The Notre Dame Fighting Irish made a bold statement to the college football world with their win over the Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing. This is a program that is quickly on the rise.
Not only was this a big win on the football field, but by defeating the No. 10-ranked team in the country, they all but solidified their 2013 recruiting class as one of the best in the nation.
Brian Kelly's 2013 class is currently ranked No. 4 overall by Rivals.com, but that ranking may not even do the strength of this class justice. It's a class that's highlighted by a gigantic 5-star commit in outside linebacker Jaylon Smith—the No. 3 overall recruit in the country according to Rivals—but also features five other defenders, three of them being 4-star players.
This is a very strong defensive class and this win over Michigan State may have even made it stronger.
Michigan State's offense isn't a high-powered squad like the Oregon Ducks by any means, but the fact that the Fighting Irish held them to just three points overall is going to be a huge plus for interested defenders. Not only does this serve to keep players like Smith firmly in the fold, it should also help attract the remaining defensive pieces Kelly's 2013 class needs.
Will Kelly Get a commit from 5-Star CB Priest Willis?
The Irish only have one corner commit in 3-star defensive back Devin Butler, but two names they are apparently targeting are 5-star corner Priest Willis—who has Notre Dame high on his interest list and a visit coming up—and 4-star cornerback MacKensie Alexander, who has the Irish on top of his interest list.
The Irish only gave up 187 passing yards all night to Michigan State, and much of their defensive backfield's success came from the aggressive and dominant nature of their front seven.
Any defensive back worth their salt knows that playing behind great defensive linemen and linebackers will make their lives a whole lot easier, and when the quarterback is under pressure, he's more apt to throw errant passes that can be picked off.
Notre Dame showed off an aggressive front seven that will only improve with the addition of Smith next year, and I wouldn't be surprised if one or both of its targeted corners noticed.
The other part of Notre Dame's win that was hard ignore was the play of sophomore quarterback Everett Golson. He didn't put up incredible numbers—passing for 178 yards and a touchdown while also running in another score—but he displayed great poise and potential for the future.
Golson looks like he has what it takes to lead a big-time program forward and showed off a great arm.
This has to be quite the sticking point for the two 4-star pass-catchers Kelly has committed in wideout William Fuller and tight end Mike Heuerman, and it may be enough to attract at least one more big-time receiver for the 2013 class.
All in all, this was a huge win for the Irish.
Not only did they make a big national statement by defeating Michigan State, but they may have solidified a few commitments and won themselves a few more with their impressive performance in East Lansing.