Just the next day after the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were the talk of the college football world thanks to its innovative, cool, and funny Shamrock Series uniform reveal... we get a little bit of bad (maybe terrible news). Notre Dame’s prized commitment in the 2023 class is 5-Star defensive end Keon Keeley — and he’s taking a visit to see the Alabama Crimson Tide this weekend.
Keeley will be in Tuscaloosa from Thursday to Sunday on an UNOFFICIAL visit. Notre Dame has been playing hardball with its commits, and have not allowed them to stay committed while taking OFFICIAL visits. 5-Star safety Peyton Bowen is certainly one that has took a handful of UNOFFICIAL visits while committed to Notre Dame, as well as a few others.
Keeley took an UNOFFICIAL visit to see Ohio State this spring, and shortly afterward we kind of got the sense that he was shutting things down and Notre Dame’s chances of keeping him in the class went up greatly.
While these visits are designated as UNOFFICIAL, I hardly believe that they will stick to the full meaning of what an UNOFFICIAL visit entails.
If this was the Texas A&M Aggies, I would be worried about NIL stuff, but this is Alabama and Nick Saban. The Tide have a lot to offer elite defensive players on the field and with their future NFL careers, and Saban is the greatest head coach in college football history.
It’s a pretty powerful sell.
The fact that this visit is right before the dead period makes it even more frustrating if you’re Notre Dame. There won’t be an immediate chance to swoop in and re-sell yourself to the highest-rated player in your class. It’s a wound that could fester a while, and perhaps an amputation is the end result.
There is a real danger of losing both Keon Keeley and Peyton Bowen. As hard as Freeman and his staff have been working, a loss like that would give this class a very Charlie Weis feel to it. We’re still in July — so maybe don’t freak out too much, but regardless of what’s said about this trip, Irish fans have every right to be concerned.