After the first padded practice that was open to the media yesterday, Brian Kelly was asked about the upcoming series on Showtime that is being filmed right now that has Notre Dame fans equally excited to watch and worried that it will be a distraction.
Kelly brought up a good point about it not being much of a distraction because they are used to having so many cameras around with all of the specials NBC has done with them the last few years, but he also brought up how the show could turn into a recruiting tool for the program. "We're going to talk a lot about why 17 year olds should come to Notre Dame."
I found that really interesting. Not because it's not true. I'm sure part of the show will be an infomercial for student-athletes about what it's like to be a student-athlete at Notre Dame and that is a good thing. I'm also fairly certain that the show is going to feature a very talented Notre Dame football team that should have success on the field and be engaging off of it. That should also be a very good thing for the brand of Notre Dame football in general.
This all leads to my next kind of important question: are 17 year olds going to even watch?
Forget the fact that I'm not sure about the number of recruits who have premium cable in their households. Let's focus on whether or not a 17 year old kid is going to watch this every Tuesday night, DVR it, or watch an illegal stream of it etc. I'm just not sure a lot of kids are going to do that unless they already have an interest in the school.
I'm not even sure all of the current 2016 commitments are going to watch it. Some of them will, but I bet not all of them and not just because they don't have Showtime. Some of them won't because they are 17 and would rather be 17 than watch this or most other shows.
I might be in the minority, but I definitely think this show can be a good thing for Notre Dame football. It will mean more exposure and the majority of that should be positive. But will this be a recruiting tool and will that exposure affect any 17 year olds who don't know much about Notre Dame? I'm not so sure. I think they would be more likely to watch a YouTube clip or a Vine of some small thing that happened on the show than them watching the longer recruiting pitch of what a Notre Dame education can do for them.
Other recruiting observations
- This might be sad to say, but I think recruits care more about how the Shamrock Series uniforms look than they do about a lot of other things, including the Showtime show.
We'll have to wait and see if there is buzz after an actual episode on Showtime with recruits, but I'm guessing there won't be as much as there is for these uniforms. Personally, I like the uniforms a lot more than last year's version. I do think the green looks a little too much like Oregon, but that's just my opinion. I'm sure Notre Dame cares a lot about what 17 year old recruits think of them than anyone else and the recruits seem to like them a lot.
- There could always be some potential news on the recruiting front with Hunter Johnson scheduled to visit and Damian Alloway closing in on a decision, but don't expect a lot of other news right now because of camp going on for Notre Dame and camp going on for most high school football players as well.
- After observing Notre Dame practice yesterday, I feel fairly confident in saying that a number of freshmen are going to contribute on the field this season. Considering all of the returning players, I think that says some good things about the freshmen class and should hopefully be a selling point for recruits this year and beyond. The best players are going to play regardless of experience.