A few notes on the Irish’s 2019 class and the national recruiting landscape. Data is per 247Sports (despite the fact that they haven’t actually added Kyle Hamilton’s fifth star yet).
Getting a solid haul of high 4★ offensive lineman is almost a given for the Irish at this point, and 2019 stayed on trend with four such additions — Jeff Quinn will have plenty of talented bodies waiting in the wings next year. Hopefully he won’t need to get much use out of them.
The real news is the unprecedented DL class, rounded off by yesterday’s commitment from Isaiah Foskey. Grabbing five 4★ defensive lineman is a big deal, with Foskey and top 200 recruit Jacob Lacey the standouts. As the Irish proved last year, the ability to get to the quarterback when only bringing four rushers does wonders for a defense, and this group of guys should do just that for years to come. Also one of them is named Hunter Spears, which rules. Hunter Spears. If Red Dead Redemption didn’t make you play as a guy named Arthur, I’d be playing as a guy named Hunter Spears.
ND finishes this year in the 14-15 range nationally, a tick below where they’ve landed the past couple years. Obviously, the need for top-tier talent can’t be understated, and the coaching staff needs to capitalize on back-to-back 10 win seasons, the playoff appearance, and a generally healthy program with an excellent 2020 group.
We do, though, need to keep a critical eye on how these rankings are calculated. Let’s cherry pick Clemson as a comparison.
Somewhat counter-intuitively, Clemson ended up five spots higher in the overall rankings. Without getting too deep in the weeds on individual player rankings, the argument can definitely be made that ND signed a potentially higher-impact class. The Tigers’ aggregate recruiting “points” are boosted by a whole lot of bodies on the low-end, making up for previous classes that were smaller but filled with high-end talent. So, as we noted not too long ago, the Irish are more or less neck and neck with Clemson in this arena.
Let’s take a quick second to laugh at our friends over at the recruiting juggernaut that is Southern Cal. The Trojans fell all the way to the 18-20 range nationally, a precipitous fall in the face of a losing record and truly embarrassing amounts of coaching drama. Per Reign of Troy, 2019 marks the first time this century that they failed to land a composite 5★, and they may be on the verge of losing another 4★ still listed among their signees. Their offensive line is about to be paper mache. The fact that they need to plug “TRENDING: Top 25 three-star recruits in USC history” in the linked article above is absolutely delicious. Sucks to suck!
Where did the Irish miss? We’re hopeful that Kyren Williams will be a future starter at running back, but there’s no question that offensive skill positions are very much an area of concern. Zeroing in on some impact players at RB and WR is paramount for 2020. You will also notice zero tight ends this year, but early commitments from two of the top three players at that position should about cover it. Obviously these classes don’t exist in a vacuum, so look for the results at RB/WR to be dramatically different next year.