Notre Dame Football: Will Fighting Irish Hold on to No. 1 Recruiting Class?

Andrew KulhaSenior Analyst IIIJanuary 7, 2013

Jan 6, 2013; Fort Lauderdale FL, USA; Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly (left) answers questions during a press conference for the 2013 BCS National Championship game at Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have the best recruiting class in college football, and that's a fact depending on who you trust most for recruiting information.

After an All-Star weekend that saw the Fighting Irish pick up a commitment from 5-star safety Max Redfield, Brian Kelly's 2013 class has jumped up to the No. 1 spot according to and ESPN Recruiting Nation has the Fighting Irish ranked No. 3 overall and the 247Sports Composite Rankings have Notre Dame at No. 4, but for the sake of this argument, two out of four will do just fine.

Either way you look at it, Kelly has done a superb job with recruiting in the 2013 cycle, and he's not done just yet. 

What are the chances that Notre Dame can keep the No. 1 overall recruiting ranking?

Before I get into that, let's be clear on a few things. These rankings are primarily a reference point that we use in the college football recruiting world to gauge the potential of a recruiting class. Not all 5-star recruits will become superstars, and not all 2-stars will be role players. Sometimes it can be quite the opposite.

What this really comes down to is coaching and what a coaching staff is able to do with the talent that it acquires through recruiting. Of course, starting off with naturally talented recruits is always a good start, so that's where the value of star rankings and overall rankings come in.

As far as the 2013 rankings go, it seems like a very good possibility that Notre Dame holds on to the No. 1 spot and even moves up in the and 247Sports Composite Rankings.

The Fighting Irish now have three 5-star commitments in outside linebacker Jaylon Smith, running back Greg Bryant and the aforementioned Redfield, but they're still in the running with a few more recruits.

5-star defensive tackle and former USC recruit Eddie Vanderdoes has Notre Dame in his top five (247Sports) and 5-star cornerback Priest Willis has the Fighting Irish in his top seven (247Sports).

Of the two, Vanderdoes seems the most likely to commit to Notre Dame, and his commitment would give Notre Dame four 5-star recruits. If the Fighting Irish can land Willis as well, the No. 1 spot would essentially be a lock.

Remember, this is not to mention the 14 4-star commits and the six 3-star commitments that are adding strength to Kelly's 2013 class as well.

Of course there's always Alabama, who is in the running for big-tme recruits like 5-star defensive tackle Montravius Adams and 5-star offensive Laremy Tunsil, and it's worth noting that USC has six 5-star recruits according to Rivals (15 total as of now, though).

Florida is also an outlying contender for the No. 1 ranking, as is Ohio State. There's also the Robert Nkemdiche factor (No. 1 overall recruit), and that could shake things up. Especially if he ends up going to LSU (top two of LSU and Ole Miss).

The thing with college football recruiting is that it can all change in the blink of an eye, so there's really no definitive way of telling how this recruiting cycle will end up.

That said, Notre Dame has set itself up nicely to finish strong and its 2013 class is already elite. The chances of the Fighting Irish finishing off the 2013 cycle with a few more big-time commitments will increase even more if they win the BCS National Championship by beating Alabama—and the fact that Notre Dame is even in the game is huge for recruiting as well.

Overall, I expect the Fighting Irish will add one or two more highly ranked recruits and when all is said and done, Notre Dame will finish with the No. 1 overall recruiting class for 2013.

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