The good times keep on rolling for Notre Dame.
The Fighting Irish shocked pretty much everyone outside of South Bend—and if they're being honest, most of the folks in South Bend, as well—by finishing the regular season undefeated and reaching the BCS National Championship game.
And Notre Dame has done an amazing job of building on its 2012 return to prominence and putting together one of the best recruiting classes in the nation.
If Brian Kelly continues to spurn the NFL in the future, they might be calling him Saint Brian before all is said and done.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 247 Sports had Notre Dame ranked as the fifth-best recruiting class in the nation, trailing only Alabama, Ohio State, Florida and Michigan.
While recruiting has never been too much of a problem for Notre Dame, one of the most visible and illustrious programs in college football, building upon the momentum from this year's season could begin a trend that will see Notre Dame return to the glory days that were but a memory before this season.
And as Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer writes, the Fighting Irish ensured this class would be a success pretty early in the recruiting process. Despite a fairly quiet national signing day, Notre Dame is sitting pretty:
And as the SEC continued to showcase its dominance beyond Ole Miss, Notre Dame went about its business without much of a peep. Typically “Notre Dame” and “quietly” rarely find themselves together in the same sentence, but national signing day was an exception.
Much of Notre Dame’s recruiting work was done early on in the process, and just about every one of its expected signees came through. In today’s age of recruiting, that’s a rarity.
Forget about the BCS national championship blowout and Brian Kelly’s brief flirtation with the NFL, the Irish closed strong. Yes, they lost linebacker Alex Anzalone to Florida during Kelly’s week of NFL unknown, but other than that, they kept a very solid class basically together throughout.
While Notre Dame has snagged two 5-star recruits, the program has really made its money with the 4-star prospects, landing 17 in this class. Plus, Notre Dame is still in the running for 5-star defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes, who is expected to announce his decision this evening.
Eddie Vanderdoes announces at 8 pm, but Notre Dame may have just given it away. Per @ndatrivals, mistakenly included on press release.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) February 6, 2013
Official Notre Dame press release on signing day includes Eddie Vanderdoes.— Irish Illustrated (@NDatRivals) February 6, 2013
Notre Dame has informed me that Eddie Vanderdoes was mistakenly listed in the signing day press release. Has not signed with Notre Dame.— Irish Illustrated (@NDatRivals) February 6, 2013
Maybe it was just an honest mistake. Or maybe Notre Dame just committed the day's biggest "spoiler alert" violation. National signing day is so wacky, who knows?
Vanderdoes would be the cherry on the top of fantastic signing class, that's for sure. While we won't know much about these players until they actually step on the field, it would appear Notre Dame is back in the elite of college football.
That's a great thing for college football. It's not such a great thing for the other programs in college football, however, at least not on the national signing days to come.