Brian Kelly and Notre Dame are at it again.
The Irish picked up 17 recruits in 2012, including several 5-star players, making them one of the top recruiting programs this year. It's not even April yet, and the Irish have already landed seven players for the 2013 class. Many of those recruits committed over the weekend, but none is as big as the pickup of 4-star quarterback Malik Zaire.
“A degree from Notre Dame is a great insurance policy for later in life,” said Zaire. “It really hit me that my decision was not a four-year decision but a forty-year decision.
“I think that is what definitely got to me as you can have a degree from Notre Dame and it is something special.”
Zaire is a dual-threat quarterback who will be adding his talents to an already loaded position with the likes of Tommy Rees, Gunner Kiel, Andrew Hendrix and Everett Golson already on the roster.
But this isn't about the talent that Kelly is able to bring in, because Notre Dame has always recruited well. It's about where he's getting these players that sticks out the most and shows that he's one of the better recruiters out there.
Zaire is from Kettering, Ohio and had an offer on the table from Ohio State but instead decided to go with Notre Dame and compete among four other quarterbacks. Not to mention, his dual-threat ability would have fitted perfectly in Urban Meyer's spread offense.
“They run a lot of similar things on offense as we run and the terminology is about the same,” Zaire said. “I also loved the drills Coach Kelly has the quarterbacks doing and how intense he is as I know he’ll really get after you. I think that is something that will push me to get better and be motivated to compete even harder.”
Other players to commit this season include tight end Jacob Matuska from Columbus, Ohio and 4-star offensive tackle Steven Elmer from Midland, Mich. Both had offers from Michigan, while Elmer also had offers from Wisconsin, Stanford and Michigan State, among others.
Nearly all of the commitments so far have come from the Midwest, and landing these players that have offers from other prestigious programs says something about head coach Brian Kelly. It also says a lot that they're recruiting so early when signing day is still nearly a year away.
The past year or so Kelly has been accused of a lot of things as Notre Dame hasn't lived up to expectations the last two seasons under him (16-10 combined record). But bringing in the talent has never been a problem for him and is something you can't deny.