Brian Kelly didn't bring in a single outside linebacker in his 2012 class.
They're off to a better start this year with Rivals 5-star linebacker Jaylon Smith committed, but it will take more than just one recruit to fill their needs.
One player they've been hard after is unanimous 4-star Alex Anzalone, a former Ohio State commit who decommitted in early May. According to Penn State beat writer Bob Flounders, the Irish are in the rising senior's top 3, but with some stout competition for his services:
I'm hearing Wyomissing LB Alex Anzalone's list is down to three: Notre Dame, Florida and PSU. He had a six-school list last week. ....— Bob Flounders (@BobbyFlo7) June 20, 2012
Flounders also says that the Irish are "going all out" for the 6'3", 230-pounder from Wyomissing, Pennsylvania.
Notre Dame, Florida and Penn State rose above the likes of Alabama, Michigan and USC to the top of his list, but it is the Irish and Gators who "tied for the top spot," according to Anzalone himself, per Blake Alderman of InsidetheGators.com.
These two schools are no stranger to battling each other for top recruits, and Anzalone, who still plans on taking visits, isn't going to make a decision tomorrow. He hasn't eliminated Ohio State, Alabama, Michigan or anyone else yet either meaning the Irish must stay pro-active.
Florida and Will Muschamp, in particular, have been a complete machine on the trail this year, and 17 of their 18 commitments so far carry an ESPN 4-star grade or higher—12 of the Irish's 14 commits carry ESPN 4-stars.
Where Will Anzalone Commit?
Anzalone values academics, and the Irish offer one of the best educations in the country. Their defensive system would allow the high school safety to utilize his great athleticism at the linebacker spot, as would Florida's defense, and he has plenty of room and time to grow.
If Flounders' report is true, the Irish need to just keep doing what they've been doing. If they were to pair Anzalone with Smith, they'd have two potential starters for at least three years, possibly longer.
Notre Dame just needs to continue being Notre Dame, and it'll at least keep itself alive in the chase for Alex Anzalone.