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Analyzing the 2015 Recruiting Classes for Notre Dame Football Opponents

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A brief summary of the Fighting Irish opponents this fall and how they finished recruiting.

USC signee Porter Gustin running during SPARQ testing at The Opening.
USC signee Porter Gustin running during SPARQ testing at The Opening.
Student Sports

Other programs can recruit too? Well, how 'bout that? The 2015 Notre Dame football schedule is a breath of fresh air, especially early in the season, with a bunch of different opponents.

The Irish will face Texas for the first time in almost two decades. Virginia has only played Notre Dame once back in 1989. The University of Massachusetts gets its first crack at the gold helmets this fall. Clemson hosts Notre Dame for the first time since a two-game series was played back in 1977/79. Heck, even Boston College is back on the schedule after a 2-year absence and Georgia Tech is back after a 7-year absence.

Don't try to remember that last game against Georgia Tech, though.

Anyway, here's how the 2015 Notre Dame opponents did on National Signing Day.

TEXAS

texas

No. Recruits: 29

Class Rank: 11

'14 Class Rank: 17

The old Mack Brown regime has been swept away as Texas actually signed players from outside the Lone Star State this year. Charlie Strong is bringing in a large class of 29 (including making 3-star quarterback Matthew Merrick take a grayshirt) that includes 9 non-Texans.

The Horns class is led by the much ballyhooed 5-star linebacker Malik Jefferson (.992) and they were able to sign all of their commits on NSD while flipping UCLA verbal WR Ryan Newsome (.908) and Oregon verbal S P.J. Locke (.862), as well.

While this wasn't on par with some of the top 5 Mack Brown classes from yesteryear it's a haul that is large, well balanced, and includes 3 JUCO players.

VIRGINIA

virginia

No. Recruits: 23

Class Rank: 48

'14 Class Rank: 32

The original Doing Good Things™ head coach Mike London's first three full recruiting classes all landed inside the Top 30 nationally, with a 23rd place finish in 2011 the high water mark. However, the last two classes have seen a downward trend culminating in a barely top 50 finish for 2015.

The Cavaliers aren't hurting for numbers in recruiting but linebacker Jahvoni Simmons (.931) is the only 4-star of the class. This isn't the type of class that is going to keep Mike London around if he puts another 5-win season on the table next year.

GEORGIA TECH

georgia tech

No. Recruits: 27

Class Rank: 43

'14 Class Rank: 55

The Yellow Jackets bring in a large class that is light on offensive linemen (2) and heavy on defensive front prospects (8). As one would expect with Tech's offensive scheme, they also brought in 5 running backs plus three listed athletes who could carry the ball.

Mainly due to the large number of recruits this is Georgia Tech's highest rated class of the Composite era. Their top rated recruit is wide receiver Christian Philpott (.869) out of Tallahassee, Florida.

UMASS

umass

No. Recruits: 21

Class Rank: 103

'14 Class Rank: 115

This might be the worst team Notre Dame has faced since SMU came limping to South Bend in 1989 fresh off the death penalty as 55-point underdogs against the Irish. Okay, maybe not that bad.

This Minutemen class does contain 7 prospects with 3-star status after they brought in just 4 last cycle. Head coach Mark Whipple was able to improve recruiting a little bit in his first full opportunity and went outside the northeast corridor to find talent, especially with 6 players coming from Florida.

UMass landed their top recruit, receiver prospect Sam Franklin (.847) on Signing Day, which gave them a nice jump in the national rankings.

CLEMSON

clemson

No. Recruits: 25

Class Rank: 8

'14 Class Rank: 18

Clemson's place as the top ACC recruiting program behind Florida State is more secure than ever with a top 10 class and Dabo Swinney's fourth straight Top 20 haul.

What's interesting about this Tiger class are the absurd 13 players already on campus and enrolled early. One of those players is 5-star offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt (.989). Clemson also hauled in a couple more 5-star recruits in receiver Deon Cain (.990) and defensive tackle Christian Wilkins (.988) in addition to 5 more players who were mid-to-high 4-star recruits.

NAVY

navy

No. Recruits: 27

Class Rank: 110

'14 Class Rank: 131

Navy moves up the rankings after bringing in 12 more recruits than in 2014. For whatever reason, the Middies hit Tennessee hard this cycle bringing in 8 prospects from the volunteer state.

Navy's class features 7 players already weighing at least 270 pounds. That's a lot of fitness test waivers.

USC

usc

No. Recruits: 26

Class Rank: 2

'14 Class Rank: 10

So let's recap. Southern Cal was under scholarship reductions from 2012-14, brought in 48 players over that time frame, and was still able to finish inside the Top 12 nationally in each ranking. Now, USC is back at full capacity and became the first team not named Alabama to lead Rivals team rankings since 2010 when the Trojans also led the country.

USC's 2015 class was punctuated by several key additions on National Signing Day including corner Iman Marshall (.998), defensive tackle Rasheem Green (.989), linebacker Porter Gustin (.981), linebacker John Houston (.975), defensive tackle Kevin Scott (.849), and JUCO receiver De'Quan Hampton (.904).

In total, the Trojans are bringing in 12 players with a Composite score of .950 or higher.

TEMPLE

temple

No. Recruits: 23

Class Rank: 76

'14 Class Rank: 70

The Owls are back in our lives for the second time in three years and they definitely qualify for "hey, they recruit a lot better than I thought" status. For example, Temple out-ranked our former coaches now at Miami (Ohio) and UConn in addition to other programs such as Fresno State, Northern Illinois, and Eastern Carolina.

Temple's class features 12 players with 3-star status led by running back T.J. Simmons (.874) who held a Notre Dame offer.

PITTSBURGH

pitt

No. Recruits: 14

Class Rank: 62

'14 Class Rank: 43

The transition class for new head coach Pat Narduzzi did not go well. The Panthers were the victim to a couple Signing Day flips, brought in only 14 players total, and now have their lowest rated class since 2011.

Pitt did land the top player in Pennsylvania, corner Jordan Whitehead (.949), but there is only one other 4-star in this class. What's more, the Panthers were only able to bring in 2 offensive linemen and 1 defensive lineman. Narduzzi will have his work cut out to get a class back into the 30's in the national rankings.

WAKE FOREST

wake forest

No. Recruits: 24

Class Rank: 53

'14 Class Rank: 65

Wake Forest didn't land any 4-stars but a glut of 3-stars gives them a solid ranking sandwiched in between Northwestern and Kansas State.

Two of the Deacs highest rated freshmen are both quarterbacks. Kendall Hinton (.852) is already on campus and Kyle Kearns (.867) comes all the way across the country from California. We'll probably hear about one of these two signal callers in the coming years.

BOSTON COLLEGE

boston college

No. Recruits: 25

Class Rank: 60

'14 Class Rank: 52

The Eagles came in third to last in the ACC with Pitt and Syracuse just a few spots below them in the national rankings. As you would expect, BC's class has a distinct northeast flavor with 15 of their prospect coming from New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York.

There are no four stars among the class, although the class is jam packed with middle-of-the-road 3-star recruits. A total of 15 players have a Composite score between 0.830 and .860. The Eagles top recruit is Fairfield Prep offensive tackle Anthony Palazzolo (.859).

STANFORD

stanford

No. Recruits: 22

Class Rank: 24

'14 Class Rank: 13

Stanford's class took a little bit of a down turn for 2015. Last season the Cardinal brought in 5 players with high 4-star status and above but their only recruit at that level this time around is receiver Trent Irwin (.962).

The vast majority of Stanford's class weren't on Notre Dame's radar although the defensive backfield trio of Frank Buncom (.942), Ben Edwards (.889), and Justin Reid (.885) were all players the Irish liked a lot. Those players constituted three of Stanford's top 7 recruits for 2015.