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Notre Dame Football Recruiting: Can the Irish sign a top 5 class in 2021?

Maybe is the absolute best answer (but also not likely)

Ceyair Wright notre dame
Ceyair Wright
Instagram @ceyair

One of the bigger stories from the offseason was about the Notre Dame Fighting Irish recruiting efforts — and more specifically those of Brian Kelly. During bowl week, Kelly made an unprompted comment about the need to be a top 5 team in recruiting every year. That statement was a massive change from the top 15 talk from him throughout his time at Notre Dame.

Shortly after, Carter Karels from the South Bend Tribune published a story about two elite prospects in the 2020 class that chose a different school — and stated that a lack of contact from Brian Kelly was a big part in their decisions.

So of course the Notre Dame recruiting debate got set on fire and doused with about 100 gallons of gasoline. With this new goal in hand from Kelly, I did a quick dive to see if the Irish might be able to sign a top 5 class in 2021. It’s not rocket science, but it should shed some light on Notre Dame’s real chances when it comes to a top 5 class.

To do so, I used the 247 class calculator. Notre Dame currently has 7 commitments and there is a general feeling that this class may top out at 21 commits due to scholarship numbers. This is the as-realistic-as-I-could-get prediction for the 2021 class with 21 commitments from real Notre Dame offers:

247 Sports Class Calculator

Using the rankings that 247 provides right now, that 21 man class would give the Irish 288 points. While that doesn’t exactly help us with the 2021 class predictor, we can take those points and compare them to the previous five classes for an average.

This is how the 288 would do:

  • 2016 — 5th
  • 2017 — 7th
  • 2018 — 6th
  • 2019 — 4th
  • 2020 — 7th

That averages out to around a #6 ranking — which, of course, is not a top 5 class.

Most analysts (and myself) feel that a team needs at least 23 commits to make a serious run for a top 5 class. So, to see if that would help the Irish much, I added two more players:

247 Sports Class Calculator

These additions put the Irish just a little over 291 points. Here’s how the class ranking comparisons shook out:

  • 2016 — 4th
  • 2017 — 7th
  • 2018 — 4th
  • 2019 — 3rd
  • 2020 — 6th

It did help the Irish slightly, and the average put them right around 5th — the goal.

We still have no real way to know if the Irish will get to where we all hope with its recruiting, and this exercise is flawed in many ways, such as ranking changes down the road and there will probably be about 50-60 more offers in the coming months. Still, it should at least show the real challenge Notre Dame faces in this goal of a top 5 class.

Currently the Irish are ranked #6 and are just .23 points behind the Miami-Florida Hurricanes at #5 with their 11 commitments. The North Carolina Tar Heels are next up on the scale at #4 with their 10 commitments and 204.4 points.

247 Sports

If you want explanations about the 14-16 additions I put on here, you can certainly ask — but this is all more of a big guess rather than clear reasoning.