Notre Dame has built the foundation for a great recruiting class. They have 22 commits in a class that 247sports.com ranks eighth in the nation. With a number of top recruits still on the bubble, the Irish have a chance to improve an already impressive class.
The biggest concern the Irish needed to address was the loss of veterans on the defensive side of the ball. The most noticeable loss was that of star defensive linemen Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix III. Losing leading tacklers Dan Fox and Carlo Calabrese further hampered their front-seven for the upcoming season.
Brian Kelly has done a great job of reloading his front-seven by signing two defensive tackles, five defensive ends and three linebackers. These commits are headlined by the third-ranked linebacker in the class, Nyles Morgan, and the ninth-ranked defensive end in Andrew Trumbetti.
Notre Dame already has a solid recruiting class headed to South Bend next season, but the good news is this class has potential to get a lot better come signing day. The Irish are still pursuing some of the top recruits in the country and have a very good chance to see some of these young men sign their letters of intent for Notre Dame come Wednesday.
Daniel Cage one of the top defensive ends in the country, is being heavily recruited by the Irish. They jumped in the recruiting battle for Cage late as they did not offer him a scholarship until January 12th, and he did not visit South Bend until January 29th. The Irish have the opportunity to make one of the last impressions on Cage before signing day, and if they can impress him, he just may end up in South Bend next season.
Another defensive tackle the Irish are targeting is Courtney Garnett. Garnett has committed to Oklahoma, but the Irish were able to convince him to come on a visit to South Bend on January 31st. If Notre Dame can make a strong impression on Garnett, they may be able to steal him away from Oklahoma. The addition of Garnett would be another big body for VanGorder to work with in this Irish defense.
— Courtney Garnett (@ONLYFORAKING) January 31, 2014
The biggest recruiting battle of the day may take place between Notre Dame and USC for John “JuJu” Smith. Smith is a 5-star athlete that is ranked 20th in the nation. He can play on both sides of the ball, and could be a weapon right away. Smith chose to take his final official visit before signing day to USC. However, the good news for the Irish is that Smith visited South Bend the same weekend Notre Dame took down USC 14-10 at home. Seeing this victory over his other top school may help sway Smith to the Irish.
Brian Kelly has already put together one of the top recruiting classes in the country. However, if he can land some of these recruits on the bubble it would be icing on the cake for a great offseason. The future is bright for Notre Dame football, and it may get a lot brighter on signing day.