Notre Dame is likely done with recruiting for the 2022 class and it has turned its attention almost exclusively to the 2023 and 2024 classes. With the 2023 class becoming the new center of attention it's time to look at what the team's needs are for the class.
Based on current roster projects the Fighting Irish should be able to get to around 25 scholarship for the class. Those are good numbers when you consider the strong start Notre Dame is off to in the class. With so much room the staff can continue pushing hard at every position and isn't close to being in position to have to squeeze positions.
Let's start with the offense. This is a big offseason for offensive coordinator Tommy Rees. He has to prove he can lead a group of coaches to landing an elite class, and for him specifically he needs to show he can consistently land top quarterbacks, something he hasn't done yet.
Here's a look at the needs for the class.
Notre Dame's need at quarterback isn't about meeting a numbers need, it's more about impact. Rees absolutely must land a top quarterback in this class, one that can be the type of player you build your program around. There is really only one player on the board that fits that mold in my opinion, and that is Dante Moore. I'm not sure the Irish staff agrees that he is the only game changer on the board, or that they are willing to see his recruitment to the end in hopes of landing him, but I'll have more on that later.
Commit: Sedrick Irvin Jr.
Based on the current projections of the 2023 roster the Irish only "need" one running back, but a second back isn't off the table even if everyone returns. If Notre Dame loses a back from the roster between now and the 2023 season, either an NFL departure or a transfer, two back in the class becomes the need.
Landing Sedrick Irvin Jr. is a quality start for Notre Dame. Irvin gives the staff a good foundation to build on, and now it can focus on adding a top back to go with him.
First-year coach Chansi Stuckey walks into a tough situation. He needs to add numbers and impact talent in his first class, and it won't be easy. Notre Dame needs at least three receivers in the class, it needs to add at least two impact players and it must add some skill diversity to the class.
There are plenty of players on the board, with guys like Carnell Tate, Jalen Brown, Rodney Gallagher, Braylon James and Malik Elzy being top early names. More players will be added and while the focus is on the players we know, at the end of the day what matters is that Notre Dame meets its numbers, impact and skillset diversity needs.
This is a HUGE year for Notre Dame when it comes to wide receiver recruiting. Stuckey needs to make an immediate impact and Rees needs to show he can be part of closing on elite players as well.
Commit: Cooper Flanagan
Barring unforeseen departures from the current roster there really isn't a "need" for a second tight end in the class. Landing Cooper Flanagan early gave the Irish a quality player at the position in the class. Flanagan is a Top 200 type of player and has the potential to climb up the rankings even more. He's a bit of a different type of player than what Notre Dame signed in the 2022 class, which means he complements those players, which is the ideal way to build a depth chart.
Notre Dame will likely continue keeping in touch with other tight ends they like in case the roster sees unexpected attrition and a second tight end is needed. For now, however, I think Notre Dame is good to go with Flanagan.
Notre Dame landed five offensive linemen in each of the last two classes, so it has overcome the numbers issues it had after signing just two in the 2020 class. The impact talent of the 2021 class and the outstanding depth of the 2022 class puts Notre Dame in situation to focus on top-level talent in the 2023 class.
Notre Dame needs to focus on tackles in the class, but a swing player that could move inside also fits the class.
With Harry Hiestand now officially on board and on the road I think we'll see Notre Dame start to zero in on some top players. That is how Hiestand recruited in the past. We might see the board expand a bit early on if he identifies players he likes, but it will shrink relatively quickly again once he decides who are the must-get players in the class.
Hiestand thrived at landing those players when he was the line coach from 2017-18, and he thrived at landing outstanding 3-4 man classes, which is what he needs here.
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