Feb 11, 2009

The State of Recruiting 2009

The 2009 recruiting class is formed and it's time to bring you the 3rd annual "State of Recruiting" post. This has always been a fun post for me because I really enjoy seeing how this team is molded together from all the corners of the country.

Before I continue, I have a few thoughts that I need to get off of my chest. Fuck Andy Staples, fuck CNN, and fuck SI. Why such vulgarity towards these individuals? Well it's touchy. But simply put... that motherfucker stole this shit. Andy Staples published an article called The State of Recruiting. Nothing wrong with that, lots of websites and blogs use that title- especially this time of the year. The way in which he used it, is essentially fucked. He took my idea of making a map and plotting recruits on the map while using the title of the post to be used in the most literal form, and ran with it. I guess posting stuff on a blog for over two years, doesn't make me a source- just a tool of plagiarism for the media. (I realize that this sounds bitchy, and I agree. But the war between the mainstream media and bloggers is a bloody battle that has been fought for a number of years now. You couldn't... at least change the title Andy?)

Now that I got that off of my chest...

The Fighting Irish are represented by 26 different states on this roster as it pertains to the scholarship players. That number is quite remarkable. Historically, Notre Dame was forced to recruit nationally out of necessity, due to the small number of elite prospects in Indiana. That necessity has evolved into something else entirely. I've talked about pipelines in this post for the past two years, and it can't be stated enough... these things matter. Notre Dame is firmly entrenched in some major recruiting hotspots from around the country and if the program is going to reach the pinnacle of success on the field, they need to continue this trend of recruiting. Obviously, the Irish have a hard time swaying some prospects from "Big state U" and they have an academic requirement that is much higher than those schools, but they work as hard as any school in the country at bringing talent to South Bend- and those dividends should really be paying back this year.

So without further poor writing, I give you the map: I beefed up the recruiting map this year due to the CNN article. The red placemarks are the 2009 class, while the blue placemarks are from the previous classes that are still members of the Fighting Irish Football team. The green placemarks are part of the 2010 class. Sometime in the next month at so, I will take the placemarks and turn the red into blue and the green into red... like an artist. Like the Eligibility Charts, this recruiting map will be another tool for all of you to keep checking in on. You're welcome- all 5 of you.

View Larger Map

Basically, you can see a pattern that Weis and Notre dame have developed over the years. Southern Florida, Southern California, and along highway 80/90 from the Chicagoland area to the east coast.

The following is a breakdown of the top states for sheer numbers and their average star rating for the players, according to Scout.com. This is the Elite 8.

1. Florida

  • 9 players.
  • Average Star Rating......... 3.55
  • Most Notable......... Sam Young (5*), Armando Allen (4*), Ian Williams (3*)
  • Biggest Loss......... Maurice Crum (3* LB) Captain
  • Newcomers......... Jordan Cowart (2* LS), Ben Turk (3* P), Zeke Motta (4* LB)
  • 2008 Ranking- #1 (8 players / 3.62 Average Star Rating)
  • The King for the last few years. Florida continues to be a well of talent from which Weis can draw from. After a 2008 that saw zero recruits from the Sunshine State, Notre Dame grabbed 3 prospects for 2009. The two specialists helped knock the A.S.R. down a bit, but they are needed prospects if the Irish wish to keep improving their special teams units. Zeke Motta was a huge grab at LB that some analysts think could have an immediate impact on the 2009 team. Only 3 players in the past two years, is not a good trend. Unless Weis can win over some Floridian talent for the 2010 class, Florida may be in danger of plummeting in the rankings. That would be catastrophic for a program like Notre Dame.

2. Illinois

  • 8 players.
  • A.S.R.......... 3.63
  • Most Notable......... Sergio Brown (4*), Robert Hughes (4*), Darius Fleming (4*)
  • Biggest Loss......... NONE
  • Newcomers......... Chris Watt (5* OG)
  • 2008 Ranking- #4 ( 7/3.71)
  • Notre Dame is making huge strides in a pipeline state that should always produce top talent for the program. Illinois hovered at the #4 ranking in 2007 and 2008, but in 2009 they climb to the #2 spot after picking up 5 star lineman Chris Watt. The A.S.R. took a dip, but that was mainly due to the addition of Mike Anello, for whom I could only grant one star after being unable to find any info on him in the recruiting database. Most Irish fans have been crying out for Notre dame to put a fence around the state of Illinois, and Chicago in particular, for its top players. They are on the right track to do that once again for the 2010 class, and I see Illinois threatening to take the #1 spot next year.

3. Ohio

  • 8 players.
  • A.S.R.......... 3.37
  • Most Notable......... Kyle McCarthy (2*), Kyle Rudolph (5*), Brandon Walker (3*)
  • Biggest Loss......... David Bruton (3* S) Captain
  • Newcomers......... Dan Fox (3* LB)
  • 2008 Ranking- #2 ( 8/3.37)
  • Ohio is littered with talent. The problem is that we are not getting enough of it to help out. While the number of prospects is very high, the level of talent isn't on par. Notre Dame still has trouble competing with Ohio State for the elite prospects in the state of Ohio. This isn't to say that there is no good talent coming from the Buckeye state, it just means that Notre Dame still needs to improve. Dan Fox is a nice addition and if he develops like David Bruton, another Ohio 3 star, than he should do well for himself and the football team.

4. California

  • 7 players
  • A.S.R.......... 4.29
  • Most Notable......... Jimmy Clausen (5*), Dayne Crist (5*), Anthony McDonald (4*)
  • Biggest Loss......... Will Yeatman (3* TE) Transfer
  • Newcomers......... Shaq Evans (4* WR), Cierre Wood (4* RB)
  • 2008 Ranking- #3 (7/4.14)
  • For having such a high star rating with as many players as California provides to the Irish, it's hard to not just say that they are the #1 state. But, that's not exactly how I rank them, and of all the players, only Jimmy Clausen is making a significant contribution. I expect that to change next year as Irish fans await the arrival of Evans and Wood. Steve Wiltfong of Irish Eyes said on a recent Power Hour, that ND is becoming the "other" state university of California after U$C, and UCLA. Notre dame isn't coming out of California with 3 star players- they're 5 star and high 4 star caliber recruits. This is important is so many ways for the future of the program. The 2010 class is off to a good start after the commitment of 5* Chris Martin, so look for California to challenge for the top spot in 2010 along with Illinois and Florida.

5. New Jersey

  • 6 players.
  • A.S.R.......... 3.83
  • Most Notable......... Duval Kamara (4*), Mike Ragone (4*)
  • Biggest Loss......... Steve Quinn (3* LB I think he lived in Jersey, but went to school in Pennsylvania?)
  • Newcomers......... Carlo Calabrese (4* LB), Theo Riddick (4* RB), Tyler Stockton (4* DT)
  • 2008 Ranking- #7 (4/3.5)
  • Notre Dame keeps improving its presence in the home state of Charlie Weis. There is always a good amount of top talent in the Garden State, and the Irish are trying to get all it can. Notre Dame lost out on Nyshier Oliver (4* WR) at the end, but they still came away with three 4 star prospects. This trend will continue as long as Weis has anything to do about it. Look for yet another jump in the standings next year, with none of the Jersey guys scheduled to leave ND after the 2009 season.

6. Indiana

  • 6 players.
  • A.S.R.......... 3.66
  • Most Notable......... James Aldridge (5*), John Goodman (4*)
  • Biggest Loss......... Luke Schmidt (4* FB) Medical
  • Newcomers......... Tyler Eifert (3* TE), Zach Martin (4* OT)
  • 2008 Ranking- #5 (7/3.43)
  • Indiana has been a surprise to me since I started doing this two years ago. Maybe they shouldn't be. The Hoosier state doesn't pump out large numbers of top-flight prospects that other states may produce, but it still has 3-4 recruits every year that can excel at the next level. I've been shouting about Ft. Wayne having the talent that Notre Dame is looking for, and that city sent 5 kids to big schools this year- including Tyler Eifert. Indiana doesn't have to provide 10-15 top end kids a year for Notre Dame with the national recruiting that the Irish feed on, but 2-3 prospects in the state is a nice amount to rely on in yearly basis. Notre Dame is off to a good start with 4 star WR, Daniel Smith. A couple more, and they'll be set.

7. Tennessee

  • 4 players.
  • A.S.R.......... 4.00
  • Most Notable......... Golden Tate (4*), Harrison Smith (4*)
  • Biggest Loss......... NONE
  • Newcomers......... Alex Bullard
  • 2008 Ranking- Not Ranked
  • The newcomer to the Elite 8 is Tennessee. In essence, it knocked Georgia out of the rankings with more productive players and a higher Average Star ranking. Weis is doing a tremendous job of securing the best talent that Tennessee has to offer like no other coach before him at Notre Dame has done. With Kiffin taking over for Fulmer, I'm sure that he would like to put that fence around the state (and cheat and lie about others cheating). However, with the relationships that Weis and the staff are forming with the schools in this state and the caliber of players already at ND from the state- Notre dame should continue this trend and keep Tennessee in these rankings.

8. Pennsylvania

  • 4 players.
  • A.S.R.......... 3.25
  • Most Notable......... Darrin Walls (4*), Steve Paskorz (3*)
  • Biggest Loss......... Mike Turkovich (4* OT)
  • Newcomers......... EJ Banks (3* CB)
  • 2008 Ranking- #8 (4/3.50)
  • We need help in Pennsylvania. What was once fertile recruiting grounds for the Fighting Irish, is now just a modest handful of players. Ohio State, Penn State, and Pittsburgh have really been pushing the Irish out of western PA. Notre Dame must do a better job of securing signatures from the homeland of Joe Montana, Raghib Ismail, and Ricky Watters. With some work and some luck, Notre Dame may end up with more than a couple commits from the Keystone State.


Anonymous said...

Ismail was from Newark, NJ

SubwayDomer26 said...

Ismail was born in Elizabeth NJ (same town as Hafis Williams)- this is true,but the Rocket grew up in Wilkes-Barre, PA. and went to high school at Elmer L. Meyers High in PA.

jim masterson said...

good work subway domer.
a must read.

SubwayDomer26 said...

Thanks Jim. Glad you liked it.