As we've seen in Brian Kelly's recent recruiting classes, landing the blue-chip recruits hasn't been a problem. Since taking over at Notre Dame, Kelly and his coaching staff have landed more than their fair share of the nation's top prospects.
According to 247Sports.com's team rankings, all four of Kelly's recruiting classes (we'll keep 2010 out of this both because 247 didn't collect data and Kelly took over Charlie Weis' class) have been Top 20 groups. Both the 2011 and 2013 classes were judged Top 10 efforts, with last year's class falling just outside that standard at No. 11.
Stockpiling talent isn't necessarily a precursor to playing winning football—just ask Mack Brown. But as Kelly enters his fifth season in South Bend, Indiana, the personnel on the Irish roster continues to improve.
That's been proved by Notre Dame's success in the NFL draft. But that success has also come at a price, with roster attrition with early entrants to the NFL creating challenges we haven't seen in recent years for the Irish.
But those departures have created opportunities. And as Kelly has built his program around the motto of "Next Man In," let's take a look at five former blue-chippers who will finally have a chance to shine in 2014.
*Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand.