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Irish recruiting efforts move forward despite loss

| Friday, November 1, 2019

It was a tough week for the Irish football program on the field against Michigan, losing 45-14 in a nationally-hyped matchup watched by many, including potential recruits. There were many recruits visiting Michigan that are interested in both schools. Many in the media have suggested that losses like this one hurt teams in recruiting, and that this result will give Michigan a leg up in landing these players. Blue and Gold recruiting insider Mike Singer believes that in the long run game results like this do little to move the needle for recruits.

“Some fans have said Notre Dame might lose three or four commits because of this, but no not at all. Nothing is changing with Notre Dame’s commits,” Singer said. “It could change things with a guy who was at the game who was considering both schools seeing Michigan curb stomp Notre Dame in that fashion. There were a few guys at that game considering both schools, a couple linemen in the 2021 class. Rocco Spindler from Clarkson, Michigan, and Landon Tangwall from Olney, Maryland, from Good Counsel High School. Even with those guys, they’re just juniors in high school. There’s a lot of time for Notre Dame to make up ground with those kids. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think it’s a big deal.”

With the Michigan game in the past, the Irish will focus on putting on a good display for the recruits visiting this weekend. Perhaps most important among them is 2022 quarterback Nicco Marchiol. Marchiol is a four-star quarterback prospect out of Aurora, Colorado. If the Irish were to sign a quarterback in that class, he would be Notre Dame’s third four-star high school quarterback commit, with 2020 commit Drew Pyne and 2021 commit Tyler Buchner already slated to arrive at Notre Dame in the near future. Singer believes that the Irish committing quarterbacks early allows them to look into the future and be aggressive.

Anna Mason | The Observer
Irish junior tight end Cole Kmet celebrates after a touchdown during Notre Dame’s 14-45 loss to Michigan on Oct. 26 at Michigan Stadium.

“Drew Pyne committed in April of 2018. They get Tyler Buchner in the spring of 2019. Having those guys already committed allowed them to look at 2022 and even the freshmen guys in 2023. It’s great for Notre Dame to get these early commitments so that [quarterbacks coach Tom] Rees can go out and identify future names,” Singer said. “Nicco is one that when you put on his film you’ll see in about three plays why he got big time offers from schools across the country. I would not be surprised at all if Nicco is one of the first two quarterback offers Notre Dame gives out in that class.”

With Pyne and Buchner having major success in high school, some would wonder if the surplus of young quarterbacks will turn a prospect like Marchiol away from Notre Dame. Singer emphasized that good quarterbacks are not afraid of competition, and anyone committing to a football power like Notre Dame can expect that there will be competition once they arrive.

“Kids want to compete. If they’re going to a big-time football program there’s going to be other highly-ranked quarterback commits and on the roster,” Singer said. “If you don’t want to compete you probably don’t want to be playing at Notre Dame.”

Notre Dame will also play host to Ohio State transfer safety Isaiah Pryor. Pryor has shown significant interest in the Irish, and could be a key player in helping them prepare for life without safeties Alohi Gilman and Jalen Elliott. Pryor already officially visited for the USC game, but will come out for a second trip so that his mother can get a look at the campus. Singer believes that Pryor is close to committing to the Irish.

“Even before he visited the feeling was that Notre Dame was the leader,” Singer said. “To my knowledge he has not visited anywhere else. Recruiting has changed in the past several years, but the one thing that will always stay true in football recruiting is follow the visits. See where guys are visiting and where they’re not visiting. That gives you a really good indication of where things are at. Pryor is now taking a second visit, this one on his own dime, and he hasn’t been anywhere else. Follow the visits, and it gives you a good indication of where the kid is going.”

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