Notre Dame and Alabama Assembling Elite Recruiting Classes

By Patrick Schmidt


Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame and Alabama have had the best seasons in college football season and that success during the regular season has paid dividends in the recruiting circles as the two schools playing in the Discover BCS National Championship Game rank first and third, respectively, in the recruiting class rankings according to ESPN.

This is nothing new for the Crimson Tide who has grown accustomed to a top-five recruiting class ever since Nick Saban came to Tuscaloosa, but this is new ground for Notre Dame who is experiencing a renaissance under head coach Brian Kelly.

The Fighting Irish currently have 23 commitments led by outside linebacker Jaylon Smith, super athlete Max Redfield, and the nation’s number two running back prospect Greg Bryant. The Irish could see their class bolstered with the addition of Eddie Vanderdoes, the No. four ranked defensive tackle, who recently decommitted from USC. Vanderdoes is also being recruited by Alabama and the winner of Monday night’s game could be in the driver’s seat for the defensive tackle.

Alabama currently has 21 commitments with nine ranking inside the ESPN150 and the top two being 243-pound running back Derrick Henry who set a number of prep rushing records and the nation’s No. 2 wide receiver recruit, Robert Foster who will look real nice lining up on the opposite of last year’s No. 2 receiver prospect Amari Cooper.

AJ McCarron already said he will be coming back for his senior season and that will give the team the option to redshirt incoming freshman quarterback Cooper Bateman, the nation’s No. 6 pocket passer, who could be the quarterback of the future.

Offense has been the focal point of the 2013 recruiting class, but Nick Saban couldn’t let some of the top prep defenders slip through his grasp and he has commitments from two of the top five defensive ends in the nation with DeMarcus Walker and Jonathan Allen looking to bookend the next great Alabama defensive line.

The championship game will be a perfect showcase for the undecided recruits or commits that may be looking to flip their commit and switch schools and the biggest name that may flip is current Auburn recruit, Dee Liner, who could leave the Tide’s in-state rival. Other recruits to monitor include No. 1 offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, No. 1 defensive tackle Montravious Adams, and No. 2 safety Antonio Conner–each could be future commits to the Crimson Tide.

AS the college football season comes to an end Monday night and one team is hoisting the crystal ball trophy and players leave the program for the next level, prep athletes will be watching earnestly and wondering if there is a place for them at Notre Dame and Alabama.

Saban and Kelly are doing it right on the field and on the recruiting trail and the winner Monday night is likely to be crowned with the No. 1 recruiting class as well and implement those players to get back to the Championship Game in the coming years.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is the host of “The Wake-up Call,” on airing Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.

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