Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2024

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

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32 FEBRUARY 2024 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED FOOTBALL RECRUITING BY TYLER HORKA S ilence did all the speaking for Notre Dame when the early signing period opened Dec. 20. One year after the Fighting Irish lost pledges from safety Peyton Bowen and running back Jayden Limar at the last minute, the program received national letters of intent from every class of 2024 commit by 10:30 a.m. EST. All 23 of them. It was a quiet day for the Fighting Irish. When unwanted pandemonium is the al- ternative, you take tranquility every time. It's not like Notre Dame signed a bunch of middle-of-the-road recruits, either. The Irish inked another top-10 class, their third in a row. It's the first time Notre Dame has put three top-10 classes one after the other since 2006-08. The nine schools in front of the Irish included six that will play in the SEC in 2024 (Georgia, Alabama, Texas, LSU, Auburn and Oklahoma), two from the Big Ten (Oregon and Ohio State) and one from the ACC (Miami). That's good company for Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman. His class is among the nation's best, situated right behind a good chunk of the rest of the blue bloods, and he got there without much of a fuss, if any at all. "Until they actually sign, there's al- ways people pulling at them," Freeman said. "They say, 'Is there a better op- portunity for me?' But they stayed com- mitted to each other and to this uni- versity and this football program. I am extremely happy about that." There were some major wins along the way. Cam Williams is Notre Dame's first five-star wide receiver signee since Mi- chael Floyd in 2008. The Glen Ellyn (Ill.) Glenbard South product had offers from all over the Midwest, from Minnesota to Wisconsin to Michigan. He chose to be the next stud wide receiver in South Bend. Speaking of Michigan; legendary Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr's grand- son, CJ Carr, signed with Notre Dame. He committed way back on June 9, 2022, in a ceremony void of drama. His family bleeds maize and blue, but they'll soon all don blue and gold. Just because Carr put any thoughts of a flip to the program that's been close to his family's heart to rest early on in the process does not make his signing any less monumental. Carr is the No. 6 quarter- back in the class according to the On3 In- dustry Ranking. He might be the signal- caller who finally ends Notre Dame's cycle of transfer portal quarterback rentals. "And what a unique situation with his family and his grandfather, both grand- fathers, one coaching and one playing, his father played at Michigan. I remem- ber him saying, 'This is where I want to be,'" Freeman recalled of one of Carr's recruiting visits. "And when he left my office, I said, 'That's the leader you want for your pro- gram.' A guy that says, 'I want to create my own road.' As a quarterback, that's what you need — you need a leader. That's what he was, and that's what he is." On the other side of the ball, story- lines abound. Bellflower (Calif.) St John Bosco linebacker Kyngstonn Viliamu- Asa signed with Notre Dame over Ohio State and USC. Like Carr, Viliamu-Asa is the sixth-best player at his position per the On3 Industry Ranking. The Irish are losing two graduate stu- dent linebackers who ate up almost all of the playing time in the middle of the Notre Dame defense the last two sea- sons in Marist Liufau and JD Bertrand. There are holdover candidates de- fensive coordinator Al Golden can plug those voids with, like returning grad- THREE'S COMPANY Notre Dame stacks three straight top-10 recruiting classes for first time since 2006-08 Head coach Marcus Freeman has Notre Dame living in the top 10 of the annual On3 Industry Ranking Football Team Recruiting Rankings. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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