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Notre Dame Football Recruiting: Kyren Williams is 11th Straight Player to Pick Irish over Michigan

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Irish on an upswing against the Wolverines, but still having difficulties recruiting against the Buckeyes for talent

Kyren Williams
Kyren Williams / Twitter

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are not only on a recruiting upswing, they are taking players the Michigan Wolverines wanted.

The two teams will compete on the field Sept. 1 at Notre Dame Stadium, but the jockeying for players off the field has been ongoing since Jim Harbaugh re-joined his alma mater on Dec. 30, 2014.

Kyren Williams, who committed to the Irish Thursday, was the 75th player to hold an offer from both Michigan and Notre Dame and ultimately choose one of those universities since Harbaugh’s hiring.

Williams was the 11th person in the Class of 2019 to pick South Bend over Ann Arbor; only three verbal commits have gone the other way so far. The Irish also have Drew Pyne, the only Class of 2020 player to hold offers from both universities and choose one of them.

The three-star running back is also the 11th consecutive athlete to choose Notre Dame over Michigan while holding offers from both.

If four-star quarterback Cade McNamara hadn’t flipped from Notre Dame to Michigan, the Irish would have won 15 consecutive head-to-head battles against the Wolverines, dating back to four-star wide receiver Lawrence Keys III’s commitment during the February Signing Day.

Brian Kelly’s staff has now convinced 43 of the 75 athletes they’ve recruited against Jim Harbaugh’s team to come to Notre Dame. Michigan held the early advantage, but Notre Dame passed the Wolverines with three signings on Feb. 7. McNamara’s flip on March 16 evened the score again, and it’s been all Notre Dame since.

It’s not all bad news for Harbaugh’s squad. Michigan has recruited more five stars (3 - defensive tackle Rashan Gary, wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones and defensive end Chris Hinton) than Notre Dame (0). They’ve also protected their backyard fairly well, coaxing seven of the 10 shared recruits from Michigan to stay in-state.

Notre Dame has recruited more four stars, 32-23, and three-stars, 11 to 6.

Michigan convinced the five top-rated players to join their Big 10 program, and seven of the top 10 in the group holding offers from both schools. (They are Gary, Peoples-Jones, Hinton, tackle Ben Bredeson, cornerback David Long, cornerback Houston Griffith, tight end Brock Wright, tight end Devin Asiasi, linebacker Drew Singleton and tackle Liam Eichenberg. Asiasi is now with the UCLA Bruins.)

The picture isn’t as rosy if you compare Brian Kelly’s staff to Urban Meyer’s staff with the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Meyer, who was hired in Columbus on Nov. 28, 2011, has taken 75 commitments from recruits who also held Notre Dame offers. The Irish have been able to coax 55 to South Bend, but only seven of 34 from the state of Ohio.

Zeke Correll, who committed Monday to the Irish, was the first athlete from Ohio to pick Notre Dame over Ohio State since Eichenberg gave his pledge to the Irish on April 19, 2015. In that three-year period between Eichenberg and Correll, the Irish lost 10 straight recruiting battles for Ohio players to the Buckeyes.

Notre Dame vs. Michigan in Recruiting During Jim Harbaugh Era

Player Position Stars 247 Composite Rk State Team Signed Team Shunned Class of Commit Date
Player Position Stars 247 Composite Rk State Team Signed Team Shunned Class of Commit Date
Dexter Williams RB 4 94 FL ND Michigan 2015 2/4/2015
Julian Okwara WDE 4 301 NC ND Michigan 2016 4/14/2015
Liam Eichenberg OT 4 80 OH ND Michigan 2016 4/19/2015
Ben Bredeson OT 4 39 WI Michigan ND 2016 6/17/2015
Kevin Stepherson WR 3 601 FL ND Michigan 2016 6/19/2015
Ron Johnson WDE 4 296 NJ Michigan ND 2016 6/25/2015
Brock Wright TE 4 71 TX ND Michigan 2017 6/26/2015
Spencer Perry S 3 527 FL ND Michigan 2016 6/29/2015
Chase Claypool WR 4 172 Canada ND Michigan 2016 7/10/2015
Ahmir Mitchell WR 4 161 NJ Michigan ND 2016 8/27/2015
Cole Kmet TE 4 82 IL ND Michigan 2017 10/2/2015
Khalid Kareem SDE 4 196 MI ND Michigan 2016 10/23/2015
Carlo Kemp SDE 4 310 CO Michigan ND 2016 11/8/2015
Daelin Hayes OLB 4 133 MI ND Michigan 2016 12/10/2015
Devin Bush Jr. ILB 4 312 FL Michigan ND 2016 12/16/2015
Kareem Walker RB 4 107 NJ Michigan ND 2016 12/17/2015
Kekoa Crawford WR 4 118 CA Michigan ND 2016 1/9/2016
David Long CB 4 65 CA Michigan ND 2016 1/21/2016
Elysee Mbem-Bosse ILB 3 491 GA Michigan ND 2016 1/24/2016
Rashan Gary DT 5 1 NJ Michigan ND 2016 2/3/2016
Devin Asiasi TE 4 77 CA Michigan ND 2016 2/3/2016
Jonathan Jones OLB 3 454 FL ND Michigan 2016 2/3/2016
Nate Johnson WR 3 590 TN Michigan ND 2016 2/3/2016
David Adams ILB 4 229 PA ND Michigan 2017 3/20/2016
Drew White ILB 3 977 FL ND Michigan 2017 3/21/2016
Josh Ross ILB 4 211 MI Michigan ND 2017 3/22/2016
Phillip Paea DT 3 458 MI Michigan ND 2017 4/2/2016
Corey Malone-Hatcher WDE 4 268 MI Michigan ND 2017 6/2/2016
Jayson Ademilola DT 4 128 NJ ND Michigan 2018 6/26/2016
Justin Ademilola OLB 3 632 NJ ND Michigan 2018 6/26/2016
C.J. Holmes ATH 4 245 CT ND Michigan 2017 7/8/2016
Robert Hainsey OG 4 84 FL ND Michigan 2017 7/10/2016
Darnell Ewell DT 4 147 VA ND Michigan 2017 7/15/2016
Ovie Oghoufo OLB 3 547 MI ND Michigan 2018 7/22/2016
Brad Hawkins WR 3 425 NJ Michigan ND 2017 10/7/2016
Donovan Jeter DE 4 289 PA Michigan ND 2017 10/23/2016
Jaylen Kelly-Powell S 4 250 MI Michigan ND 2017 11/15/2016
Aaron Banks OL 4 166 CA ND Michigan 2017 12/9/2016
Tarik Black WR 4 116 CT Michigan ND 2017 12/14/2016
Donovan Peoples-Jones WR 5 12 MI Michigan ND 2017 12/15/2016
Drew Singleton OLB 4 79 NJ Michigan ND 2017 12/23/2016
Oliver Martin WR 4 181 IA Michigan ND 2017 1/30/2017
Derrik Allen S 4 106 GA ND Michigan 2018 2/13/2017
Micah Jones WR 4 376 IL ND Michigan 2018 2/17/2017
Myles Sims CB 4 170 GA Michigan ND 2018 4/7/2017
Christian Turner RB 3 509 GA Michigan ND 2018 4/10/2017
Jalen Mayfield OT 4 268 MI Michigan ND 2018 5/23/2017
Ryan Hayes OT 4 335 MI Michigan ND 2018 5/27/2017
Ja'mion Franklin DT 3 571 MD ND Michigan 2018 6/6/2017
Shayne Simon OLB 4 90 NJ ND Michigan 2018 7/25/2017
Nolan Rumler OG 4 135 OH Michigan ND 2019 7/29/2017
Jacob Lacey DT 4 148 KY ND Michigan 2019 7/29/2017
Cameron McGrone OLB 4 118 IN Michigan ND 2018 7/31/2017
Matthew "Bo" Bauer ILB 4 293 PA ND Michigan 2018 8/3/2017
Chris Hinton DE 5 22 GA Michigan ND 2019 8/5/2017
Kevin Austin WR 4 82 FL ND Michigan 2018 8/11/2017
Mustapha Muhammad TE 4 168 TX Michigan ND 2018 10/20/2017
Houston Griffith CB 4 70 FL ND Michigan 2018 12/12/2017
Tommy Tremble TE 3 491 GA ND Michigan 2018 12/14/2017
Julius Welschof DE 3 647 Germany Michigan ND 2018 12/20/2017
Lawrence Keys III WR 4 286 LA ND Michigan 2018 2/7/2018
Noah Boykin CB 4 366 DC ND Michigan 2018 2/7/2018
Jarrett Patterson OT 4 369 CA ND Michigan 2018 2/7/2018
Cade McNamara QB 4 264 NV Michigan ND 2019 3/16/2018
Drew Pyne QB 4 121 CT ND Michigan 2020 4/16/2018
John Olmstead OT 4 166 NJ ND Michigan 2019 4/20/2018
Litchfield Ajavon S 4 215 VA ND Michigan 2019 4/21/2018
Howard Cross SDE 4 324 NJ ND Michigan 2019 4/22/2018
Andrew Kristofic OT 3 495 PA ND Michigan 2019 4/23/2018
Kyle Hamilton S 3 512 GA ND Michigan 2019 4/24/2018
Quinn Caroll OT 4 92 MN ND Michigan 2019 5/1/2018
Nana Osafo-Mensah WDE 4 109 TX ND Michigan 2019 5/19/2018
Kevin Bauman TE 4 112 NJ ND Michigan 2019 6/13/2018
Zeke Correll OG 4 169 OH ND Michigan 2019 6/18/2018
Kyren Williams RB 3 404 MO ND Michigan 2019 6/21/2018
@andrewwinn / One Foot Down