We read so much about Notre Dame each day on Irish Eyes, but we don't often take a look at the opponents. Are they have success on the recruiting trail?
Our first stop is USC. For the Irish to ever have a chance to win it all, they'll most likely have to beat the Trojans. While USC still appears to have an edge in talent, that advantage seems to be lessoning each year. But don't get too confident just yet as the Trojans appear to be doing quite well on the recruiting trail, yet again.
Right now the Trojans have seven commitments including five-star wide receiver D.J. Shoemate and offensive tackle Matt Kahlil. Offensive line is a need for USC this year, and they also have a four-star commitment at offensive line also. The Trojans also have three more four-star commitments to go with a three-star commitment.
The Trojans usually finish strong and hold out for the very elite players until the end. I don't see that changing this year. And since I think they might have the most talented team in the country, I doubt this coming season will hurt their chances in landing many of the top players once again. We don't need to look back at previous classes as we all know how well they've done the past two seasons in recruiting.
Michigan is also another team the Irish compete against both on the field and in recruiting. 2007 was another impressive recruiting class for the Wolverines. They landed 2 five-star players, and 12 four-star players in a class of 20. 2006 was equally as impressive with 5 five-star and 5 four-star commits in another class of 20. Michigan is very consistent in regards to recruiting, and that's why they're a consistent winner on the field.
Right now the Wolverines have five total commitments. The Irish certainly liked five-star commitment Boubacar Sisco, who has committed to Michigan. Michigan needs offensive linemen as well this year and has three current offensive line commitments out of their total five. The only other player the Irish offered on the current Michigan commit list is Brandon Moore. Michigan continues to recruit well, so I'm certain they'll pull in another top 10-15 class as always.
New Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio will breathe some new life into the Spartan program. While I believe he's an excellent coach, he'll still need some quality players to beat the Irish.
2006 the Spartans signed 25 total players. They did sign one five-star player, who came from a junior college, but the other 24 players were ranked three-star or lower.
Last season Dantonio signed just one four-star player in a class of 22. He also signed 12 two-star players in last year's class.
So far Dantonio has just one commitment for the 2008 season. The player has yet to be ranked by Scout.com. Dantonio is used to doing more with less, but even the best coaches need good players to get to the top.
The Purdue Boilermakers currently sit at three commitments, two being from Indiana. None of Purdue's commitments are currently ranked by Scout.com, but I doubt any will be rated higher than a three-star player.
Joe Tiller also had a rough year recruiting last season signing 20 total players, but 13 out of those 20 were two-star players, and the other seven being three-star players.
2006 wasn't much better as Tiller signed 25 total. 16 were ranked two-star and only one was ranked four-star. 10 were from junior college.
The Pitt Panthers have been lighting up the recruiting trail in recent years and should be a force to reckon with when the Irish resume playing Pitt next season. Dave Wannstedt has done an excellent job of recruiting in his three years at Pitt, including signing 3 five-star players, 8 four-star players and 9 three-star players last season. I do believe a few of those rankings were inflated, and LeSean McCoy would have to qualify, but he has done an excellent job none the less.
2006 was equally as good with 25 players signed, 2 being five-star players, and 9 being four-star players. Again, I still believe some of these rankings are inflated.
So far the Panthers have three commitments this season, all three are ranked as three-star players. Pitt does appear to be doing another good job of recruiting this season, however, which would give the Panthers three solid classes in a row if Wannstedt can finish this recruiting season with another good class.
First-year Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh has done a pretty good job so far on the recruiting trail. The Cardinal did manage to sign 3 four-star players last season, although one was a kicker. Still, the majority of Harbaugh's first class are three-star or higher ranked players.
2006 wasn't that great. A total of 19 were signed. 2 four-star players, and 7 three-star players, the rest were two-star players.
Like any coach at Stanford, the real test will be to see if they can sign some quality defenders. According to Scout, Harbaugh signed only six defenders in a class of 19 last season. This recruiting season he has three current commitments, all ranked as three-star, all are listed as offensive players.
Notre Dame will face former Irish head coach Tyrone Willingham in 2008 and 2009. Last season the Huskies signed a large class of 27 players. 4 were ranked four-star, 14 were three-star, and 9 were two-star players. 2006 saw a class of 22 signed by Willingham (eight came from the junior college ranks). 5 were four-star players (two junior college players), the rest were three and two-star players.
Surprisingly, Willingham and his staff are off to a fairly quick start with six current commitments, one is a four-star player, another a three-star, the rest currently at one-star.
Navy is the only other school consistently on Notre Dame's schedule over the next three years, but we all know what Navy gets….tough kids who play hard regardless of rankings. Tomorrow we'll take a look around the rest of the country and see which teams are doing well in recruiting.
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