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Interactive Data Dashboard: Brian Kelly and Recruiting at Notre Dame

You can use this tool to see EXACTLY what the Notre Dame recruiting machine has done under Brian Kelly.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame Spring Game Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Summer is approaching. Spring ball is over. The dead of the college football offseason is upon us. If you’re anything like me, you’ve given up the YouTube holes of highlight videos from years past and can’t bring yourself to watch a hype video this early. So, here’s something kind of cool to dig into and take a look at when you want to quench your thirst for college football. Notre Dame Fighting Irish football recruiting!

Below is a dashboard of sorts that I’ve created through Tableau, a really fun data visualization tool that can make really any data set highly ingestible. The dataset that these graphs, charts, and maps are drawing from includes position, rating, home town, home state, and high school information for every recruit that has committed to Notre Dame in Brian Kelly’s tenure (and a few from Chuck Weis): 2010 to present. I hope you enjoy clicking around, filtering, and diving into the data as much as I did.

Quick Conclusions

With a few quick filters you can learn some pretty interesting surface-level stuff for Brian Kelly’s job as a recruiter (and his staff) during his time at Notre Dame. For instance, throwing all of the recruiting classes on the map and then filtering by Ohio versus other states reveals an interesting thing. Brian Kelly has recruited more players from Ohio than California. The only state that Brian Kelly has had more recruiting success in is Florida, which isn’t particularly surprising. Brian Kelly has also gotten more commits from Illinois than Texas. Chicago still turns out some talent.

There is another interesting fact if you look at ratings of players recruited to Notre Dame by Brian Kelly. In his time, the program has successfully landed five five-star recruits. Only one of them - Jaylon Smith - became a bonafide star. The only other two five-star recruits that stuck with the program were Max Redfield and Ishaq Williams, both of which spent time suspended from the team. Redfield also transferred to play his last year of eligibility. Two of the five-star recruits were in-state recruits: Jaylon Smith and Gunner Kiel.

Other fun facts:

  • Brian Kelly has landed more players without stars than those who were rated at two-stars. These are mostly preferred walk on and legacy players, but they also outnumber five-stars.
  • Seven pro style QBs have come to Notre Dame during Brian Kelly’s tenure. The most successful were DeShone Kizer and Tommy Rees. Brandon Wimbush and Malik Zaire were dual-threat quarterbacks.

Fun Things to Try

The dataset will grow with time and I hope to build out more graphs, charts, and capabilities on the front end. With this first pass, here are a few cool things you may want to try to get more familiar with the data.

Filter for a specific position with the “all” box checked. In particular, I liked seeing a list of every player was recruited as an “athlete” without a position. It’s cool to consider this list and what position they ultimately played at Notre Dame.

See every recruit for Brian Kelly to come from a specific state, and what high schools Notre Dame recruits. Florida, California, and Ohio are all pipelines, naturally. But don’t forget about Hawaii or British Columbia!

Filter by position! Where do the best Notre Dame safeties or cornerbacks come from? Do the best lineman come from the midwest? What about running backs?

Let me know what else you’d like to see! This is shaping up to be quite the scalable solution. I will add to the data - and can collect other forms of data that you think might be good for comparison’s sake. Speak up in the comments and let me know what you want to see!