Late season success means welcoming blue chip recruits
In a week of recruiting drama that makes Jersey Shore look like The Joy of Painting, Brian Kelly and his staff have sent a clear message to the coaches of major college football programs: they're snatching your people up, so hide your kids, hide your recruits.
Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco has been the recruiter of the hour, virtually coming in the windows of star defenders Ishaq Williams and Stephon Tuitt. Diaco's reported early morning visit to secure a commitment from Williams, a star linebacker whom was just days away from enrolling at Penn State, is the stuff of which recruiting legend is made.
Diaco continued his stunning Kyra Sedgwick impersonation when he paid a visit this week to Tuitt, a star defensive lineman whom initially committed to Notre Dame and then suddenly changed his mind in favor of Georgia Tech.
Tuitt, who reportedly helped convince both Williams and fellow flip-flopping defensive end Aaron Lynch to join him at Notre Dame, evidently heard what he needed from Diaco to re-commit to the Irish and keep intact one of the most formidable defensive lines ever recruited to South Bend.
The tenacity of this recruiting effort and the never-say-die dedication of the staff to bring in the best recruits at much needed positions puts to rest any concerns about the abilities of Kelly and his staff to recruit at the highest levels.
This element of coaching was likely to be one of Kelly's biggest adjustments at Notre Dame, doing battle in teenagers' living rooms against some of the best salesmen in the country.
Things weren't always so promising in this recruiting cycle. The recruits that accepted offers earlier in the summer and fall didn't necessarily show the pedigree consistent with other elite programs around the country. The mid-season struggles certainly didn't help either, and at the time it cost Notre Dame three of its committed recruits, including Lynch, offensive lineman Jordan Prestwood and running back Justice Hayes.
The late season reversal certainly gave Kelly and his staff some credibility to claims about a Notre Dame program that had finally turned a corner. The Irish momentum, especially on defense, likely had more than a little to do with landing three of the top defensive high school players in the nation.
National signing day is still several days away, although Kelly and crew aren't likely to reel in many more big surprises as they are running up against the 85 scholarship limit. Of course, with all the un-de-re-committing, all of the Notre Dame coaches are going to be holding their breaths just trying to hold their classes together.
But even before this recruiting season closes, the next one has already begun. For those top-level recruit homeboys out there, Kelly and crew proved they are looking for you, and they're gonna fiiiiind you.