Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2019

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 4 of 47 FEBRUARY 2019 5 FAN FORUM FROM THE WEBSITE With its second 12-0 regular season in seven seasons, first College Football Playoff bid in the five-year history of the event and a third campaign out of four with a minimum of 10 wins, Notre Dame has gradually morphed into a top-10 program — the 4-8 de- bacle in 2016 notwithstanding. The Irish recruiting also has been consistent the past six cycles. All five classes from 2014-18 were ranked anywhere from Nos. 11-13 by Rivals, and this year's 21-man haul during the early signing period (Dec. 19-21) stood at No. 11. The question is whether it is at the first-tier level that Alabama, Clem- son, Ohio State, Georgia or Okla- homa often sign. For example, in the last six cycles Notre Dame has signed only two Rivals five-star play- ers: offensive guard Quenton Nel- son (2014) and defensive end Daelin Hayes (2016). Over that same time, Alabama has signed 28, Georgia 19 (a record eight in 2018), Clemson 18, Ohio State 13 and Oklahoma six. Is Notre Dame's consistency as a top-10 to top-15 recruiting class enough to put it over the top? Here is a sample of the many opinions fol- lowing the early signing period: MagicInTheName: Yes. Especially when combined with the '18 class. We have 26 defenders (which could become 28 with end Isaiah Foskey and linebacker Asa Turner) over the two classes. The amount of defensive talent over these two classes is sim- ply incredible. CharlestonIrish25: Maybe. I think it's going to be a championship-level defensive and offensive line class when finished. If there's one group I'm least worried about Brian Kelly teams being able to manufacture suc- cess, it's offensive skill. So if there's an area lacking a little star power (on paper), I'd rather it be there than any- where else. And they did pretty well with WR last year anyways. Also the 3-year QB and TE hauls from '18- '20 are pretty elite when grouped to- gether. Bkuz619: Yes, and when we keep up this level of play and winning, the "5 stars" will sign here and there. ND has in the last 2-3 years recruited the type of players that will help win championships. USAF9094: No it's not. No upper- echelon WR or RB talent, a lot of de- velopment necessary at LB. Also look at Alabama or even Georgia's class. They are leaps and bounds better. KevinPS: We're also looking for guys who can be 4-5 star players as juniors and seniors — Will Fuller, Ian Book, Drue Tranquill, et al. JohnnyIrish: Problem I have with ND is that we are lacking elite tal- ent at WR, DL and RB. We need that to consistently be a title-contending team. If you watch Alabama and Clemson, the main differences are at DL and WR. Their WRs have a ton of speed and length; ours have length but no speed, and I don't see that changing with this class. Also, Dexter Williams is a hell of a RB. He would play at Bama, but we don't have anyone behind him who can lace his shoes. Maverick1: Really? This is one of the most stupidest posts I have ever read. Like you knew two years ago that Williams was going to be this good. How about Josh Adams? You knew he would turn out to be as good as he was? Or C.J. Prosise, the 3-star safety who was converted to RB. Jafar Armstrong has the mak- ings of being the best all-around back since Theo Riddick — except bigger and faster. You have no clue as to which backs on this roster will turn out to be the next Williams, Prosise or Adams. FightingVac: For the first time in a long time recruiting seems to be organized with a blueprint to how they want to operate and they are sticking to it. Next year is going to be the final hurdle Kelly and the Irish have to cross before they can be called a top program again. We don't need to make the playoffs next year, but we need to get to at least 10 wins and get to a New Year's Six game. If we do that, I predict we will finish with a top-5 class in either 2020 or 2021 and end our 5-star drought. NDNEIL: I will take any FBS school with 4/5 combined recruit- ing vs. a school with only one re- cruiting class. So no, this ND class is not championship material, but combined with the other classes and what will likely come down the pipe- line, I do believe it is. A.H.Irish: Do you think the last four classes were good enough to be a playoff team? Bama is Bama until Nick Saban leaves, and Clemson is almost at that level. ✦ Cincinnati Anderson offensive lineman Zeke Correll is among the 21 new members of Notre Dame's 2019 recruiting haul that once again ranks among the nation's top 10-15. PHOTO BY COREY BODDEN BE HEARD! Send your letters to: Blue & Gold Illustrated / Letters P. O. Box 1007 Notre Dame, IN 46556 or e-mail to:

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