For all intents and purposes, Penn State is the leader for 4-star wide receiver Thaddeus Snodgrass, but let's examine this from Notre Dame's perspective for a moment or two.
It's worth noting that the Fighting Irish are in Snodgrass' top five (247Sports), and college football recruiting is known for being extremely unpredictable. Things can change on a dime in recruiting, and favorites can be forgotten and swapped out in the blink of an eye.
It's not over until it's over, and even after it's over and a verbal commitment is made, it's not over until signing day.
Such is the world of college football recruiting. There's always a chance until that fax is mailed in.
In regards to Snodgrass, he would be a big receiver for Notre Dame to win over. He's 6'1'', 170 pounds and ranked as the No. 18 wideout in the 2014 class according to the 247Sports Composite.
In a report via Ryan Snyder of BlueWhiteIllustrated.com, Snodgrass was very open about what he liked about Penn State, and the Nittany Lions are No. 1 on his top five with the Fighting Irish checking in at three:
After originally planning on making a decision in early November, the four-star wide receiver took some time to reassess things over the past few months, leading him to recently name a top five of Penn State, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State, in that order.
"They've just been making a hard push and they have a great academic program," Snodgrass said when asked about the Nittany Lion program. "I've been talking to Coach Fisher mostly, but I have talked to Coach O'Brien. I also talk to Stan Hixon, but I talk to Coach Fisher the most."
Penn State undoubtedly has an advantage right now, but like I said, things can change very quickly. There's also the fact that Snodgrass wants to visit all the schools in his top five, per Snyder's report:
As far as making any kind of decision, Snodgrass said that he won't rush into anything, but could have it wrapped up come summer if he feels comfortable with his favorite school. To make sure that's the case, he'd like to visit each program currently in his top five, but only has one additional visit in the works outside of Penn State.
"I'm going to one of Michigan State's spring practices, I don't know when. The only junior day I know I'll be at is Penn State."
The first thing Notre Dame will have to do is get him on campus somehow. Whether it be for a practice or for a junior day, just seeing South Bend and Notre Dame's campus should be a really good draw. The fact that he wants to take these visits is a great sign.
Objectively speaking, both programs have nice campuses and very good academics, so the Fighting Irish can compete with Penn State in regards to both of those factors.
Snodgrass did say that Penn State's current scholarship situation didn't really bother him (per Snyder), but in the end, this is where Notre Dame could find the ultimate advantage. It may not bother him all that much at least right now, but the loss of scholarships also means that Penn State won't be able to surround Snodgrass with many other great players.
The Nittany Lions can do a great job of recruiting quality over quantity, but at its very core football is still a game of attrition, and numbers and depth often play a huge role in winning.
Also, the other thing the Fighting Irish can offer Snodgrass that the Nittany Lions cannot is the chance to win those big games that Penn State won't be able to play in due to their sanctions.
Say what you will, but I will always have a hard time believing that a top-notch athlete doesn't want to win huge games and ultimately compete for championships. Notre Dame is a championship level program.
Penn State won't be one for quite a while.
Ultimately, that's the Fighting Irish's best pitch if they want to overcome Penn State for the eventual commitment of Snodgrass. They can offer him the chance to compete for national championships on a yearly basis. If he's any sort of competitor, that should give the Fighting Irish a good chance to at least make things interesting for Penn State once Snodgrass is ready to make a decision.
It may even give them an edge when all is said and done.
He's a big-time wideout recruit and he has interest in the Fighting Irish, so Notre Dame needs to at least give it a try.