This weekend, a multitude of recruits will be on Notre Dame's campus for the annual Irish Invasion camp. It is an opportunity to get great prospects to ND, evaluate the talent pools of upcoming high school classes, and show a wide range of high school athletes what Notre Dame and its college football program can offer. Notre Dame has a chance to add to its recruiting class (and so far, has received some good news as Kevin Stepherson and Jalen Elliott committed to Notre Dame on Friday), but there is also a chance to impress other recruits and establish relationships with athletes that so far had not really gotten a feel for Brian Kelly's program. On the flip side, Coach Kelly's staff also gets to check out a ton of recruits.
The concept of Irish Invasion weirdly fascinates me. I don't mean to date myself here, but I am not sure such a camp or event would have been possible "in my day," I say as all my joints crack simultaneously while I try to find episodes of Columbo on TV. I wonder how such a camp would have gone in the years of my youth, before Notre Dame a Chipotle within walking distance. In my day, you had to walk ten miles, uphill both ways, and wait behind Brady Quinn for hours to get your burrito. I don't mean it was impossible for Notre Dame in previous years. More so, the recruiting world in general has moved to such a proactive place recently. Such activity has also resulted in more fanfare.
From my perspective, my interest in recruiting was helped by the crest in recruiting information available and my own graduation. For all the new possibilities of graduate life, entering a new world breeds a hunger for escapism. Recruiting was a way to constantly fill the void between college football seasons. Thinking about it now, it was like how I followed my local sports teams more fervently when I went to college and was away from their TV broadcasts and sports radio arguments. Nostalgically, it is a way to connect with a past version of myself while paying attention to current happenings ("Nostalgia means 'old pain.'" - Ted Mosby, probably). As an idea, this is fine. However, in practice and execution, I sometimes find myself in unsavory places, paying too much attention to the whims and decisions of high schoolers. There is a balance where you can pay attention to college football recruiting while maintaining a semblance of normalcy.
I used to talk about college football recruiting and feel like the first verse of "You Can Call Me Al." However, more recently, I have started to consider the recruiting world in a more relaxed manner. I still listen to the voices of the talented CFB/ recruiting site writers who are more plugged into the world than I am, but I remind myself of the reality that high schoolers often change their minds. I have noted that for the winter, spring, and summer, recruiting stories are ephemera to the Actual College Football that I wholeheartedly enjoy. Irish Invasion will provide a ton of information for Notre Dame recruiting, but Irish Invasion is not for me; it is for the athletes attending.
ICYMI ON OFD
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"The Middle" was a hit for Jimmy Eat World in 2002. The middle could also be a very improved part of Notre Dame's linebacking corps next season.
Jamie looks back at the 2014 beginnings of Irish Invasion and how the camp has grown in its talent scope with the second edition. I was once told that you can only call an event annual after its third iteration, but the person who told me that was a quitter who didn't have any foresight or wherewithal.
I don't often double-link posts, but when I do, they are great.
IRISH LINKS OF NOTE
NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper has Jerian Grant joining Radagast, Saruman, and Gandalf. He also has Pat Connaughton joining the Spurs.
Blue & Gold Illustrated breaks down Irish Invasion alphabetically. The event is lacking recruits whose names start with 'Z.'
ISD talks to 2017 recruit AJ Dillon about Notre Dame and his grandfather's legacy.
GOLDEN TATE BACK TO ND?! Well, sort of, eventually maybe! I believe in Golden Tate achieving his goals based solely on his prowess at the NCAA Football video game. Whenever I saw him play someone, he would decimate them. It's probably based on a small sample size, as any male Notre Dame student probably played an ungodly amount of NCAA Football between 2005 and 2011. But yeah, Golden Tate would ruin people's afternoons in that game. This has been another edition of John Crossed Paths With Greatness, Once.
Other than McConaughey/ Mack Brown, what is your favorite unlikely college football friendship?