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Recruiting Comparison: Notre Dame vs USC

A break down of how Notre Dame stacks up against USC from a recruiting standpoint

Notre Dame and USC are not only rivals on the football field, they are also rivals on the recruiting trail. The teams have battled fo top recruits for decades, and the current rosters are built with players that were recruited by both schools.

Comparing the Notre Dame recruiting classes in recent seasons to USC's is much more difficult than it has been when comparing the Irish to other opponents. The reason is USC has largely built its roster with transfers. Eleven of USC's 22 starters are transfers, and 10 of those players are in their first season with the Trojans.

It's different, but it's still an entertaining way to look at this matchup.

Notre Dame Offense vs USC Defense

Notre Dame Offense vs USC

Notre Dame's offense has more five stars (1) and more four stars (8) in its starting line than USC has (five). Three of USC's listed starters weren't even ranked coming out of high school, and starting defensive tackle Tyrone Telani didn't even play high school football.

The most intriguing matchup, at least from a recruiting standpoint, is along the lines. Both teams have four-star players on the perimeter, but USC doesn't have any four or five starters in its starting defensive line. Only rotation end Korey Foreman (five-star) earned that mark up front.

Four of Notre Dame's five starting blockers were four-star recruits, and the Irish had two blockers (Zeke Correll, Blake Fisher) ranked in the Top 100. Ironically, a case could be made that Notre Dame's best offensive lineman (Joe Alt) and USC's best defensive lineman (Tuli Tuipulotu) were both three-star recruits.

Every wide receiver that is expected to see action versus USC is a former four-star recruit, with one exception (Matt Salerno). 

Notre Dame Defense vs USC Offense

Notre Dame Defense vs USC

While the Notre Dame offense holds a significant advantage over the USC defense, at least from a recruiting standpoint, the matchup between the Irish defense and the Trojan offense is much, much closer thanks to the transfer portal.

Notre Dame has six former four-star recruits in the starting lineup, while USC has seven former four-star recruits and a five-star in quarterback Caleb Williams.

Up front there is a similar rankings history. All four of Notre Dame's defensive line starters and backup Gabriel Rubio were all former four-star recruits. USC has three former four-stars in its starting lineup of blockers.

The battle on the perimeter shows a much different recruiting look. Notre Dame only has one former four-star recruit in the staring lineup, and that is freshman corner Benjamin Morrison. USC has three former four-star recruits at wide receiver and two more coming off the bench.

There are two former five-star recruits in the startling lineups. For Notre Dame that is tight end Michael Mayer and for USC its quarterback Caleb Williams.


Here are the class rankings of the two programs from the last five seasons. (247Sports composite)


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2022 - 7
2021 - 9
2020 - 18
2019 - 15
2018 - 10


2022 - 70
2021 - 7
2020 - 63
2019 - 20
2018 - 4

Advantage: Notre Dame***

*** Notre Dame clearly has the advantage when only looking at the high school rankings. The Trojans had two good classes (2018, 2021) but the other three classes were not good. The *** is due to the fact USC has largely built its 2022 roster with the transfer portal. When looking at the rankings of the transfers this is a very, very close matchup.

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