Notre Dame Football: Will Irish Finish with a Top 5 Recruiting Class in 2013?

Randy ChambersAnalyst IJanuary 28, 2013

Jan 7, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly looks dejected on the sidelines against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2013 BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame is putting together a magnificent 2013 recruiting class and it has the ability to improve greatly over the next couple of weeks. With national signing day quickly approaching, recruits are putting the finishing touches on the recruiting process and eliminating all of the schools they are no longer interested in.

We are entering the home stretch and these are the moments that could either make or break an overall class.

Already near the top of most recruiting websites, Notre Dame could be in danger of not finishing with a Top Five recruiting class when it is all said and done.

Here’s why.

Where Notre Dame Ranks at the Moment

Even if the Irish don't end up with a single recruit from here on out, the current recruiting class is one of the best in the country. With 23 commitments, most top recruiting sites have this team as a Top Five recruiting class already. Scout considers this class to be No. 2 in the country, Rivals is in the same boat, ESPN has Notre Dame at No. 3 and 247Sports has the Irish the lowest with a No. 6 spot.

Regardless of which one you believe to be the most accurate, there is no arguing that this is already a solid group of players. Jaylon Smith is the prized recruit from this class and will be an impact player immediately on the defensive side of the ball with his athleticism. Running back Greg Bryant has the potential to be the starter from day one when he steps on campus. And safety Max Redfield fills an area of need for the Irish in a secondary that is still fairly young.

With plenty of top recruits and guys that can make an impact right away, Notre Dame is in great position regardless of what happens come national signing day. However, the class can always improve, and there are still some big fish out there that head coach Brian Kelly and his staff are trying to reel in.

What Notre Dame Can Do to Improve

Notre Dame just had a bunch of top recruits visit the campus and the commitments of those kids will determine the outcome of the final ranking. The top uncommitted player that the Irish are putting all of their chips on the table for is defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes. With his ability to play anywhere on the line and the overwhelming need for dominant defensive linemen, it would be a big splash if the Irish can add him to the mix.

Notre Dame is also trying to take advantage of USC losing a few of its recruits. Already losing out on Sebastian LaRue, who committed to Texas A&M, Notre Dame is still in the running for Kylie Fitts, who also recently checked out the campus.

Other players who seem to have at least a minor interest in suiting up for the Irish are Deon Hollins. He is another versatile defensive player who is committed to UCLA, but was absolutely blown away by his recent visit to South Bend.

And while all of those recruits are still up in the air, Notre Dame has already landed one of the recruits that visited during the weekend, in 4-star tight end Durham Smythe. If that is a sign of things to come, this class could in fact drastically improve and we could be talking about a No. 1 overall class.

However, the likelihood of all of those commits coming to Notre Dame seems likely unlikely at the moment. 

Where the Irish Will End Up

Well, Irish fans can probably write Vanderdoes off the list. Not only does he have a visit lined up with Alabama later this week, but he is a West Coast kid that will likely commit to a school such as USC or UCLA. He is a former Trojans commit and will probably remain in the area when he makes his final decision on national signing day. It is nice to think Notre Dame could pull off the upset, but his heart seems to remain with USC and that probably isn't going to change.

As for Fitts, he says Notre Dame has grown on him since his visit to South Bend, but according to his page on 247Sports, USC remains the favorite there as well. The visit made a huge impact on Hollins, but it is tough to imagine him leaving UCLA this late in the process. If so, it would be a gigantic victory for the Irish down the stretch.

Overall, it appears that Notre Dame has made all of its major moves before national signing day. This is why I have the team in danger of falling out of the Top Five when it comes to the 213 recruiting rankings. However, regardless of what happens in the next couple of weeks, this is a class that every Irish fan should be proud of.