Ties to ACC impact recruiting
Chris Allen | Thursday, September 13, 2012
Notre Dame’s announcement of a move to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) may have been nominally in all sports except football, but the commitment to play five games per year against ACC opponents has sweeping effects, Irish recruiting analyst Mike Frank said.
The move gives Notre Dame increased exposure in the talent-rich states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The current Irish roster boasts 23 players from the nine other states that will make up the ACC when the Irish join in non-football sports.
“If Notre Dame was going to make a move, this move to the ACC is by far, and I want to stress, by far, the best move that they could have made when it comes to Notre Dame football and Notre Dame recruiting in football,” said Frank, who runs the ESPN-affiliated Irish Sports Daily. “There are a lot of reasons for that. The recruiting potential Notre Dame will have in the south, southeast and mid-Atlantic regions is huge. All those high schools up and down the East Coast have been very good to Notre Dame over the years and really recently, when you have players like [junior linebacker] Prince Shembo, [freshman linebacker] Romeo Okwara, [former cornerback] Robert Blanton, [sophomore quarterback] Everett Golson and [freshman wide receiver] Chris Brown.
“Even the [Washington] D.C area is somewhere where Notre Dame has done pretty well in the past but could do a lot better. This move opens that area up for the Irish.”
The promise of an increased presence in Florida against ACC teams Florida State and Miami gives Notre Dame a foothold in one of the nation’s premier hotbeds of talent. 30 of the top 150 players in the 2013 recruiting class – according to ESPN – hail from Florida.
“You want to be very strong in Florida. You’re going to play Florida State and you’re going to play Miami, which will get you in that area quite a bit,” Frank said. “In Georgia, you’ll have Georgia Tech who’s sticking around in the ACC also. Atlanta is a hotbed of talent. It just gives Notre Dame a lot of exposure.”
Though the tie-in to the ACC increased Notre Dame’s potential on the East Coast, Frank said built-in scheduling flexibility gives the Irish the ability to continue recruiting nationally.
“Because they’re not full-time members, they still have the ability to play some games out on the West Coast, and if you can play a game against a Texas school, that would help in the Big 12 area,” he said. “The Big 12 and the Big Ten never really made sense to me in terms of a move, because Notre Dame already has a physical presence in the Big Ten due to being in that region, and they’ve never really had that much success recruiting in the Big 12 area.
“[Notre Dame Director of Athletics] Jack Swarbrick did an absolutely masterful job with this move, in checking out all of the landscape and coming up with what the best possible scenario is.”
For more on Notre Dame recruiting, check out Mike Frank’s irishsportsdaily.com