The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and head coach Brian Kelly are having an exceptional year on the field, but is this a program that's going to be able to compete with the best of the best for years to come?
In order to answer that question, we have to turn to the world of recruiting, where the future of programs are won or lost.
How exactly does Notre Dame stack up in recruiting with the rest of the teams that currently make up the BCS Top 5? Here's a quick rundown, and then my analysis of the Fighting Irish's 2013 recruiting class so far:
|BCS Ranking||Rivals Ranking||Key Recruit||Notes|
|1.Kansas State||85||3-star ILB Tanner Wood||Not a traditional recruiting powerhouse. Only seven commitments so far. Great season should help.|
|2.Oregon||39||5-star RB Thomas Tyner||Off to a slow start, but shouldn't have any issues finishing with a good class.|
|3.Notre Dame||3||5-star LB Jaylon Smith||Great defensive class. Room for a few more elite recruits.|
|4.Alabama ||5||5-star TE O.J. Howard||Solid on the offensive side. Tons of interest from elite uncommitted recruits.|
|5.Georgia||8||4-star QB Brice Ramsey||Well-balanced class with talent on both sides of the ball. Most impressed with their defensive commits.|
Here are the full Rivals.com team rankings.
As you can clearly see, Kelly and the Fighting Irish are having the best year out of all the current BCS top five schools right now, and they should have no problem maintaining a top five class for the rest of the recruiting cycle. In fact, they can actually move up in the rankings with a few key commitments.
5-star corner Priest Willis has Notre Dame in his top five, according to 247Sports, and 4-star wide receiver Laquon Treadwell has the Fighting Irish in his top four. If Kelly and his staff can bring those two recruits into their class, they will be setting themselves up to have an elite recruiting cycle, and that in turn would set their program up to remain a national powerhouse for years to come.
As far as their current class is concerned, the Fighting Irish have compiled a very impressive group, especially defensively. 5-star linebacker Jaylon Smith is going to be a star for Notre Dame, but he's complimented by 4-star linebacker Alex Anzalone, and 4-star defensive back Cole Luke, who are both big names from the 2013 class as well.
Offensively, the Fighting Irish boast commitments from 4-star wideout Torii Hunter Jr (the baseball player's son) and 4-star dual-threat quarterback Malik Zaire, who has the potential to be great at the college level.
This is just to mention a few of Notre Dame's recruits...
Overall, the Fighting Irish are easily the best recruiting team in the BCS top five right now.
Not only are they having great success in the here-and-now, but Kelly's 2013 class will go a long way in helping the Fighting Irish remain successful in the future.