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‘There are rules you have to follow’: Brian Kelly details difficulty of ND football recruiting

| Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Allison Thornton | The Observer
Former Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly gives a postgame interview after the Irish beat Stanford 45-14 in Palo Alto on Nov. 27, 2021.

Brian Kelly highlighted the challenges he faced recruiting at Notre Dame in an interview on SiriusXM College Sports Radio on Monday.

Kelly, who was in Nashville, Tennessee for SEC Media Days, first said recruiting is more laid back at LSU.

“Well, I don’t have to wear a tie every day at the job if you know what I mean. It’s a little bit more relaxed from that perspective,” he said. “That’s not good or bad, but there is a much more relaxed [feeling] because you’re in the south. You’re around people that are easy to get along with.”

At Notre Dame, there are more recruiting rules to follow, he explained.

“Not that they were hard to get along with, but there are rules you have to follow in an environment like Notre Dame. And you can’t cross those lines. So there is a little bit of a difference there,” he said.

Recruiting for a football program with a national reach like Notre Dame took away from player development, Kelly said.

“I had to be on a plane and I had to pull the best player out of California, out of Texas, out of New Jersey. I don’t have to do that at LSU,” he said. “The best player in the state of Louisiana, if we do a really good job recruiting him, he wants to be a Tiger. That’s a difference that, more than anything else, allows you to really focus on what’s important within your program and that is the state of Louisiana and player development.”

Kelly also said LSU is the only place he has had the opportunity to become a fan and feel like he is part of a family.

“The environment that’s created and then the welcoming of the family to it, it becomes like— I’ve never done this before. I became a fan,” Kelly said. “I don’t know what a fan is like, right? I usually have them throw stuff at me. But to go sit with my wife and my family at a baseball game and watch it and be a fan is something I’ve never had in my career.”

This year’s Notre Dame football commits include 19 four-star recruits, per 247 Sports, from across the U.S., including Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Ohio, Massachusetts, California, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey and Kansas.

Recruiting websites On3 and 247 Sports ranked Notre Dame’s 2023 class 10th and 12th in the country, respectively. The sites ranked LSU’s class 5th and 6th.

Head coach Marcus Freeman also secured enrollment for transfer quarterback Sam Hartman from Wake Forest. Hartman notched an ACC record 21 total 300-yard passing games in his five years at Wake Forest.

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