Some would argue that the 2020 and 2021 classes will be the most important classes of the Brian Kelly era when it comes to the offensive side of the ball. Notre Dame is right on the edge of being a top-tier program. As they’re 1 of 6 teams to win ten games in each of the past three seasons. This class will be the first-class where Brian Kelly was able to clean up misses in recruiting in the past, which it looks like he has been trying to find the elite offensive talent for years and has missed time and time again. Did Kelly finally find it? It seems that he has unless something drastic takes place.
What We Have In Store
Notre Dame hasn’t done anything in recruiting like they have coming in the next two years. I fully understand that recruiting isn’t full-proof, and sometimes the recruiting evaluators have missed, but if you look at the top programs and look where their recruiting rankings were/are, then you’ll find a common theme.
In the 2020 and 2021 classes, Brian Kelly has 7 offensive skill players ranked inside the top 104 spots in their respective class via 247sports composite rankings. In the ten classes prior, Kelly was only able to land 12 total top 104 ranked players. If you break it down to the top 60 players in both the 2020 and 2021 classes, then the Fighting Irish have five incoming players in that category (Chris Tyree, Jordan Johnson, Michael Mayer, Deion Colzie, and Tyler Buchner.)
Brian Kelly and the Notre Dame staff have only been able to get commitments from 4 players in the previous ten classes that were ranked as top 60 players. Ben Koyack, Gunner Kiel, Greg Bryant, and Brandon Wimbush were those top 60 recruits, which means the 2020 class will have the highest-rated running back and wide receiver of the Brian Kelly era. With a lack of skill players, Brian Kelly has still been able to produce five double-digit win seasons, one national championship berth and one playoff berth. I know Brian Kelly gets railed a lot for his coaching, but that is honestly a remarkable feat knowing he’s never had an abundance of offensive skill players on the team at the same time.
Even comparing the other skill players in this class to current players on the team, Xavier Watts is rated as the 250th player in the country according to 247sports Chase Claypool was rated the 280th player in the country coming out of high school by 247sports. It’s obvious that Chase Claypool overachieved, but that also means the Notre Dame staff developed him.
Bright Future Ahead
The staff did an outstanding job with the top end of the 2020 class and the middle of the class, this class isn’t just top-heavy. I’m not saying that Notre Dame is going to win a National Championship, but it is apparent that the Irish are about to be as talented as they’ve ever been. Maybe by a long shot.
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