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Notre Dame Football Recruiting: How committed is the 2023 Irish class?

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Are there wandering Irish eyes?

Keon Keely and Luke Montgomery ohio state notre dame football recruiting
Keon Keely and Luke Montgomery
Twitter @lukeMonty8

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish currently have the #1 recruiting class in the country for the 2023 cycle, and it’s a legitimate class. It’s not one of those things early in the cycle where you have a much larger handful than the others. Notre Dame has 9 commitments with an average rating of .9477.

Even Ari Wasserman is impressed.

2023 Notre Dame Football Commit List (12)

DE Keon Keeley FL 6'5" 230 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 06/28/21
DE Brenan Vernon OH 6'5" 245 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 06/29/21
S Adon Shuler NJ 6'0" 190 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 08/15/21
TE Cooper Flanagan CA 6'5" 225 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 09/02/21
LB Drayk Bowen IN 6'2" 215 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 11/03/21
S Peyton Bowen TX 6'0" 185 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 01/01/22
LB Preston Zinter MA 6'2" 220 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 01/11/22
WR Braylon James TX 6'3" 185 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 04/19/22
OL Sam Pendleton NC 6'4" 295 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 04/25/22
DL Boubacar Traore MA 6'5" 240 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 04/27/22
DL Devan Houstan MD 6'5" 270 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 05/07/22
OL Sullivan Absher NC 6'7" 290 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 05/13/22

While it’s a great start for the Irish, it really only means that they will have to fight even harder to get to signing day (which is a normal thing). At present — the Irish are having to do a lot of fighting to hold onto what it has, while also trying to add more elite recruits to the mix like Dante Moore, Carnell Tate, Jason Moore, and more (sorry couldn’t help myself).

One of the more frustrating things to watch as fans is a committed player out and about taking visits to other schools. There are a lot of reasons not to care about those visits from our point of view, but there are even more reasons to care about those visits from out point of view... it’s a volatile world.

Obviously the best line of thinking to take is that a verbal commitment just means that the recruit has named a #1 school. Nothing is final until signing day, and even then things can go sideways.

As far as this 2023 class is concerned at the moment, there are three committed players to definitely keep an eye on as they continue to make visits. These guys are currently 3 of the top 5 kids in Notre Dame’s #1 ranked class — so a lot of school’s out there are trying to do the flip.

5-Star DE Keon Keeley

Keely is the prize of the class so far for the Irish and has been committed since June of last year. He’s an elite edge defender which means that all the big boys are doing their best to flip him. Keeley, for his part, has made a handful of unofficial visits to other schools since his commitment. He has visited the Florida Gators twice, attended the junior day of the Alabama Crimson Tide, and most recently went down to Columbus to visit the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Despite Keeley’s consistent visitations to other schools, I have never gotten the sense that he isn’t 100% Irish. His family seems locked in, and his good friends the Reader bothers on their way to attend Notre Dame (Tre — football 22 & Troy — baseball 23).

4-Star S Peyton Bowen

Bowen committed to Notre Dame back on New Year’s Day and has been partying on the visit circuit ever since. First it was multiple trips to see the Oklahoma Sooners, and now the upcoming visit with the Texas A&M Aggies. At no point in his commitment have I really considered him a solid member of this class — which is actually fine. If HE needs to look around, he needs to look around. At least Notre Dame knows where they stand — which is the leader by what appears to be a slim margin.

Bowen is even talking to the Michigan Wolverines quite a bit, so who knows how this really shakes out.

4-Star CB Justyn Rhett

While not as well traveled on the visit circuit as Keeley and Bowen, Rhett is taking a visit to see the Georgia Bulldogs. Should we be concerned? Well — of course. Georgia is the defending national champion and has consistently put out some of the best defenses in CFB over the past 5+ years. That visit is going to put a lot of stuff in his mind.

So how committed is this class as it’s currently put together? I’d say it’s like a B+ if it even makes sense to smack a letter grade on it. I’m confident that Keeley sticks, not very confident that Bowen sticks, and I’ll have to wait and see about Rhett once his visit to Athens is over.

There is still a little over 8 months to go until early signing day, and we are finally past the covid displacement inside the recruiting process. The rest of this month and the month of June will likely be big indicators of what we will see in December, but for now the class is the class and it’s still #1.