Notre Dame Recruiting Focus moves south

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The work is never done in recruitment until the Letters of Intent come in, but the majority of the assessment work has been done in regards to the Class of 2023.

Notre Dame sent 145 offers this cycle. They sent 175 in the previous one. They may end up sending close to that number when all is said and done after the May evaluation period, on-campus camps in the summer, and after evaluating the game movie of emerging senior prospects, but we’ll see a lot more in 2024 and 2025 offers than those for this current class.

This is technically the first full class for Marcus Freeman. I say technically because a good portion of these offers came out before he was the head of the program. There are several new staffers recruiting players who have already been offered before they were employed by Notre Dame, so we might see things go in a slightly different direction with their voices added to the mix of reviewers like Dave Peloquin and Bill Rees.

Even with that, I think it’s safe to say that we have a pretty good overview of which areas of the country Notre Dame has and will target most frequently in recruiting. Unsurprisingly, they continued to move away from the Midwest.

The Irish only offered 23 players from Midwestern states. Nearly half of them are from Missouri (6) and Ohio (5). To put that into perspective, they offered more 2,023 recruits from Texas than from the entire Midwest.

63 offers were sent to players in the southeast. 24 of them are for players from Florida, 12 from Georgia and 8 from Alabama. I’m not sure anyone would have predicted Notre Dame would offer nearly as many prospects from Alabama as they did from California (9), but that’s where the talent took them.

For players planning to play defense, only 8 of the 80 offers come from the Midwest. 52 are from the Southeast and Texas. Two of those eight are key elements of the defensive lineman class Brenan Vernon‍ and linebacker Drayk Bowen‍. In fact, the lack of offers to local players shows how important it is to sign domestic recruits like them.

61% of the players they offered in total are from the Southeast or Texas. Of the 82 recruits they offered in the 2024 cycle, it’s also 61% (50 players). This number is up from 54% in 2018.

The college football world in general has shifted to the Southeast. It’s not something that everyone isn’t already aware of. One would have to be blind to ignore the number of top-notch recruits from these states, and then see the number of players from SEC schools who are drafted annually by NFL teams in recent years.

The SEC’s footprint has also expanded into Texas. A state that has always been loaded with top talent has come under attack from SEC powers in recent years.

Notre Dame, who has always recruited nationally, seems to have recognized that this can only help them have a bigger presence on their roster from these southern states. It’s not just about more numbers either. They need to be able to go and do what they’ve done so far in this cycle by getting elite talent commitments like Keon Keeley‍ (Florida) and Peyton Bowen‍ (Texas) and keep them in the fold as well. Going to Georgia and landing a great fit and top-50 prospect in Kyle Hamilton has to become the norm.

There will always be representation from across the country in a Notre Dame recruiting class, but given how aggressive they are in the Southeast and Texas, it’s obvious they want to have more representation from those areas. Sending offers is the easy part. Bringing these players in for tours and then signing them is a much tougher challenge.

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