Notre Dame Football Recruiting: Loss in Title Game Wouldn't Hurt Fighting Irish

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2013

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 03:  Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish talks to coaches on the headphones during a game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Notre Dame Stadium on November 3, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Pittsburgh 29-26 in triple overtime.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Alabama can't do anything to slow the momentum that Notre Dame has built with its stellar recruiting class.

Coincidentally, the two opponents in the BCS National Championship also rank first and second (the Fighting Irish hold the top spot) in's team rankings for recruiting.

It's an unusual spot to be in for Alabama, which has ranked No. 1 the last four years (2012, 2011, 2009 and 2008).

For Notre Dame, it's a bit of a return to prominence to coincide with its rise to the top of the polls. Outside of 2008, when it ranked second, the school has hovered around the top 10 on a few occasions.

At this stage, recruits can only make commitments with National Signing Day about a month away. There's still the slight chance that a player could get cold feet and opt for what he perceives are greener pastures.

Even if the Fighting Irish get blown out by the Tide in the title game, fans have nothing to worry about when it comes to Notre Dame's recruiting chances.

Alabama is going to be the heavy favorite. The majority of college football fans believe the Crimson Tide simply have more talent than Notre Dame, and there's no shame in the Fighting Irish coming up short.

This could be a very symbolic blow to the psyche of those players who may be thinking of selecting Notre Dame, but that isn't the case, as evidenced by the recruiting rankings.

In the beginning of Charlie Weis' reign, there was a feeling that Notre Dame was back for real. The same thing could have been said of the time Tyrone Willingham was the head coach.

In both instances that was far from the case.

However, under Brian Kelly, nobody should have any doubts that the school has returned to the elite level of college football—and it isn't going anywhere.

Now, the Fighting Irish won't finish undefeated every year, but there's every reason to think that they have the ability to consistently have teams good enough to qualify for a BCS bowl.

Kelly has been a proven winner at every school at which he's coached. Whether it was Grand Valley State, Central Michigan or Cincinnati, he's always won football games.

There was a very real threat that Notre Dame would become just a remnant of the past. It took a lot of work for Kelly to dig out of the hole in which Weis had dug the school into, and he did it.

Of course, it's much more difficult to stay on top of the mountain than it is to simply reach the peak, but Kelly has done the majority of the heavy lifting already.

Fans and, more importantly, high school football players will be looking at Notre Dame as a premier destination for years to come no matter what happens in the national championship.