The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are on the verge of being a college football dynasty, and if they do become one of the consistently great programs in the land, it's going to because of the success Brian Kelly and his staff have had in recruiting.
It starts with the current No. 1 ranked BCS team that's 11-0 and trying for a spot in the National Championship, but dynasties are all about sustained excellence, so the true fate of this program rests in their 2013 recruiting class and beyond.
Thankfully for Notre Dame, they are set up to be dominant for years to come.
For as great as Kelly has done coaching his current team, he and his staff have done an equally impressive job on the recruiting trail.
Notre Dame's class is currently ranked No. 3 overall by Rivals.com and it features some very talented players.
The centerpiece of the class is undoubtedly 5-star outside linebacker Jaylon Smith, who checks in at 6'3'', 212 pounds and runs a 4.59 40 according to 247Sports. All signs points to Smith being an elite-level linebacker at the college level.
The key to sustaining success in college football is being able to overcome attrition, and Kelly has done a great job of setting his program up in that regard. They'll be losing superstar senior inside linebacker Manti Te'o to the NFL next season, and even though Smith doesn't play the same position, he should still be able to replace that "star presence" at the linebacker spot immediately.
It's the proverbial "next man up" philosophy that so many great teams and programs have, and that's what will make Notre Dame successful for many years to come.
Smith may be the feature player of the class, but he's not the only recruit worth mentioning. 4-star linebacker Alex Anzalone projects to be very good, as does 4-star cornerback Cole Luke and 4-star receiver Torii Hunter Jr. Current quarterback and sophomore Everett Golson is the guy leading Notre Dame's offense right now, but Kelly's 2013 class also features 4-star dual-threat quarterback Malik Zaire who fits the offense perfectly, has a great arm and is very accurate. He could very well step in and be the quarterback of the future after Golson.
This is not even to mention the recruits that still have not committed and have an interest in the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame has 22 commitments already, but with potential early enrollment, decommitments or revoked offers, they have plenty of room for a few more recruits.
If Kelly can bring in even just one of these players, his class will be elite, especially defensively, so that goes to show you just how much success the Fighting Irish have had in recruiting this year.
Success begets success, and that's the final piece of the puzzle for Notre Dame.
If they win two more games they will be the National Champions, and considering how prestigious the school is to begin with, that should give them even more of an advantage in recruiting for the future.
Once the members of this current team move on, Kelly has great players in place that will allow Notre Dame to continue playing great football on both sides of the ball, and as long as they are having success on the field, they will in-turn dominate recruiting on a yearly basis.
There's a blueprint for sustained success in college football, and Notre Dame and head coach Brian Kelly are following it perfectly.
They need to win two more games to officially initiate the process, but even at this point, there's no doubting that Notre Dame is on the verge of becoming a dynasty.
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