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Notre Dame Football: With Gant Commit, Urban Meyer Continues His Domination of Brian Kelly

Ohio State wins, protects its home turf and does well with linebackers. It’s no surprise they beat out Notre Dame for Dallas Gant.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Notre Dame vs Ohio State Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Four-star outside linebacker Dallas Gant verbally committed today — his 17th birthday — to play for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

The 6-foot-3, 226-pound U.S. Army All-American shunned several schools, including the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. (They remain in the market for a weakside inside linebacker to add to the 2018 class.)

Gant is part of Urban Meyer’s continued dominance of Brian Kelly on the recruiting trail, regardless of which way you slice it. (I’ll be using the coaches’ names as shorthand for their respective recruiting staffs.)


All State Sugar Bowl - Alabama v Ohio State Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

In 2008, the Journal of Sports Economics published a study that suggested a recruit’s decision on where to attend college is “governed by a handful of primary factors” including “the opportunity for individual success and exposure, a team’s recent on-field success and the distance to the school from his hometown.”

Meyer is 61-6 since being announced as Ohio State’s coach on Nov. 28, 2011. Brian Kelly is 43-22 during that same time period.

There are 53 players who were offered scholarships by Notre Dame and ultimately signed with Ohio State since Meyer’s hiring. In addition, there are four athletes in the class of 2018 who have committed to the Buckeyes despite having an Irish offer.

On the flip side, there are 36 players who were offered Ohio State scholarships and chose Notre Dame instead (again, since Meyer). There are three athletes from the class of 2018 who have picked South Bend over Columbus (so far).

Gant is the eighth athlete who also held an Irish offer to commit to the Buckeyes since Notre Dame concluded its disastrous 4-8 season. Four-star cornerback Derrik Allen is the only player to commit to the Irish after Nov. 26 — the date of the USC game — who also held a Buckeyes offer.


BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl - Ohio State v Notre Dame
Jalin Marshall was a five-star recruit out of Ohio that committed to the Buckeyes despite holding a Notre Dame offer.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Gant plays at St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, Ohio. The Ohio State staff has excelled in keeping in-state talent.

Notre Dame and Ohio State have fought over 29 Ohio athletes since Meyer’s hiring. Of those, 23 — 21 four-stars and 2 five-stars — have chose the in-state school. Six Ohioans — all four stars — picked Notre Dame over Ohio State. (They are Malik Zaire, Jimmy Byrne, Elijah Taylor, Shaun Crawford, Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg.)

Meyer, who coached the Florida Gators from 2005-2010, has pulled eight recruits from the Sunshine State that held Notre Dame offers. Brian Kelly has returned the favor, however, grabbing eight Floridians with Ohio State offers. (There is a difference in star ratings — Ohio State had 5 four-star players and 3 five-star athletes, while Notre Dame had 3 three-star players and 5-four star players.)

Ohio and Indiana both border Michigan, but neither coach has really made inroads there. Kelly lured four-stars Khalid Kareem and Daelin Hayes away from Ohio State offers, while Meyer grabbed four-star running back Mike Weber and four-star offensive tackle Michael Jordan out of the Great Lakes State and away from Notre Dame.


Gant, who is categorized as an outside linebacker by 247Sports, is the sixth athlete at his position group to set aside a Notre Dame offer and commit to Ohio State instead. Notre Dame has had three inside linebackers commit in the reverse instance.

However, Notre Dame has landed more middle linebackers — two to Ohio State’s one — and inside linebackers — one to the Buckeyes’ zero — in their head-to-head recruiting battles.

The biggest disparities are at defensive end, where Ohio State holds a 9-to-2 advantage and wide receiver, where the Buckeyes have grabbed eight guys with Notre Dame offers to the Irish’s three with Ohio State offers.


Ohio State grabbed the first nine recruits in the battle with Notre Dame after Meyer’s hiring and they’ve gotten 11 of the last 12. Kelly and the Irish were holding their own between mid-February 2012 and the summer of 2016.

If Notre Dame can return to its winning ways, they have a legitimate chance to sway some of these recruits back toward their direction. Nine or more wins per season ought to do it. A bonus, of course, would be Ohio State unexpectedly struggling. (I will not hold my breath.)

Notre Dame vs. Ohio State in the Urban Meyer Era

Player Position Stars State Team Signed Team Shunned Class of Commit Date
Player Position Stars State Team Signed Team Shunned Class of Commit Date
Se'von Pittman DE 4 OH OSU ND 2012 12/12/2011
Noah Spencer DE 5 PA OSU ND 2012 12/18/2011
Taylor Decker OT 4 OH OSU ND 2012 1/15/2012
Cameron Burrows CB 4 OH OSU ND 2013 1/19/2012
Jalin Marshall WR 5 OH OSU ND 2013 1/30/2012
Armani Reeves CB 4 MA OSU ND 2012 2/1/2012
Kyle Dodson OT 4 OH OSU ND 2012 2/1/2012
Billy Price DT 4 OH OSU ND 2013 2/13/2012
Eli Apple CB 4 NJ OSU ND 2013 2/16/2012
Davonte Neal CB 4 AZ ND OSU 2012 2/21/2012
Evan Lisle OT 4 OH OSU ND 2013 2/28/2012
James Onwualu WR 4 MN ND OSU 2013 3/14/2012
Colin McGovern OT 4 IL ND OSU 2013 3/24/2012
Hunter Bivin OT 4 KY ND OSU 2013 3/24/2012
Malik Zaire QB 4 OH ND OSU 2013 3/25/2012
Jayme Thompson S 4 OH OSU ND 2013 4/1/2012
John Montelus OG 4 MA ND OSU 2013 4/21/2012
Joey Bosa DE 5 FL OSU ND 2013 4/23/2012
Mike Heuerman TE 4 FL ND OSU 2013 4/26/2012
Jaylon Smith OLB 5 IN ND OSU 2013 6/2/2012
Isaac Rochell DE 4 GA ND OSU 2013 6/7/2012
Jimmy Byrne OG 4 OH ND OSU 2014 12/8/2012
Max Redfield S 4 CA ND OSU 2013 1/4/2013
Donovan Munger DT 4 OH OSU ND 2013 1/25/2013
James Clark WR 4 FL OSU ND 2013 2/6/2013
Ezekiel Elliott RB 4 MO OSU ND 2013 2/6/2013
Sam Mustipher OG 4 MD ND OSU 2014 4/15/2013
Quenton Nelson OT 4 NJ ND OSU 2014 5/1/2013
Alex Bars OT 4 TN ND OSU 2014 5/17/2013
Dante Booker OLB 4 OH OSU ND 2014 5/23/2013
Jalyn Holmes DE 4 VA OSU ND 2014 6/20/2013
Jamarco Jones OT 4 IL OSU ND 2014 6/27/2013
Demetrius Knox OG 4 TX OSU ND 2014 7/28/2013
Curtis Samuel WR 4 NY OSU ND 2014 8/10/2013
Noah Brown WR 4 NJ OSU ND 2014 9/9/2013
Nick Watkins CB 4 TX ND OSU 2014 11/1/2013
Tyler Luatua TE 3 CA ND OSU 2014 12/16/2013
Johnnie Dixon WR 4 FL OSU ND 2014 12/17/2013
Nyles Morgan MLB 5 IL ND OSU 2014 1/3/2014
Jalen Guyton WR 4 TX ND OSU 2015 3/30/2014
Josh Barajas OLB 4 IN ND OSU 2015 5/30/2014
Elijah Taylor DT 4 OH ND OSU 2015 6/13/2014
Shaun Crawford CB 4 OH ND OSU 2015 6/15/2014
Dre'Mont Jones DE 4 OH OSU ND 2015 6/18/2014
Ashton White CB 3 MD ND OSU 2015 7/1/2014
Miles Boykin WR 4 IL ND OSU 2015 7/2/2014
Jashon Cornell DE 4 MN OSU ND 2015 7/2/2014
Justin Hilliard MLB 4 OH OSU ND 2015 7/2/2014
Tommy Kraemer OT 4 OH ND OSU 2016 10/4/2014
Brandon Wimbush QB 4 NJ ND OSU 2015 10/7/2014
Jerome Baker OLB 4 OH OSU ND 2015 10/21/2014
Te'von Coney MLB 4 FL ND OSU 2015 10/23/2014
Torrance Gibson QB 4 FL OSU ND 2015 11/3/2014
Jonathan Cooper DE 4 OH OSU ND 2016 11/14/2014
Matthew Burrell OG 4 VA OSU ND 2015 11/17/2014
Mike Weber RB 4 MI OSU ND 2015 12/10/2014
Jake Hausmann TE 4 OH OSU ND 2016 1/25/2015
Josh Myers OT 5 OH OSU ND 2017 1/25/2015
Dexter Williams RB 4 FL ND OSU 2015 2/4/2015
K.J. Hill WR 4 AR OSU ND 2015 2/4/2015
Dillan Gibbons OG 4 FL ND OSU 2017 4/4/2015
Marcus Williamson CB 4 OH OSU ND 2017 4/18/2015
Liam Eichenberg OT 4 OH ND OSU 2016 4/19/2015
Michael Jordan OT 4 MI OSU ND 2016 5/7/2015
Austin Mack WR 4 IN OSU ND 2016 6/7/2015
Spencer Perry S 3 FL ND OSU 2016 6/29/2015
Jerron Cage DT 4 OH OSU ND 2017 7/21/2015
Nick Bosa DE 5 FL OSU ND 2016 7/23/2015
Luke Farrell TE 4 OH OSU ND 2016 7/24/2015
Isaiah Pryor S 4 GA OSU ND 2017 7/27/2015
Cole Kmet TE 4 IL ND OSU 2017 10/2/2015
Brendon White OLB 4 OH OSU ND 2017 10/3/2015
Antonio Williams RB 4 NC OSU ND 2016 10/18/2015
Khalid Kareem DE 4 MI ND OSU 2016 10/23/2015
Daelin Hayes OLB 4 MI ND OSU 2016 12/10/2015
Haskell Garrett DT 4 NV OSU ND 2017 2/9/2016
JK Dobbins ATH 4 TX OSU ND 2017 3/6/2016
Drew White ILB 3 FL ND OSU 2017 3/21/2016
Phil Jurkovec QB 4 PA ND OSU 2018 5/16/2016
Jonathan McCollister OT 3 FL ND OSU 2017 6/17/2016
Wyatt Davis OG 5 CA OSU ND 2017 6/24/2016
Jayson Ademilola DT 4 NJ ND OSU 2018 6/26/2016
Robert Hainsey OG 4 FL ND OSU 2017 7/10/2016
Chase Young DE 5 MD OSU ND 2017 7/22/2016
Amir Riep CB 4 OH OSU ND 2017 7/23/2016
Trevon Grimes WR 5 FL OSU ND 2017 11/5/2016
Baron Browning OLB 5 TX OSU ND 2017 11/26/2016
Pete Werner OLB 4 PA OSU ND 2017 12/11/2016
Shaun Wade CB 4 FL OSU ND 2017 12/12/2016
Jeffrey Okudah CB 5 TX OSU ND 2017 1/7/2017
Derrik Allen CB 4 GA ND OSU 2018 2/3/2017
Jaiden Woodbey S 4 CA OSU ND 2018 2/7/2017
Jaelen Gill RB 4 OH OSU ND 2018 3/1/2017
Sevyn Banks CB 4 FL OSU ND 2018 4/26/2017
Dallas Gant OLB 4 OH OSU ND 2018 5/16/2017

If you see any mistakes or omissions, note them in the comments or tweet at me.