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Georgia game could provide Irish with recruiting sway

| Friday, September 20, 2019

As No. 7 Notre Dame gears up for arguably its biggest matchup of the year and arguably the biggest college football matchup of the 2019-2020 season, the recruiting efforts of the Irish trudge on for the class of 2021 — and even still for the class of 2020. 

That being said, much of the major goals of Notre Dame’s recruiting efforts for the high school class of 2020 have been solved, according to Blue and Gold Illustrated recruiting analyst Mike Singer. 

“The thing about Notre Dame is that [it] locked up a high majority of its 2020 class over the summer,” Singer said. “So, headed into July, Notre Dame already knew what it had in 2020 and already had a really good head start on 2021. I would say really in the past couple of months, there’s really nothing that’s … changed on the board for the 2021 class. So, there’s not really a different focus. This staff knows what it wants to accomplish, and it’s headed down that direction.”

There still is a big prospective who the Irish are fighting for, however, Singer said, and he remains on Notre Dame’s board as the bulk of the 2019-2020 season approaches. 

“For this upcoming signing class in 2020, the name on the board that’s the most realistic that they’re going to get — because, again, they have very limited spots left — is Ramon Henderson from Bakersfield, California, Liberty High School. … He is a defensive back,” Singer said. “He is expected to visit officially on the Virginia weekend. … So he’s certainly a guy that the staff is working on. Oklahoma and UCLA also like him. Rivals[.com] lists Henderson as a receiver, but the Irish are looking at him as a defensive back, likely at corner.”

But more specifically, this weekend presents an interesting opportunity for the Notre Dame recruiting staff. One would assume the outcome of Notre Dame’s national marquees matchup this weekend will impact the attitudes of current prospects and future prospects alike who are considering Notre Dame. Furthermore, Notre Dame has tried to increase its recruiting presence in the South, which is predictably dominated by SEC powerhouse programs, like Georgia. Freshman safety Kyle Hamilton, from Atlanta, Georgia, is evidence of this trend. So, there is much at stake this weekend as far as recruiting goes.”

Ann Curtis | The Observer
Irish freshman safety Kyle Hamilton returns an interception for a touchdown during Notre Dame’s 66-14 win over New Mexico on Sep. 14. Hamilton, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, was highly highly recruited by both the Irish and Bulldogs.

That being said, as Mike explained, the outcome of this game will likely not have a major end-all-be-all impact on future recruits from the South and beyond. 

“I think that if Notre Dame goes in there and beats Georgia, I think that it will have a positive impact,” Singer said. “[But] let’s say Notre Dame gets one of these kids [from Georgia]. The Georgia-Notre Dame game, whether Notre Dame wins or loses, is not going to be one of those top three or four deciding factors. It’s just not. I think it could have a positive impact, like ‘Wow, Notre Dame went in there and beat Georgia,’ for some of these Georgia kids. Not just even kids from Georgia, but kids on a national scale looking at Notre Dame. Like, ‘Oh dang, look at Notre Dame, I might want to look at them a little more.’ But I don’t think it’s going to be a deciding factor whether they win or lose.”

There will be a few potential recruits in Athens this weekend, however, and this could certainly add another dynamic to what’s at stake for Notre Dame’s recruiting efforts.

“There are going to be some guys who Notre Dame is recruiting who are going to be at the game this weekend,” Singer said. “The biggest guy being Deon Colzie from Athens Academy, so right there in Georgia’s backyard. But Notre Dame is really after him. He’s a 2021 receiver. So, that could be a situation where this will be his first time seeing Notre Dame in person. … that could definitely have a positive impact. But if Notre Dame loses close, it’s kind of a — for lack of a better term — a wash. If Notre Dame gets embarrassed at Georgia, I wouldn’t be too concerned, because you have a long season ahead of you, still. So, I don’t think that the game, whether it’s good or bad for Notre Dame, will have some huge effect on recruiting, that’s just my personal opinion.

All in all, with a 2020 recruiting class largely rounded out, and its eyes on the horizon for a successful 2021 class, Notre Dame will head into Athens this weekend with an opportunity to make some noise on the national recruiting stage.

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