No More Excuses Are Left For The Notre Dame Offense

There are no more excuses for the Notre Dame offense moving forward, at least based on recruiting success
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Notre Dame has had a relatively mediocre offense for much of the Brian Kelly era. Notre Dame has never averaged 40 points per game, and it scored more than 34.2 points per game just once in the last 11 seasons, and following that season (2019) the offensive coordinator who led that offense was fired.

In the last three seasons (2018-20), Notre Dame has played 11 games against Power 5 opponents that finished the season ranked in the Top 25. In those 11 games the Fighting Irish offense averaged just 18.7 points per game in regulation. In five games against opponents that finished ranked in the Top 10 the offense averaged just 14.0 points per game in regulation, and just 16.8 points if you count Notre Dame two scores in overtime against Clemson.

Very unimpressive numbers, and that is the primary reason Notre Dame has gone just 3-4 in the last two seasons against opponents that finished the season ranked, and just 2-4 against Power 5 opponents that finished the season ranked. 

There have been plenty of excuses for why Notre Dame has failed to move into the modern era on offense, which is about offenses that can score a lot of points, and that can score on anyone. 

One excuse that has come up in the last year has been a lack of skill talent. It's a puzzling accusation, and one that largely began based on comments from the head coach at Notre Dame. I'll put that aside for a second and for argument's sake I'll even accept that premise.

Based on recruiting efforts the last two seasons that excuse can no longer be used in future seasons. Notre Dame's recruiting efforts on offense the last two seasons stack up with anyone in the country. 

Just look at the numbers.

Rankings are based on the 247Sports composite rankings

Rankings are based on the 247Sports composite rankings

Note: The QB, RB, WR, TE and OL numbers are Top 250 recruits.

Notre Dame has signed just two fewer Top 250 composite recruits on offense than Alabama and just one fewer than Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia. Those programs have signed more Top 100 recruits, so I'll grant there is some separation there, but how much should that difference make from a stats standpoint, and a scoring standpoint?

Notre Dame has signed more Top 250 recruits and more Top 100 recruits than Oklahoma - including more Top 250 players at QB, RB, WR and TE - and is there any doubt the Sooners will score well over 40 points per game over the next few seasons?

The Irish haven't just loaded up on offensive linemen either, and its success on offense has been balanced.

Here's the list of schools who have signed at least one Top 100 quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end and offensive lineman in the last two recruiting cycles:

Notre Dame
Clemson
Georgia
LSU

That's it, that's the entire list.

Here's the list of schools to sign at least two Top 250 recruits at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end and offensive line:

Notre Dame
Oregon

Notre Dame's Top 100 signees at running back, wide receiver and tight end will all be second year players in 2021, so we aren't talking about building around a bunch of freshman either. 

Notre Dame's 2021 schedule has three opponents that ranked in the Top 40 in scoring defense last season: Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Toledo. So that's one Power 5 defense on the schedule that ranked in the Top 40 in scoring defense last season, and that team played just seven games.

There are simply no more excuses left for Notre Dame, it's time to make the final leap and start putting one of the nation's best offenses on the field.

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