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NCAA Football Notre Dame Fighting Irish

A Strong Finish In Recruiting Could Give Notre Dame No. 1 Class

 

Brian Kelly Notre Dame

Matt Cashore-USA Today Sports

Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly hopes this year’s recruiting efforts end with the same kind of flurry his last two classes have.

In 2011, Kelly and his Fighting Irish staff worked hard in the final days to secure signatures from prep standouts Aaron Lynch, Ishaq Williams and Stephon Tuitt.

A year ago, Kelly secured pledges from one of the nation’s best quarterbacks in Gunner Kiel, who was thought to be LSU bound, along with Sheldon Day, a four-star prospect and KeiVarae Russell, another four-star player, who started in the Irish secondary as a true freshman.

Now as the countdown is on for national signing day, which is Wednesday, Notre Dame is on the verge of inking quite a recruiting class. It could end up being regarded as the nation’s No. 1 recruiting haul.

Right now Notre Dame is entrenched in a dogfight with Florida, Alabama and Ohio State for the No. 1 ranked class.

To have a shot at the top spot, the Irish will have to make sure five-star prospects Greg Bryant, a running back, Max Redfield, a defensive back and Jaylon Smith, a linebacker, all sign.

Bryant, Redfield and Smith are considered the gems of the class.

Kelly has also received verbal commitments from nine four-star prospects, while another five four-star players have already signed since they’re enrolled at Notre Dame for the spring semester.

Holding onto the commitments will be challenging in the few days left in recruiting as it’s a safe bet other schools will try and poach Notre Dame’s verbals.

As much of a tradition as national signing day has become, so too has the art, if you will, of schools stealing commits from others in the final hours of the recruiting process.

Don’t think Notre Dame isn’t guilty of the practice because it is.

On Sunday the Irish landed Texas tight end Durham Smythe. He was all set to play for the Longhorns, but had a change of heart in December.

Smythe is one of 23 members of Notre Dame’s current class.

As we head into the final hours of recruiting, keep an eye on UCLA commit Deon Hollins, who could change his mind, and defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes, another five-star stud who formerly was committed to USC, who will decide between Notre Dame, Alabama and the Trojans.

Per usual don’t be surprised if a player or two is lured away and at the same time expect a name or two to be added to the class before all is said and done. After all, this is college football recruiting and if we’ve learned one thing by now, it’s to expect the unexpected.

Doug Griffiths is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association. Doug is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ISLgriffiths and Facebook.