The 2023 football recruiting cycle is still underway for Notre Dame and the rest of the college football world, but since the Irish won’t be signing any more 2023 recruits in February, we can look ahead to the next cycle — kind of.
Technically, we still aren’t done with the 2022-2023 transfer portal cycle. Hell — we still have the 2023-2024 transfer portal cycle to contend with as well, so who can honestly say or predict what Notre Dame’s roster will look like come June of 2024? And yet — here we are talking about exactly that.
Despite not knowing the future, I think there are three specific needs in this 2024 class.
You can’t recruit with feelings in mind. Regardless of what is on the roster at the moment or the possibility of what won’t be on the roster, Notre Dame has to try and land the best quarterback possible — it’s too important. The ability to stack talent at QB is something that elite programs have done for decades, and it’s one of the biggest factors when you look at sustained success. That’s trickier than what it sounds as we found out in the 2023 cycle. As the Dante Moore cycle unfolded, other QB’s fell off the uncommitted list and distanced themselves away from Notre Dame.
For 2024, Notre Dame already has this need filled with the commitment of C.J. Carr. Of course nothing is official until national signing day, but I think with Carr — Notre Dame is in the exact position they need to be in for a proper quarterback roster progression (for now).
It doesn’t matter if it’s nose guards, three techniques, strongside defensive ends, or vipers — Notre Dame needs more along the defensive line. Well... I suppose it does matter, but without question, the Irish are in need of talent upgrades up front. The best Notre Dame teams of the past 15 years have many things in common with eachother, and a strong defensive line is one of those things.
Javontae Jean-Baptiste aside, the defensive line appears to be one of the more difficult position groups to pull from the transfer portal. A reclamation of top tier recruiting along the DL to develop into monsters is every bit as important as quarterback recruiting. Notre Dame is currently the favorite to land one of those prospects in 2024 in Justin Scott, and they are becoming front-runners for several others.
Saying, “get the best athletes you possibly can,” sounds easy enough, but we have a long list of guys over the years that were players that could have been the next Rocket, or the next Rickey Watters — and it almost never seems to be the case.
Whether it’s a 5-Star, 4-Star, or 3-Star — Notre Dame absolutely needs more playmakers at every skill position group on both sides of the ball. This is a pretty broad selection because DUH but I think it’s far more nuanced. Speed, speed, and more speed — preferably from players that can run through an ankle tackle or shed wide receiver block. There used to be more diamonds in the rough, but recruiting services have done as much better job in identifying these players and ranking them as 4-Stars or higher.
If Notre Dame stays Notre Dame with its brute offensive lineman and a culture of toughness, a jolt of explosion can be all the difference when they go up against the elite programs in the country. We keep seeing that every year in the playoffs — because it’s true.