There are many ways to evaluate matchups, and one of those ways is to look at things from a recruiting standpoint. Notre Dame takes on Cincinnati this weekend, and while the Fighting Irish are an underdog according to the bettors, Notre Dame holds a significant advantage from a recruiting standpoint.
Here are the 247Sports composite rankings for the starters and top rotation players for the Notre Dame offense and the Cincinnati defense.
Notre Dame has one five-star recruit and eight four-star recruits in its starting lineup and five more four-star skill players coming off the bench. That number jumps to six if you count Drew Pyne, who ranked as a four-star recruit and the No. 225 overall player in the country.
Cincinnati doesn't have a single four or five-star recruit in its starting lineup on defense, although it does have a pair of four-star defensive recruits coming off the bench in the front seven. This matchup isn't even close from a recruiting standpoint.
Of course, this also shows that at the end of the day star ratings and rankings don't matter, it's about talent and development. Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad Gardner and defensive end Myjai Sanders were both three-star recruits that ranked as the No. 1672 and No. 1043 players in the country, but both are considered first round NFL Draft prospects in the 2022 class.
Now let's look at the Notre Dame defense and the Bearcat offense, where the same story holds.
Notre Dame has six four-star recruits in its starting lineup on defense, two more as regular front seven rotations, although that number jumps to four if you include Jacob Lacey and NaNa Osafo-Mensah, who ranked as the No. 172 and No. 298 overall players in the country in the 2019 class.
Cincinnati has just one four-star recruit in its starting lineup, and he was a transfer. Running back Jerome Ford, an Alabama transfer, ranked as the nation's No. 370 player in the country. It does have a pair of four-star skill players coming off the bench, wideout Jadon Thompson and tight end Leonard Taylor.
Here are the class rankings of the two programs from the last five seasons. (247Sports composite)
2021 - 9
2020 - 18
2019 - 15
2018 - 10
2017 - 10
2021 - 45
2020 - 41
2019 - 66
2018 - 49
2017 - 63
Advantage: Notre Dame
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