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The 2023 Class: Who's Next?

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

Written By Liam Gaudet, Senior Editor


Marcus Freeman put the college football world on notice once he was appointed head coach last December. The hire breathed new life into a program that seemed to be going through the motions over the last few seasons, both on the field and on the recruiting trail. Of course, we can’t ignore the success this program has experienced, but it seemed like wasted potential as opposed to a program on the rise. With the departure of Brian Kelly, Notre Dame gambled on a first time head coach, and if you ask me - it’s paying dividends already. Marcus Freeman was highly touted and sought after by multiple programs, but he decided to stay loyal to the program that initially bought into his ideas. With that new energy, the success has transferred onto the recruiting trail, and as fans, we are in uncharted territory with the talent Notre Dame is bringing to South Bend. Marcus Freeman has broken the Brian Kelly adage of “We shop down a different aisle” by landing multiple top-50 recruits, and he isn’t satisfied yet. Keon Keely, Drayk Bowen, Brennan Vernon and Peyton Bowen spearhead a class that is never traditionally top-heavy. There are plenty of reasons to feel optimistic, however, there are still some very large keys missing in order to establish this class as one of the best ever.


Notre Dame Target Dante Moore

Photo By Sports Illustrated



I’m not going to waste time dancing around what everyone within the program has been talking about for months on end. We need a quarterback, and an elite one at that. Dante Moore has been rumored to be the guy since his visit on March 28th. A top-10 player and 5-star out of Michigan, Moore has all the intangibles to be the next great quarterback. ON3 gave Notre Dame an 88% chance to land Moore after his visit. Many believed he was already a silent commit, but this wasn’t the reality we were hoping for. Moore has since taken visits to schools like LSU, Oregon and Michigan, who are slowly clawing back into the race. As it stands today, ON3 gives Notre Dame a 37% chance of landing Moore, which is still higher than any other school heavily recruiting the talented signal caller. At this point, I have no idea what is going on with his recruitment. As a fan of this program for a long time, I’ve been conditioned to not expect a lot when we’re in the conversation for a big time player, but things just feel different under a new leader who prides himself on his ability to recruit. Not to mention the effort offensive coordinator Tommy Rees has been putting in to build a strong relationship with Moore, along with other key targets. At this point, all I know is Moore needs to get back on campus so the staff can make another strong push. Until Notre Dame can establish that, I fear it may be anyone's race to win.


Notre Dame Target Christian Gray

Photo by 247 Sports


In any game, I always cringe when I see an opposing quarterback drop back to pass. Mainly because Notre Dame always seems to lack strong play in the secondary, specifically at corner. My hopes and dreams of building a strong corner class were dashed when Justyn Rhett announced that he would be decommitting from Notre Dame a few months ago. Rhett is a physical corner with good speed and is a dominant presence, so losing a very good prospect at a position of desperate need was a really big blow. The good news is Notre Dame still has a plethora of talent on the board at this stage. Micah Bell, Christian Gray and Micah Tease are all being recruited at the position, and are rated as 4 star players. Although they may not possess the high floor that Rhett does, they are more talented than what Notre Dame is used to at that position. Landing at least two of these players would put my mind at ease, and will hopefully provide more stability than anything else we could hope for at this point. You might be noticing a theme at this point, as the positions I have discussed this far are arguably the most uncertain on the roster currently. This theme will continue, as I take a look at the disaster of a wide-receiver room and how that can be changed. Things got off to an incredible start for the 2023 receiver class, as Notre Dame appeared to be in prime position to land 5-star Carnell Tate out of IMG. That all changed, however, as schools like Tennessee entered the conversation for Tate, and Ohio State gained more ground back in the recruitment. As it stands today, there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that the Irish can win this recruitment. Recently, Notre Dame managed to haul in an extremely talented player in Braylon James, a top-75 player with length and speed. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him starting his freshman season with the physical tools he possesses. James is limited by the less than stellar play from his offense in highschool, but his talent shines through regardless. Additionally, Notre Dame is a major player for 4-star receiver Rico Flores Jr., who is expected to commit on July 3rd. A big target in Rodney Gallagher recently committed to West Virginia, so hopefully Notre Dame continues to make a push for Flores. Finally, Christian Hamilton, Jaden Greathouse and Ronan Hanifan are currently projected Irish leads that could round out a solid receiver class.

It may take some time for these elite recruiting plans to come to fruition, but I can see some of these players listed going in a different direction. I am confident in Marcus Freeman and Tommy Rees’ relentless approach in recruiting, and as a fan it’s hard for me to stay patient on some of these commitments, as they will likely shape the future of this program for years to come. I would like to see these commitments happen sooner rather than later, in hopes that we can use them as a snowball effect that will cause more recruits to roll into South Bend. One thing I know for sure is that Freeman isn’t going to give up until signing day, and that’s something that should comfort all of us.

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