How does Notre Dame’s Move to the ACC Impact Football Recruiting?

Sept 22, 2012; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Sammy Watkins (2) can't catch a pass while defended by Florida State Seminoles linebacker Christian Jones (7) during the second half of the game against the Clemson Tigers at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE

Several experts have already weighed in on the impact of Notre Dame moving all of its Olympic sports to the ACC on football recruiting. The answers have ranged the entire spectrum from no impact to big impact.

In order to do make an educated call, I thought it a good idea to pull the Weis and Kelly recruiting classes (from Rivals). For reference, they can be found here.

More to come after the jump.

For visual purposes, here is the data and a map for the recruiting classes since 2005. I defined the ACC Footprint as Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts.

Charlie Weis:

Note: Hawaii was omitted for clarity on the map. Clearly, they aren't in the ACC...yet.

Recruiting Class

Tag Color

Total Number Signed

Total in ACC Footprint

Percentage in ACC

2005

Green

15

2

13%

2006

Blue

28

7

25%

2007

Yellow

18

6

33%

2008

Red

23

4

17%

2009

Purple

18

3

17%

Total

102

22

22%

Brian Kelly:

Note: Hawaii was omitted for clarity on the map. Clearly, they aren't in the ACC...yet.

Recruiting Class

Tag Color

Total Number Signed

Total in ACC Footprint

Percentage in ACC

2010

Green

23

7

30%

2011

Blue

23

6

26%

2012

Yellow

17

5

29%

2013

Red

20

6

30%

Total

83

24

29%

So what does it all mean?

Based on percentages alone, it is clear that Kelly has had more success both in overall number and percentage in recruiting the ACC footprint that Weis did. While it may not be fair to include the 2005 class in the stats for Weis, I think it is still applicable since the data shows that nearly two-thirds verbally committed after he was hired.

It also appears that the East Coast (along with the Midwest) has become the recruiting base under Brian Kelly. Weis spent a lot of time recruiting California with mixed results. The Kelly staff still recruits nationally, but with a different emphasis. Weis recruited the best high school players at a particular position to play the same spot in college. Kelly and his staff identify player types (skill/big skill/power) and are able to plug guys in at different positions when necessary.

By agreeing to play 5 games per season against ACC opponents in football, I think Notre Dame solidified their position with recruits in this geography while still being able to retain the national reach. In other words, they guarantee the exposure by playing coast-to-coast every single season.

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