The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are coming off an embarrassing BCS National Championship Game loss and may look even weaker in the eyes of potential recruits, as coach Brian Kelly was openly auditioning for a new job.
While Kelly decided to return to Notre Dame over jumping ship to the Philadelphia Eagles late last week, there’s a high probability he did some damage to the program’s reputation and stability when it comes to recruiting.
In fact, there was some immediate fallout from the national title and NFL interview debacles, as prized linebacker Alex Anzalone reportedly texted the South Bend Tribune last Thursday—informing the staff that he would be decommitting from the Irish.
247Sports.com has Anzalone listed as a 4-star prospect and the No. 43 overall player in the class of 2013. It’s a huge blow for the Irish, widely regarded as having the best incoming linebackers in the nation. The Pennsylvania native is now taking his talents to Florida.
While no other blue-chip prospects decided that Kelly’s flirtation with the NFL warranted a last-second program switch, it’s going to be tough for the coach to sit in living rooms on the recruiting trail and talk about honesty and integrity if he’s openly pining for a professional gig.
The coach may have won Notre Dame 12 games and made an unexpected run to the BCS Championship, but in this “What have you done for me lately?” culture, he’s been the program's worst nightmare.
Kelly’s decisions in the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide, and in his personal life (by agreeing to the Eagles interview), have damaged the Irish’s ability to recruit.
Hopefully the head coach finds a way to restore his integrity and credibility, as that is the only way to ensure Notre Dame’s continued success.