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Notre Dame Football Recruiting: Marcus Freeman, Tommy Rees, and Mike Elston address the media on Signing Day

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“We wanted all of our guys to sign right now.”

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The Notre Dame Fighting Irish received 21 signatures during college football’s early period for National Signing Day. It’s been kind of a wild ride over the last couple of weeks, and it’s days like this that help solidify the future of the program.

Notre Dame took some losses since they won the the final game of the regular season. Defensive back Devin Moore decommitted more than a week ago, and then after the Irish got back in the mix, Moore chose the Florida Gators. Wide receiver Amorion Walker had been a flaky commitment for months as he took visits elsewhere and developed a really cozy relationship with the Michigan Wolverines — before finally flipping to those Wolverines at a signing day announcement ceremony.

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And yet... Notre Dame still has the #7 recruiting class in the country, and has the highest average player ranking for an Irish class since 2013.

One of the bigger issues of the day is all of the name, image, and likeness stuff happening all over the country. It’s a fuzzy gray line at some schools — but Freeman talks about it as a black and white situation.

“You got to show them that you have a plan. But there are certain roles within the NCAA that you can’t do. And we can’t say we’re providing this name, image and likeness deal for you and things of that nature. And so, we know it’s real. And they know we have a plan to try to help promote it. But we can’t break the rules. And we won’t break the rules. But we know it’s a part of recruiting in the future and recruiting in the present.”

“We do things Notre Dame way. And I’ve told this staff that we’re going to do everything we do with integrity and do it the right way. And we’re going to win by outworking people. And that’s going to be our mindset in football, it’s going to be on mindset in recruiting. We’re going to outwork our opponents. So, I don’t want to do anything that has to do with breaking the rules.”

Freeman spoke about a number of different things, but perhaps the big question of the day certainly involves the wide receiver position. Notre Dame signed just one WR for the 2022 class, and now the conversations about “what’s next” need to begin.

“Well, I know the minute we got done with the press conference, obviously, we had to go see Tobias (Merriweather). That’s the first place we got to go. We stopped and we saw Billy (Schrauth) first on our way to go see Tobias. And so, to get him a part of this class is huge. It’s huge. We were in his house in I think 9:30 West Coast time at night. So, it was almost midnight here or after midnight. And so, that was a very important gift for us.

“And so, we will go back after the season and we’ll address and will look and say, ‘Hey, where are we at with the guys that can possibly come back for another year versus are those guys leaving?’ What numbers-wise do we need to address in the wide receivers room? If we need to go and look at the transfer portal, we will. If we need to start recruiting more high school kids for the following ‘23 class, we will. And so, those are still something that’s an ongoing process in terms of our current roster, in terms of guys leaving, and then, ‘Hey, is it a transfer portal situation or is it a high school recruit situation?”

After Freeman spoke with the media, recruiting coordinator Mike Elston and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees were next up on the podium to answer the questions of the day.

You can watch the full press conference for all three coaches in the player below.