Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 7, 2013 Issue

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

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Page 78 of 111

The Eyes Upon Texas Notre Dame's recruiting presence in the Lone Star State has grown in recent decades F By Lou Somogyi or the second time in five years, Texas is the site of Notre Dame's Shamrock Series game. The original in 2009 was played at San Antonio, a 40-14 Fighting Irish victory against Washington State. This year, it's in the Metroplex (Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington) versus Arizona State. Clearly, the objective is to expand Notre Dame's recruiting presence in the Lone Star State. While recruiting in the Midwest and Northeast has and always will be vital to Notre Dame's football lifeblood, the demographics demonstrate that the top three states to recruit football talent are California, Florida and Texas. According to USA Football, of the 1,695 players on the 2013 opening-week NFL rosters, 225 of them came from California, followed by Florida's 186 and Texas' 184. Georgia (74) and Ohio (63) were a distant fourth and fifth. Notre Dame's future schedules reflect this push to be active in the "Football Trinity" of California, Florida and Texas: • Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick has maintained that playing annually in California — USC in evennumbered years and Stanford in oddnumbered ones — is a priority. California has the most representation on the 2013 Notre Dame roster with 12 players, including walk-ons. • By joining the ACC, with football starting as a partial member in 2014, Notre Dame enhances its ties to the Sunshine State with regular foes such as Miami and Florida State, plus other top prominent football recruiting territories such as Georgia and the Carolinas. Florida is tied with Ohio for the secondhighest representation on Notre Dame's 2013 roster with 11 apiece (including walk-ons). • Texas is a little different. There has been no natural Notre Dame rival in the state over the years, but the Texas Longhorns will replace the University of Michigan on the 2015-16 and 2019‑20 schedules. The Shamrock Series games in San Antonio and Arlington are also examples of trying to establish a presence in the Texas/Southwest region.

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