Notre Dame has resurrected itself from the ashes of Bob Davie, Tyrone Willingham and Charlie Weis. Brian Kelly was one of the best hires of the last decade in any sport, and his presence at his dream school has put the Irish in position to be a national power yet again on a yearly basis.
This 2012 campaign was just the start of what could very quickly turn into something very special for Notre Dame faithful and all of college football.
Headed to the 2013 BCS National Championship Game to face the Alabama Crimson Tide later this week, the Irish are prepared to ride off into the sunset on the back of LB Manti Te'o and his considerable contributions to rebuilding the program.
Of course, once that ride is over, there's even more to be excited about for next year.
For starters, Everett Golson will be a year older, a year wiser and fully capable of not having to split time with any other QB that might take away from his developmental process.
Sure, there's a slew of seniors that are going to be gone, including Te'o and senior TE Tyler Eifert, both headed for the green room at Radio City Music Hall come April. But lucky for the Irish, and the rest of college football purists everywhere, the crop of young men coming to replace them is as bright as ever.
Over the weekend, that talent will be on display at the Under Armour All-American Game and the Army All American Game, both of which are included in this helpful tweet from ND Insider Eric Hansen:
That should help give Irish fans and coaches a brief glimpse of the talent that will be on campus starting next fall, and it will also boast some names you might have seen in other sports.
Corey Robinson, son of NBA star David Robinson, is headed to play wideout for the Irish as a three-star, very raw recruit. Torii Hunter, Jr. is also headed to play in South Bend, giving the team two considerable names—even if the talent doesn't work out. That may be shallow on the surface, but getting big names is a hallmark of a program's ability to appeal to athletes who have the world chasing them.
The rest of the list isn't shabby, either.
Per Rivals, the list of the commits in this year's class have a chance to come in and start right away. At the top of the list is RB Greg Bryant, the five-star from Florida, will be in the mix to replace Theo Riddick.
LB Jaylon Smith from Indiana is another five-star expected to help ease the pain of losing Te'o, while Hunter Bivin and Steve Elmer are two behemoths that will protect Golson very soon. On Wednesday, Tarean Folston committed to the Irish, giving the class another four-star running back with 4.5 40-yard dash speed.
Top to bottom, this class is stacked.
It's not uncommon for recruits to change their mind in the course of deciding on a school for the next four years, but it appears even the decommitments are starting to lean towards the Irish. ND Recruiting on Twitter had the scoop:
4-star WR Sebastian LaRue has decommitted from USC.Expected to visit Notre Dame this month.— ND Recruiting (@ND_Recruiting) January 2, 2013
Again, that's not uncommon, but adding more prolific talent to this class seems redundant. You can expect more of the same in the Kelly era, especially if he builds on his current 28-10 record with a national championship victory on Monday night.
With the pursuit of top recruits never-ending and the Irish now back in the BCS picture for the first time in the history of the era, things are brighter than ever in South Bend.
Don't believe me?
Keep checking on this recruiting class, which continues to grow by the day. We are looking at something very special brewing at one of college football's premier destinations.
Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team. Check him out on Twitter, and check out Bleacher Report's College Football coverage all bowl season and into the heart of recruiting country.