Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 27, 2020

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

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42 NOV. 27, 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED FOOTBALL RECRUITING BY MIKE SINGER N o t re D a m e d e f e a t i n g Clemson on the field ob- viously has a huge impact in the Fighting Irish's quest for a national championship this season and historically speaking, because its argu- ably the program's biggest win since 1993 when Lou Holtz's squad defeated No. 1 Florida State. It's a little bit more difficult to quantify exactly what the victory means for recruiting. Some of the impact is ben- eficial in the short term, but it might be more so in the future. Don't expect the Fight- ing Irish to all of the sudden flip multiple five-star class of 2021 prospects from other perennial powerhouse pro- grams based on one game. However, it could start a snowball effect of how an under- classman prospect thinks about Notre Dame, leading to an eventual commitment. One thing that is important to note is that due to the NCAA's dead pe- riod, Notre Dame wasn't allowed to have recruits on campus. During a normal year, the game would've attracted at least a dozen four-star recruits in the 2021 and 2022 classes, plus a majority of the Fighting Irish's commitments. Notre Dame's ticketing policy doesn't permit the general public to get into the game either. Only stu- dents, player families and other uni- versity faculty are allowed into the stadium. Player families include the oppos- ing team, which is why Nashville (Tenn.) Christ Presbyterian Acad- emy linebacker Langston Patterson, an Irish target in the 2022 class, was able to attend the game. His brother, Kane, is a linebacker for Clemson. "Notre Dame has elite players," the younger Patterson told Blue & Gold Illustrated. "I'm very impressed with Coach [Clark] Lea and that defense. I'm really glad I got to experience the campus and environment in person. I could definitely see myself playing at Notre Dame." Honolulu Punahou's Kahanu Kia, a Rivals three-star talent and the No. 9 player in Hawaii in the 2021 class, was in South Bend the Thursday night before the Clemson game until Sunday afternoon to experience cam- pus and get a feel for South Bend. Kia reports that he wasn't able to get into Notre Dame Stadium, but just being around for the game was more than exciting. "I can't even explain it," Kia said. "I'm just so happy for the team. The conversation had been 'Notre Dame never wins the big one,' but they beat the No. 1 team, and I was in town. It was insane." A large majority of Notre Dame targets in the 2021, 2022 and 2023 classes probably didn't watch the Irish handily beat Georgia Tech 31-13. They may have flipped on Notre Dame's 12-7 win over Louisville in the second half because they saw the upset alert. Maybe some tuned in for the season-opening 27-13 triumph for the Irish over Duke. But one thing is for certain that BGI gathered from dozens of recruits: they were all intently watching Notre Dame versus Clemson. The Irish effort improved the program's stock in the mind of some prospects. "I was shocked; I'm not go- ing to lie," said Frisco (Texas) Liberty 2022 wide receiver Evan Stewart, who is Rivals' No. 79 player in his class. "It was a game down to the wire and really changed my viewpoint on the Irish, but I always knew they were a good school." Many recruits didn't have their opinions of Notre Dame change because they already had such a high view of the university. "It doesn't change my mind about anything be- cause I know the players are well coached and don't back down from anyone," added St. Louis John Burroughs School 2022 defensive end Tyson Ford, the country's No. 63 player per Rivals. "If any- thing, it just validated what I already thought about Notre Dame." Notre Dame sophomore running back Kyren Williams has been im- pressive all year and turned in the best performance of his career by rushing for 140 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries. Memphis (Tenn.) Christian Broth- ers' Dallan Hayden, the nation's No. 18 athlete and No. 221 overall re- cruit in the 2022 class per Rivals, is a big running back target for the Irish. Notre Dame's rushing output this season has impressed him, and it was clearly on display versus the Tigers. "I already had a strong feeling about Notre Dame, but that win is going to attract me and more re- cruits," he summarized. It may have attracted even more recruits if they were able to be inside Notre Dame Stadium. "If a kid was undecided but got to soak in that environment of a night game, you might get him," former Notre Dame linebacker and BGI foot- ball analyst Mike Goolsby said. "It's really unfortunate that they weren't able to have recruits physically there." ✦ The Fighting Irish captivated many of its top recruits by beating the previ- ously No. 1-ranked Tigers — including Memphis (Tenn.) Christian Brothers' Dallan Hayden, the nation's No. 18 athlete and No. 221 overall recruit in the 2022 class per Rivals. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM The Clemson Win's Impact On Recruiting

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