As National Signing Day has officially passed, several outlets have ranked the 2020 recruiting class a bit lower than what we have seen from Brian Kelly over the past ten seasons.
But in a class that values quality over quantity, let’s look at why Brian Kelly’s worst ranked recruiting class may end up being one of his best.
Quality Over Quantity
Three media outlets have been regarded as the three organizations that the college football world looks to for ranking incoming recruiting classes.
Rivals.com had the Irish as at 21st OVR with an average of 3.59 stars per recruit -at 3.59 stars per recruit, this actually boosts Notre Dame’s class of 17 players from 21st to 12th.
For reference, Notre Dame’s 17 commitments is actually the 9th fewest in the entire FBS in 2020.
Furthermore, when you compare teams with 17 recruits the Irish lead the pack by a country mile. Notre Dame racked up 1977 points next closest class is Stanford (1852 Points) and Northwestern (1268 Points)
Ironic that the two schools behind Notre Dame are also teams that have strict academic admission standards that have to be met first.
In fact, as of 2018, Northwestern & Notre Dame are the two best programs when it comes to GSR (Graduation Success Rate) and Academic Progress Rate (APR) in the NCAA. Stanford finished ninth on this list.
247 Sports.com lists the Irish at 17th overall, an improvement from their previous 19th overall ranking.
They differentiate with a composite score average which seems to be on a scale of 0-100.
Even with the 17th ranked class, the Irish have an average of 90.75 which when weighted up against the other top programs, puts them firmly in the top 10 as far as recruiting class by average.
ESPN.com differentiates from the two main recruiting databases as they seem to be adding in transfers into the classes. When factoring this in, the Irish sit at the 14th ranked recruiting class. An interesting way to look at it but it makes sense if you are trying to measure incoming talent.
Between 247 & Rivals, the Irish recruits underwent some major ranking changes – despite each individual impressing throughout the various invitation only talent showcases.
Notre Dame saw the biggest drops from Chris Tyree who was on the fringe of five stars drop from 40th overall to 78 on signing day via Rivals.
Jordan Johnson was stripped of his fifth star on 247 Sports, but Michael Mayer jumped up to take his place. Mayer received a 6.0 rating on Rivals, just a hair below Johnson at 6.1.
Keep in mind too that the Irish added a long snapper in Alex Peitsch which tends to weigh down the class over all. 247 gave him a favorable three star rating whereas Rivals stayed true to the two star specialist rating.
It’s noteworthy that Notre Dame had to cut ties with recruit Landen Bartleson that had signed his National Letter of Intent. In January he was arrested in connection to a gun store burglary. His departure also hurt the overall total.
I have reached out to the Danville Police Department who arrested him, and they have yet to comment any further.
The Bottom Line
I just have a good feeling about this class, that they’re going to add an element that they have lacked in the past, verifiable speed, as Coach Kelly has said. While the class may go down as one of the lowest ranked in Kelly’s tenure, they are still by the averages a top ten class.
Many forget the class of 2012 had 17 commits and while the top three prospects of that class turned out to be busts, it included Sheldon Day, Ronnie Stanley, C.J. Prosise, Romeo Okwara and KeiVarae Russell are all playing in the NFL. This class seems to have the kind of feel.
On a positive note for those who only rely on the overall ranking, the Irish currently hold a top three recruiting class for next year and it is shaping up to be the best class in the Kelly era.