Recruits thrilled by Kelly extension

Brian Kelly’s contract extension resonated around Notre Dame on Friday, but its impact may have been felt most by the recruiting class about to sign. Several commits revealed their excitement to Irish Illustrated.

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher once said that time, honesty and relationships were the most important indications of success in college football recruiting.

You can throw coaching stability into that mix too.

Notre Dame’s announcement on Friday that head coach Brian Kelly had agreed to terms on a contract extension through the 2021 season comes with less than a week before National Signing Day. His last contract took him through the 2017 season.

Notre Dame’s next recruiting haul got the news thorough its group text message.

Linebacker commitment Jamir Jones, younger brother of Irish defensive lineman Jarron Jones, broke the news to his future teammates. He was hosting Kelly for an in-home visit on Friday as the University announced the extension.

“Jamir started it,” said safety commitment Jalen Elliott. “I’m pumped. I’m excited I could have him around my whole career.”

Speculation about Kelly departing for the NFL never had much momentum this off-season, but it was a storyline during prep for the Fiesta Bowl. First, the Philadelphia Eagles fired Chip Kelly from a job Brian Kelly interviewed for three years ago. Then the New York Giants parted ways with Tom Coughlin, opening a post many speculated would suit the Notre Dame head coach.

For what it was worth, cornerback commitment Julian Love didn’t buy any of it.

“I’m very excited!” Love said. “I always knew that coach Kelly wouldn’t leave; it was just hard to explain to other people that he wouldn’t. Now it’s official, and I’m excited to be spending my entire college career with the man that recruited me. This is huge.”

Other Irish commitments chimed in with their reactions:

“Feels good to know he loves Notre Dame and wants to stay like that!” – quarterback Ian Book

“I’m so pumped…” – offensive lineman Parker Boudreaux

“Just happy knowing that he’s gonna be my coach for my whole college career, and it’s nice because I’ll never be hesitant to build a strong relationship.” – wide receiver Chase Claypool

“I’m just excited to know that I will have my coach all throughout my career.” - offensive lineman Tommy Kraemer

“I’m very happy to see that coach Kelly got a contract extension!!” – safety D.J. Morgan

“I love it!! Stability is always good.” – cornerback Troy Pride Jr.

The extension was welcome news for the parents of Notre Dame’s commitments too, including the mothers of Troy Pride Jr. and Javon McKinley, plus the father of Tony Jones Jr.

“I couldn’t be happier to know that coach Kelly will definitely remain at Notre Dame for my son’s future there. National Championship, here we come.” - Angie Pride

“That is awesome news! The one thing recruits always worry about is if the coaches will be around, so the fact that he is willing to stay speaks volumes.” – Estrilla McKinley

“It is music to my ears to know that coach Kelly and his staff will be in place for our entire stay at the University of Notre Dame.” – Tony Jones Sr.

As Notre Dame’s staff puts a bow on the 2016 class and turns its attention to 2017, news of Kelly’s extension will be utilized as a recruiting tool in the months to come.   

An SEC assistant spoke to Irish Illustrated on why the six-year extension is positive for Notre Dame on the recruiting trail.

“It gives recruits a peace of mind … the guy who is recruiting you, who you and your family build a relationship with, will be there until you graduate. That's a big peace of mind for parents and recruits both. An extension for (Kelly) speaks about his commitment to the university, and players see that.”

Kelly began his tenure as Notre Dame head coach in December of 2009. The Irish have since posted a 55-23 record. Kelly ranks seventh among active NCAA FBS coaches in career winning percentage (.737).

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