What was most impressive about Notre Dame’s 2013 recruiting class was how Brian Kelly and his staff were able to get all their verbal commitments to sign and how they finished the recruiting process.
The Fighting Irish had 23 verbals late last month and unlike many schools that saw their verbals go elsewhere, Notre Dame kept all its commits who ended up signing national letters of intent as expected. They even got a pleasant surprise later in the day when heralded defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes inked to come to Kelly’s program.
Perhaps Notre Dame gave us a hint earlier on signing day of Vanderdoes’ intentions when it handed out a press release announcing the class just prior to Kelly addressing the media. It included Vanderdoes. Oops. Notre Dame said the error was an accident, but what likely happened was it knew Vanderdoes’ intention and just didn’t want to steal the limelight from his press conference later in the day when he would officially announce his school of choice.
Regardless, Vanderdoes’ addition might have elevated a very good class to a great one.
He’s a 6-foot-3, 285-pound beast who is listed among everyone’s top 50 players in America (all positions), including sixth on 247Sports list of the top 247 players and 21st in Rivals.com’s list.
Look for Vanderdoes to be in Kelly’s defensive line rotation as a true freshman. Strength wise he’s certainly ready to contribute right away as he bench presses 405 pounds and squats 500.
Kelly knows with Vanderdoes joining the likes of other five-star signees linebacker Jaylon Smith, safety Max Redfield and running back Greg Bryant that he has a recruiting class that’s the envy of nearly everyone in college football.
The class is a consensus top five class nationally and arguably second only to two-time defending national champion Alabama’s.
You won’t see Kelly disagreeing with the so-called recruiting experts’ when it comes to where the Fighting Irish class ranks either. In fact, he joked on signing day how he loves agreeing with the pundits.
“It’s a recruiting class that when you’re looking at it from my perspective, it meets the time and place as to where we are right now,” Kelly said. “We’re a team that has gone from unranked to top 10 ranking, top five ranking, at times we’re the No. 1 team in the country, and I think your class begins to reflect that as you move forward.”
Don’t think for a second that Notre Dame’s success on the field where it was ranked No. 1 for the first time in nearly 19 years didn’t greatly help its recruiting efforts. It did. And if Kelly’s Fighting Irish continue their winning ways and all indications are they will, top-five recruiting classes will be the norm again in South Bend.
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.