Adding More Gold To the Pot: What Recent Recruiting Success Means for Notre Dame

Dan ScofieldAnalyst IJanuary 17, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Head coach Brian Kelly and quarterback Tommy Rees #13 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish embrace after the game against the USC Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 27, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  Notre Dame won 20-16.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Brian Kelly isn't too shabby of a recruiter after all.

On top of the solid class already assembled, equipped with essential defenders and play-makers on the offensive side of the ball, Notre Dame has been a hot commodity among recruits as of late.

First, the news of a stud outside linebacker committing to Notre Dame hit the fan base. Just a few hours later, another top-notch defensive recruit let Brian Kelly and his staff know he would be enrolling early at Notre Dame.

Aaron Lynch and Ishaq Williams were the ingredients that sent this defensive recruiting class over the top.

And now, sitting just a few weeks away from National Signing Day on February 2nd, the Irish look as if they will close with a top 5 class, and almost certainly, one of the best defensive front-seven recruiting hauls in the past decade at the school. With the additions of Williams and Lynch, accompanied with the commitments of elite rusher Stephon Tuitt and an underrated Ben Councell, Kelly might not have to worry about his defense failing for the next four years.

Of course, there are plenty other recipes for winning. However, defense wins championships, and because of that, Kelly stuck to his pre-season recruiting plan, traveled the country, and grabbed the best talent he could find.

Just in the past years, talk of Notre Dame's "slow" defensive speed and "below average" athleticism has been a popular knock on the program. But with the additions in the 2011 class, the Irish have a new look to them to go along with the first class brought in by Kelly this past year.

These recruiting commitments, combined with the phenomenal second-half play of the Irish defense, are all reasons to be excited for the 2011 season and beyond. Already, experts are slotting Kelly's new-look team to be ranked heading into next year. 

Without laying out expectations for year two in the Kelly era, one thing can be counted on: defensive consistency. Bob Diaco has turned the program's defense into one that can only improve from here on out.

Depending on how much impact Williams, Lynch, Tuitt, or any of incoming studs the Irish will have, it will be a welcome feeling to know that there will be more answers than question marks on the defensive side of the football. 

The offense, on the other hand, will still field question marks, specifically at the quarterback position. However, even that question won't be a terrible one, as there will be plenty of successful options in Dayne Crist, Tommy Rees, or possibly even one of the underclassmen.

In hindsight, Kelly's recruiting success is preparing his program for ultimate triumph in the coming years. There is no way to deny that Notre Dame is on the rise, specifically on the defensive side of the football.