Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2023

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

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6 PRESEASON 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED FAN FORUM FIVE-STAR QUESTION I have been a Blue & Gold Illustrated subscriber for about 30 years and I had been anxiously awaiting the August is- sue for two months to get some clarity over losing five-star defensive tackle Justin Scott to Ohio State. After losing five-star edge Keon Kelly to Alabama last year despite him being solidly in Notre Dame's corner along with the defensive back who also went elsewhere (former Irish commit Peyton Bowen, who ended up at Oklahoma), we heard nothing about why they left to go elsewhere. Now we had Justin Scott who seemed to be firmly interested in Notre Dame and had all the fans in a lather that we would finally succeed in signing a local kid at a position that had been problem- atic in the past. Even the May issue in reporting the recruiting of Scott quoted him by saying he was a " momma's boy" and he didn't want to be far from home. I know I was stunned when I read he wanted to go to Ohio State, and the only reason we got was that he liked the Ohio State coach. I was anxiously awaiting getting some clarification about possible reasons we lost five-star recruits after ND seemed to have them, then we didn't. Is it all the issue with NIL? Does it all come down to "pay to play"? I truly hope it doesn't come down to who can offer the most money. I ex- pected Blue & Gold to explain what hap- pened in the losing recruits at the end, but nothing was written about it. It's like it never happened. I expected more. Thanks! Jim Malfitano Mr. Malfitano, we passed along your question to BGI recruiting insider Mike Singer, and here's what he had to say on the topic: We have limited space for our recruit- ing section in the magazine, so we tend to focus on the kids who are going to Notre Dame. The players who opt to go else- where won't get as much coverage there, but our website allows for us to have more daily articles that you crave. As far as Scott's recruitment goes, it was one that was simply all over the place. Notre Dame seemed like the team to beat at various points. After he took a June visit to Michigan, he and his family were "set" on the Wolverines. Georgia also looked to be in a good spot for him in the spring. Although it did look as if Scott was nearing a commitment to Notre Dame in January, I contend that he was never as interested in the Fighting Irish as we may have thought. Of his top schools, Notre Dame was the closest to home but the Irish only hosted him three times in a span of nearly two years. That combined with Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson doing a great job recruit- ing Scott proved to be the difference. As far as your comments about five- star recruits, the Irish have landed four in the past three years. Rivals ranked Blake Fisher as a five-star in the 2021 class. On3 had 2022 prospects Jaylen Sneed and Aamil Wagner as five-star players. And in the 2023 cycle, Charles Jagusah was ranked as a five-star by On3. The Irish are getting five-star play- ers, but all people want to talk about is the ones who get away. MAN OF HIS WORD I was saddened to hear about the passing of Notre Dame Fighting Irish legend Johnny Lujack at the age of 98 on July 25. I have a story I'd like to share with Irish fans that demonstrates what kind of man he was. One time at a game, I waved down Lujack and asked him to sign my copy of the Life magazine that had him on the cover. I asked him if he would sign it if I mailed it to him, and he agreed. I mailed the cover to him and pretty much as- sumed I would never see it again, but Lujack signed it and returned it as he had promised. I will be forever grateful and appre- ciate how good Lujack was to this un- known Notre Dame fan. Jim Ferrick Great story, Mr. Ferrick. Thanks for sharing! BE HEARD! Send your letters to: Letters, Blue & Gold Illustrated, P. O. Box 1007, Notre Dame, IN 46556 or e-mail to: Chicago St. Ignatius five-star defensive lineman Justin Scott committed to Ohio State July 2, picking the Buckeyes over Notre Dame, Miami and Michigan among others. PHOTO BY CHAD SIMMONS/ON3.COM Johnny Lujack, the 1947 Heisman winner who played on three Notre Dame national champion- ship teams, died at the age of 98 on July 25. FILE PHOTO

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