If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, do that now.
In Part 2, we’re comparing numbers. To start, how has Notre Dame compared on the recruiting trail to its direct market competitors? (In Part 1 we defined the market as Ohio State, Michigan, Stanford and USC)
Using 247sports.com composite team rankings, here are the ranks for each recruiting class:[table “” not found /]
* Stanford only signed 13 players in 2013.
I think the rankings draw out what we all probably thought to be true: Notre Dame and Stanford are peers; both are trying to punch above their weight with the other three. (Michigan’s Rich Rod and Brady Hoke disaster aside, Jim Harbaugh is recruiting at a level UM faithful expect.)
How about on the field? Again, let’s check the record book:[table “” not found /]
In terms of wins and losses, Notre Dame is in the middle of its peer group. Two ten win seasons since 2010, same as Michigan and USC, but well behind Ohio State and Stanford — who have eclipsed 10 wins five of the last six seasons.
And lastly, how about developing players into NFL Draft material?[table “” not found /]
One thing that this chart makes remarkably clear is how rare it is for top high school talent to actually make it to the NFL. These five schools recruit “blue chip” players and more often than not sign full classes, and in any given year they place about a quarter of their draft eligible players on NFL rosters.
The other thing that recent draft history reveals is that Notre Dame is certainly able to match the top-end player development of its direct market competitors (2016 will likely rate as ND’s best year yet in terms of players drafted).
Given the qualitative assessment in Part 1 and now this quantitative breakdown, Notre Dame football from an organizational standpoint is in an extremely competitive space of the college football market. While the Irish have certainly made strides under Coach Kelly they’ve yet to differentiate themselves from the field. I’ll grant that simply catching up to its direct competitors was the goal of the first phase of the Kelly tenure at Notre Dame. But with a new six contract extension, success in the second phase will be defined by the ability of Notre Dame football to top each of these charts come 2021.