one of three programs to be ranked in the top five of both the 2022 and 2023 recruiting rankings.
Here's the list of teams in the top 5 of the 2022 and 2023 recruiting rankings, per 247Sports Composite…
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— Saturday Road (@SaturdayRoad) November 10, 2021
Notre Dame’s recent recruiting surge could be the result of any number of factors. For one, Kelly is in the midst of arguably his best since he took over in South Bend. The Fighting Irish are looking for their fifth straight 10-win season this year and are just two wins away from that goal.
The arrival of defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman is also a potential factor. He’s listed as the primary or secondary recruiter on all of Notre Dame’s defensive commitments in the 2023 class, and was heavily involved in recruiting Snead in the 2022 cycle as well.
In any case, it seems a new era has set in at Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish have always recruited well, but they’re approaching elite territory in the next few classes. If that trend persists, expect to see them back in the College Football Playoff — and soon.