Since deep bonds weren't formed, it became easy for the class to fracture, and three de-commitments in the weeks leading up to signing day.
That shouldn't be the case with the 2013 class. The group already has a strong bond, and it will improve when many of the committed players, as well as a few uncommitted but offered players, travel to campus for a day of unofficial visits June 14.
And the relationships built are something coach Brian Kelly has already told many of the committed players.
"We were talking to coach Kelly, and he said we're the first group he's had in a long, long time that's already got that family mindset," Apollo High (Owensboro, Kent.) offensive lineman and Notre Dame commit Hunter Bivin said. "It's really important as offensive linemen to get to know each other and be friends and be able to predict each other's movements.
"It's definitely really cool, and I think it's going to pay off for us in the long run."
"We're already a pretty tight-knit group," Bivin said. "I talk to (receiver) James Onwualu and (quarterback) Malik (Zaire) and Colin and Steve and all those guys quite a bit. I probably talk to the offensive linemen the most. I talk to Mike McGlinchey and Colin and Steve probably once or twice a week, if not every other day."
Bivin is also chatting plenty with Irish offensive line coach Harry Heistand and offensive coordinator Chuck Martin.
"I talk to coach Heistand once or twice a week, and coach Martin probably once a week," Bivin said. "I talk to coach Kelly on Facebook. I talk to the coaches quite often."
Since committing in late March, Bivin's focus has been on working out and competing in track and field. He recently won the Kentucky 3A state title in the shot put with a throw of 55 feet, 3 3/4 inches.
"I've been lifting and working out to go along with it, but I've been pretty busy into track," Bivin said. "It's definitely been a big weigh off my shoulders since I committed. From two weeks until the day I committed I was getting about two or three phone calls a night just from scouting services. It's really dwindled down since I have committed."
Other schools have also left Bivin alone.
"I still get some mail here or there, and some Facebook messages," he said. "But for the most part I think they got the hint Notre Dame is for me and that's where I'm going to be going."