ND Moves to #1 in Recruiting

…with a but.

Last week I wrote about how the recruiting momentum has shifted dramatically in Notre Dame’s favor now that the season is over; this week ESPN moved ND up to number one in its recruiting rankings:

“Notre Dame, with seven ESPN 150 verbal commitments, moves to No. 1 in Tom Luginbill’s Class of ’07 recruiting rankings. Notre Dame moves to No. 1 because they are meeting needs at crucial positions like cornerback, defensive end, wide receiver and quarterback. All are areas of concern for the Fighting Irish heading into the 2007 season. Wide receiver Greg Little (Durham, N.C./Hillside), quarterback Jimmy Clausen (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian), defensive end Kerry Neal (Bunn, N.C.) and cornerback Gary Gray (Columbia, S.C./Richland Northeast) all will have a significant opportunity to contribute as freshman.”

What’s behind the surge?

First off, great planning by the staff to get on these kids early.

Second, great hustle. Weis went out on the road once the USC debacle was in the books.

Third, Notre Dame traditionally does well once the hype of the season settles and the reality hits kids that most Army All-American recruits never make the NFL. When Notre Dame has a good coach, and it does, Notre Dame will recruit well. Charlie has the NFL experience and connections kids covet, ND has a national TV contract and facilities and the University offers an education (and more importantly the support) that is unmatched by any top football school. When the hype and the salesmanship die down and kids are able to discern the important from the unimportant, that package becomes hard to beat.

Here’s a list of the top 150. The kids in the blue are Notre Dame commits, the kids in the green are kids Notre Dame is pursuing.

1 Jimmy Clausen QB CA 91 Notre Dame
2 Christopher Galippo ILB CA 90 USC
3 Marc Tyler RB CA 89 USC
4 Will Korn QB SC 87 Clemson
5 Noel Devine RB FL 87 None
6 Michael McNeil S AL 86 None
7 Martez Wilson DE IL 86 None
8 Eric Berry CB GA 86 None
9 Marshall Jones S CA 85 USC
10 Terrance Toliver WR TX 85 None
11 Marvin Austin DT DC 85 None
12 Brian Maddox RB SC 85 South Carolina
13 Tyrod Taylor QB VA 85 None
14 Gary Gray CB SC 84 South Carolina
15 Arrelious Benn WR DC 84 None
16 Golden Tate CB TN 84 None
17 J.R. Hemmingway WR SC 84 None
18 Trey Allen OT TX 84 Texas
19 John Chiles QB TX 84 Texas
20 Christian Scott S TX 84 None
21 Joe McKnight RB LA 84 None
22 Kerry Neal DE NC 84 Notre Dame
23 Israel Troupe WR GA 83 None
24 Josh Oglesby OT WI 83 Wisconsin
25 Greg Little WR NC 83 None
26 Chris Rainey RB FL 83 Florida
27 D. J. Stafford DT GA 83 None
28 Deonte Thompson WR FL 82 None
29 Allen Bailey DE GA 82 None
30 Phelon Jones CB AL 82 Miami (FL)
31 Dwight Jones WR NC 82 North Carolina
32 John Brown DT FL 82 None
33 Dez Bryant WR TX 82 None
34 Mike Ragone TE NJ 82 Notre Dame
35 Lee Chambers RB MS 82 Mississippi State
36 Austin Box S OK 82 Oklahoma
37 Logan Gray QB MO 82 None
38 Major Wright S FL 82 None
39 Richetti Jones DE TX 82 None
40 Domonique Herald S NJ 82 None
41 Chris Forcier QB CA 82 UCLA
42 James Wilson OG FL 82 None
43 Kevin Bryant OT FL 82 None
44 Antwain Easterling RB FL 82 None
45 Stephen Garcia QB FL 81 None
46 Lennon Creer RB TX 81 None
47 Dewey Elliot ILB OH 81 None
48 Caleb King RB GA 81 None
49 John Brantley QB FL 81 Texas
50 Aaron Hernandez TE CT 81 Florida
51 Aaron Corp QB CA 81 USC
52 Duval Kamara WR NJ 81 Notre Dame
53 Mark Barnes WR SC 81 None
54 Tim Lamb DT FL 81 None
55 Ryan Mallett QB TX 81 Michigan
56 Ryan Miller OT CO 81 None
57 Harland Gunn OG NE 81 Miami (FL)
58 D’Angelo McCray TE FL 81 Florida
59 Keenan Robinson OLB TX 81 Texas
60 Tydreke Powell DT NC 81 None
61 Ben Martin DE OH 81 None
62 Martin Coleman OT CA 81 USC
63 Jerimy Finch S IN 81 Michigan
64 Apiata Tuihlamaka DE CA 81 None
65 Lee Ziemba OT AR 81 None
66 Kerry Murphy DT AL 81 None
67 Dionte Allen CB MI 81 None
68 Mike Paulus QB NY 81 North Carolina
69 Jamire Williams CB FL 81 None
70 Jonathan Dwyer RB GA 81 None
71 Jerry Howard DE FL 81 Florida
72 Ronald Johnson CB MI 81 None
73 Pat Bostick QB PA 80 Pittsburgh
74 Ted Laurent DT GA 80 Mississippi
75 Ben Wells CB TX 80 Texas
76 William Vlachos OG AL 80 Alabama
77 Brandon Paul WR FL 80 None
78 Chris Strong ILB MS 80 Mississippi
79 Torrey Davis DT FL 80 None
80 Sidell Corley Jr. DE AL 80 Florida
81 Matt Romine OT OK 80 None
82 Donovan Warren CB CA 80 None
83 Ryan Pugh OC AL 80 Auburn
84 Gerald Jones CB OK 80 None
85 Roderick Davis WR TN 80 None
86 Eugene Clifford S OH 80 None
87 Derek Stephens OLB TX 80 Texas A&M
88 Todd Campbell WR TN 80 Tennessee
89 Chris Culliver S NC 80 North Carolina State
90 Mike Williams S CA 80 None
91 Clint Brewster QB CO 80 None
92 Trinton Sturdivant OT NC 80 Georgia
93 Armando Allen RB FL 80 None
94 Bryan Bulaga OT IL 80 Iowa
95 Curtis Brown WR TX 80 Texas
96 Chris Donald OLB TN 80 None
97 Ahmard Howard TE TX 80 Texas
98 Malcolm Williams S TX 80 Texas
99 Mark Dell WR MI 79 None
100 Conrad Obi DE GA 79 Georgia
101 Rolando Melancon DT LA 79 None
102 Bo Williams RB FL 79 None
103 DaJohn Harris DT CA 79 None
104 Everson Griffen DE AZ 79 None
105 John Clay RB WI 79 None
106 Michael Keck DE MO 79 None
107 Kamar Aiken WR FL 79 None
108 Kenny Rowe DE CA 79 None
109 Christian Ballard TE KS 79 Kansas
110 Anthony Davis OG NJ 79 None
111 Chaz Ramsey OC MS 79 Auburn
112 Rob Gronkowski TE NY 79 None
113 Luther Davis DE LA 79 None
114 Derrius Bell CB TX 79 None
115 Ian Williams DT FL 79 None
116 Justin Trattou DE NJ 79 Notre Dame
117 Quantavius Sturdivant S NC 79 None
118 Bradley Stephens RB TX 79 Texas A&M
119 Chris Perry DT TX 79 Miami (FL)
120 Michael Huey OG TX 79 Texas
121 Kyle Hix OT TX 79 Texas
122 Travian Robertson DE NC 79 None
123 Devon Torrence RB OH 79 None
124 Stefen Wisniewski OC PA 79 None
125 Jarett Lee QB TX 79 Louisiana State
126 Raymond Carter RB CA 79 UCLA
127 Colton Johnson RB TX 79 Texas
128 Nick Sukay WR PA 79 Penn State
129 Devon Still OT DE 79 None
130 Morgan Burnett WR GA 79 None
131 Robert Hughes RB IL 79 None
132 Michael Ebbitt DE CA 79 None
133 Doug Wiggins CB FL 79 None
134 Manny Abreu OLB NJ 79 None
135 Ahmad Paige WR LA 79 None
136 Scotty Cooper OLB SC 79 Clemson
137 Todderick Bajoie WR LA 79 Louisiana State
138 Chris Little OT GA 79 None
139 Pat Lazear ILB MD 79 None
140 Javario Burkes OT AZ 79 None
141 Charles White OLB SC 79 Georgia
142 Brian Smith ILB KS 79 None
143 Maurice Williams S PA 79 None
144 Brandon Gibson WR AL 79 None
145 Nick Claytor OT GA 79 None
146 Ryan Houston RB NC 79 North Carolina
147 Marcus Mendoza RB TX 79 None
148 Alphonso Bryant WR FL 79 None
149 Rolando McClain ILB AL 79 Alabama
150 Chris Jacobson OG PA 79 Pittsburgh

Does this mean ND will finish #1 in recruiting? No. But it does mean that this staff knows how to sell the school and after back to back BCS seasons, Notre Dame is in good position to finish in the top five. The key is going to be closing strong on the defensive side of the ball and finding some defensive tackles. The Irish have recruited exactly ONE true defensive tackle in the last THREE years. Read that again: ONE true defensive tackle in the last THREE years.

All the speed in the world ain’t going to matter if your defense is starting every play a yard off the line of scrimmage.

~ The Rock.

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