The scrutiny is inevitable, regardless of quantity and/or quality.
When Notre Dame's current commits make their intentions official by signing their national letters of intent on Feb. 5, the nitpicking will commence.
"He's not fast enough," "He's not big enough," and "He couldn't play for an SEC school" will be among the many phrases uttered by Notre Dame fans far and wide. It's a direct representation of a large faction of the fan base's never-been-met expectations and holier-than-thou attitude regarding all happenings relating to the program.
But in less than three weeks, those same fans should lay down their proverbial arms and take a closer, more detailed look at the Irish's 2014 haul.
According to 247sports.com's 2014 team rankings, Notre Dame's class ranks eighth nationally, only trailing Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, Texas A&M, Auburn, Tennessee and LSU. That's elite company, regardless of whether you believe it.
For another point of view, consider the top ten teams of the final AP Top 25. Of those ten, only three currently lay claim to higher ranked recruiting classes than Notre Dame. Michigan State (3), South Carolina (4), Missouri (5), Oklahoma (6), Clemson (8), Oregon (9) and Central Florida (10) each have recruiting classes rated lower than that of the Irish.
The obvious caveat here is that each of those aforementioned programs have done an excellent job of developing the talent they've brought in in recent years. However, that's the path Notre Dame and head coach Brian Kelly are currently traversing.
In a strange way, the Irish's 2013 season is a perfect example of that condition.
The argument can be made that had quarterback Everett Golson been available during the past season, he would have had enough weapons around him to make a legitimate run at a repeat appearance in the BCS National Championship Game.
The accumulation of skill position talent within the program is a direct testament to Kelly and his staff's ability to consistently attract elite talent to South Bend, Ind.
And unlike years past, this season's incoming freshmen face a tough road to playing time, and that's a direct result of the program's ability to stockpile talent on an annual basis. A minor example is current Irish commit Justin Brent, who enrolled at Notre Dame this week.
The former 4-star prospect (per 247sports.com) was rated as the top recruit in the state of Indiana as a prep star and is considered one of the most dynamic wide receivers in the 2014 class. While the 6'3", 190-pound Indianapolis native would typically play right away for a plethora of programs throughout the country, Brent will have to earn his time at Notre Dame.
When DaVaris Daniels returns for the summer semester, he'll join a group of receivers that includes Corey Robinson, Will Fuller, James Onwualu, Chris Brown and C.J. Prosise, among others.
Similar battles are ensuing throughout the program, and that's a positive sign going forward.
In a macro sense, Notre Dame's 2014 class is only adding to the enormous amount of talent already existent throughout the depth chart.
And under the proper circumstances, this crop could play an instrumental role in a potential run to the College Football Playoff in the next four years.
Only time will tell.
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