Notre Dame’s running back recruiting has been a bit schizophrenic over the last 15 years, but it seems the Irish are getting back on track. At least, with one more strong class the Irish will be back on track.
From 2006 to 2015, a span of ten recruiting cycles, Notre Dame signed seven Top 100 running backs and four more backs that ranked in the Top 250. That's a total of 11 backs that ranked in the Top 250, over ten cycles.
Only once during that stretch did Notre Dame fail to land a back that ranked in the Top 250, and that was during the transition year from Charlie Weis to Brian Kelly.
When Tony Alford was replaced by Autry Denson the recruiting at running back took a huge step back. From 2016 to 2019, Notre Dame failed to land a single Top 100 back, and just one Top 250 player.
For all of his struggles as a recruiter, and there were many, Denson did finish his tenure off by helping land Kyren Williams, which served as the start to Notre Dame getting its running back recruiting rolling again, although it might not have seemed like it at the time.
It has kicked up a notch since Lance Taylor arrived. Taylor and former offensive coordinator Chip Long were able to land Top 100 running back Chris Tyree (No. 70) during Taylor's first cycle.
With the help of Tommy Rees and Terry Joseph, Notre Dame was able to overcome a shaky running back recruiting strategy with the 2021 class to land Top 250 back Audric Estime and highly underrated running back Logan Diggs.
It's a strong back-to-back haul, but now it's time for Taylor and the offensive staff to turn this into a regular thing, and avoid going back to the way things were during the Denson tenure.
That means Taylor must employ a better strategy in the 2022 class, and he must do a better job grinding to make sure the Irish get a top back in the class. Not necessarily from a recruiting rankings standpoint, but more by landing a player with a high ceiling, and the higher the better.
Memphis (Tenn.) Christian Brothers standout Dallan Hayden and Shillington (Pa.) Governor Mifflin star Nicholas Singleton are two top backs on the board, but they are not alone. Several of the top backs are also being recruited by Alford and Ohio State, a program that has been a pain in the side for the Irish when it comes to running back recruiting.
It's about time for Taylor and the Irish staff to win one of those battles. Doing so would put Notre Dame back on solid ground as a program capable of recruiting the position at a very high level.
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