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Five-star challenge: Irish take aim at Bryant, Redfield

Nov 27, 2012, 4:53 PM EDT

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Being No. 1 in the country has its privileges.

Right now, those perks include chasing down some of the top talent in the country, something Notre Dame’s coaching staff is doing as they try and put the finishing touches on a stellar 2013 recruiting class.

There isn’t a lot of room in a class that already has 22 commitments, but that hasn’t stopped Notre Dame from chasing two elite prospects: Florida running back Greg Bryant and Southern California safety Max Redfield. Redfield received an in-home visit from Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly last night, who also caught the 6-foot-3, 200-pound safety’s basketball game. The one-time USC commit looks like he’s down to Notre Dame and Oregon, with the Irish looking in a great place.

BlueandGold.com’s Jason Sapp caught up with Redfield, who said the Irish definitely are his leader. “Notre Dame helped its chances,” Redfield told Sapp. “My parents trust my judgment and after I visited Notre Dame I told them how I felt about them, and it pretty much validated it with them getting to meet the coaches themselves.”

Meanwhile, Bryant’s name has come out of nowhere, but makes a ton of sense considering Cierre Wood looks like he’s leaning towards heading to the NFL instead of returning for a fifth season. In Bryant, the Irish are chasing one of the country’s top playmakers, as the five-star recruit is one of the top 15 players in the country, according to Rivals.com’s rankings. With Irish assistants dispatched all around the country, Tony Alford will reportedly make his sales pitch in person, before Bryant visits South Bend the weekend of December 7th, when the Irish will have their annual awards show.

From a numbers perspective, how this all works out will be interesting. Notre Dame is said to be in great shape with Al-Quadin Muhammad of Don Bosco Prep, a former teammate of freshman DB Elijah Shumate, and Notre Dame would accept the commitment of the edge player, one of their top pass rush targets. With other recruits still in play like Tarean Folston, how Notre Dame closes this class will be fun to watch.

After rebuilding the health of the program, the Irish will have to decide how to use their 85 scholarships, with some tough decisions likely coming down the bend. Tight roster numbers are another good sign for a program that spent a lot of time playing closer to 75 than 85, and Notre Dame coaches will likely do their best to bring in elite players if they can do it, worrying about the usual attrition that comes with recruiting and roster moves each offseason.

With coaches at several high profile schools out of jobs and recruits reconsidering some schools that have fallen on hard times (like USC), there’s going to be quite a few players worth watching before February. And for the first time in a long time, Notre Dame has the ability to play closer, one of the perks of being in the national championship game.

100 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. cpfirish - Nov 28, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    I wish we all didn’t have to wait till Jan 7th for this game. Wow, that seems like a long time. With that being said I think these 15 practices are going to help out a lot. Including getting guys healed up, helping Golson improve more, hopefully work on the punt return game. Does anybody think that with this long layoff could hurt us?

    Also I am so sick of all the talk of the SEC, it makes me sick! ND can beat anybody, and yes that includes any team in the SEC. We are going to shock the world on Jan 7 th! All I can say is wow what a great season! Love the Irish!
    Lets whoop some SEC ass!!!

  2. 1historian - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    Acting on the old saying that “the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask”, I have a question:

    If a player comes to ND on scholly and is injured to the point that he can never play, what happens? I would assume that he keeps his scholarship for 4 years, but what about the number of scholarships that can be given out? Can ND offer another athletic scholarship in place of his?

    • bernhtp - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:07 AM

      The athletic scholarship converts to a medical hardship scholarship. The educational commitment is preserved and the athletic scholarship can be reused. Notre Dame has had a couple of these recently (e.g., Cam Roberson, who never fully recovered from his devastating knee injury two years ago). I believe they must be approved by the NCAA. Medical hardship students usually continue their participation in athletics as managers and other activities within their physical limits.

      • sgund2004 - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:40 AM

        What if a player transfers? Do we get that scholarship back?

      • bernhtp - Nov 29, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        Yes, if a player transfers, the athletic scholarship is released for another.

        These rules are ones that are abused systematically, especially by the SEC schools. Players they no longer value effectively get cut – they get medical hardships, transfers, or get flunked out. They also grayshirt – park recruits above their numbers in a developmental juco program until they have space and their performance meets expectations.

        Because of techniques like this, schools like Alabama offer/grant many more scholarships than does Notre Dame and then they prune the ones they no longer want/need. There is little commitment to the kids and their education – many don’t graduate and most that do get bullshit education and degrees.

        My belief is that the whole system needs overhaul where the focus is placed on the well being of the kids. The number of total scholarships should be increased – say from 85 to 100 – but those scholarships are tied to that student-university for four years, no matter what. If a kid goes medical hardship, transfers, dies, flunks out, whatever, the scholarship still counts against the school until its four-year clock expires. Also make sure that athletes take majors and classes available to (and taken by) non-athlete students. Doing this would solve much of the problem, but would likely also cause many of the top programs to leave the NCAA.

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