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Irish coaching staff goes the distance for recruits

Feb 12, 2013, 3:09 PM EDT


It’s no secret that Notre Dame recruits nationally. That’s one of the benefits that comes along with one of the longest-standing brand names in college football. But a footprint that large also has its challenges. And for the Irish coaching staff, that’s the work that comes from reaching far and wide to find football players.

While Brian Kelly‘s staff has done a nice job of signing the top player in the state of Indiana the past few three seasons, to compete with the best teams in the country, the Irish coaching staff covers a lot of miles to find the very best players that fit the unique mold necessary to thrive at Notre Dame.

With a recruiting class that finished ranked No. 3 in the country, it’s clear Kelly and his coaches and support staff, led by recruiting coordinator Tony Alford, have done a great job with that. So much so that the team at named both Alford and Mike Denbrock two of the top 25 recruiters in the country this year.

Here’s what they had to say on Alford:

Alford came to South Bend with strong recruiting credentials, and he delivered on that promise in the 2013 class by going into Florida and plucking two of the state’s top ball carriers. The big prize was five-star Greg Bryant, who was not even listing Notre Dame at the beginning of the fall but committed immediately following his official visit to South Bend. Alford was also responsible for complementing the Bryant pickup with four-star Cocoa, Fla., running back Tarean Folston.

And here’s the write-up on Denbrock, who year after year continues to shut-up the skeptics that wondered whether or not the former Willingham assistant could hang on the West Coast.

The last big story on National Signing Day was Notre Dame landing five-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes over UCLA and Alabama. It was Denbrock who was responsible for bringing Vanderdoes into the fold, and this was not his first five-star West Coast pickup in the class. Earlier, he landed former USC five-star safety commit Max Redfield out of Mission Viejo, Calif., in what was more than a mild upset. The Irish’s passing game coordinator complemented his five-star recruiting efforts by being the lead in landing four-star wide receiver William Fuller out of Philadelphia.

It’s hardly a two man show for the Irish on the recruiting trail. Chuck Martin has gotten off to a quick start as a recruiter on the highest level of college football and was instrumental in pulling Gunner Kiel away from LSU. Kerry Cooks has done a nice job. So has Mike Elston. It’s hard to think about Bob Diaco and recruiting without thinking about the work he did to land Ishaq Williams. And while Scott Booker, Bobby Elliott and Harry Hiestand just started their time as assistants on the Irish staff, all three had a nice recruiting season.

Yahoo Sports’ put together a tremendous study that puts into context the distance Notre Dame coaches go to land their recruits. They charted the distance from campus each recruit will travel to enroll at their school of choice. Of the top five recruiting classes in the country, only Alabama came within 8,000 miles of Notre Dame.

The Irish headed into states like California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, and Georgia to pull elite players, adding that to their strongholds in the Midwest and East Coast. That kind of work widens Notre Dame’s already significant net, and shows you all the effort that it takes to compete with the elite programs in the country.

  1. gtizzo - Feb 12, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    Nice Keith,

    Recruiting has become a 24/7/365 type job. These coaches are not only good at spotting talent they also are great ambassadors for Notre Dame as a whole. Considering a kid who got into football around age 11 has seen nothing but the SEC win titles. There was another article done by Yahoo Sports that said how ND was able to shake off the BCS title game and make NSD great. Great job on the article Keith!! Nice job ND coaching staff on a great recruiting class.

  2. yogihilt - Feb 12, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    8000 more miles than the next highest? Impressive. Hard work pays off.

  3. bernhtp - Feb 12, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    The number of travel miles to land this class must have been astronomical. Beyond the multiple round trip travel to the 21K+ miles for each successful recruit, you have three times that number for those that didn’t ultimately come and more for those visited but weren’t ultimately offered. There must be at least a million miles in there. These guys work hard. I imagine Kelly travels private most of the time, but the rest schlep commercial and crunch their aging football knees. A big hand to all of them.

  4. harvupdyke - Feb 12, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    Does going the distance include confirming these recruits actually exist? Given Rudy’s track record of late, it might be wise to make sure there are actual football players behind those faxed LOI’s.

    There sure weren’t real football players on the field down there in Miamah…

    Which leads me to my next point. Y’all gonna storm the field if you beat an 11th ranked football team too?

    Roll dam tide.

    • yogihilt - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:06 AM

      Harv, I seriously doubt whether you can comprehend that most of the comments that follow are aimed squarely at you. But you should recognize the ‘grammar’ used in some. We have to try real hard to dumb it down.

    • stedward - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:38 AM

      It’s funny how so many people are leaving comments to this guy without actually replying. You guys do this here all the time and I don’t understand it. Also I’m sure the real _____ jokes will never get old. We only eat our catfish round here, Troll Tide!

    • jerseyirish10 - Feb 13, 2013 at 11:10 AM

      PaRoll Tide for sure. I’m sure Saban is going to put the hammer down. Suspend them for what, Georgia State? Western Kentucky? Coastal Carolina?

      • nudeman - Feb 13, 2013 at 1:58 PM

        Roll Tide Hahhv
        I am amazed no one has posted this yet, considering where your boys gonna’ be spending the next few years

  5. irish2011 - Feb 12, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    How many Tide players were arrested yesterday? …. Keep on Rolling

    • nudeman - Feb 12, 2013 at 10:32 PM

      Roll dam Tide indeed.
      Those boys quo gonna have plenty o’ time on theyuh hands, ain’t they now Harv? Ain’t gonna be no sweet tea and grits in the state pen.
      Just how’d those ol’ boys qualify to attend a fine institution like Alabama anyway? A certain Merle Haggard song comes to mind:
      “And I turned 21 in prison doin’ life without parole
      No one could steer me right but mama tried …”

      Roll dam tide …

      • nudeman - Feb 12, 2013 at 10:40 PM

        Damn cellphones and that auto correct thingie make me angrier than a wet bloodhound on a possum hunt
        Y’all got them new fangled things down theyuh in Bama?
        My post shoulda read
        “Those boys sho gonna …”
        Not “quo”

        Roll damn TIDE

      • dickasman - Feb 12, 2013 at 10:51 PM

        Arkansas State coach just got a giant boner. Don’t worry, they will just transfer to Arkansas state, auburn, lsu.

      • dickasman - Feb 12, 2013 at 10:56 PM

        Nude u sho u ain’t been rollin that dam blunts along w da tide? iPhone ain’t dat stupid now…

      • 1historian - Feb 12, 2013 at 11:14 PM


        I didn’t thank you had it in ‘ya.

        If I had a hat on I would sho ’nuff doff it to ‘ya!

        Well done young man

    • nudeman - Feb 12, 2013 at 11:32 PM

      Oooooh boy
      Sho hope those Bammer boys brought thayuh KY with em into the new digs
      And I ain’t talkin bout no Kaynetucky boy
      Bubba got a brand new thang

      Roll damn Tide

      • dickasman - Feb 12, 2013 at 11:50 PM

        Alright guys, that’s enuff!!!
        Prisoners are like people n stuff too! Look at joe pa, he’s been cleared!

      • nudeman - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:08 AM

        Dick … one of yo’ best evah posts

  6. dickasman - Feb 12, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    This article made me wonder how come we don’t have sex in the airplanes anymore? Remember when mile high clubs were soooo in? Facebook killed mile high club

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Feb 13, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      can you image the number of mile high reporters using their cell phone cameras to cover airplane sex and upload to youtube? Cell phones killed the mile high club

  7. ajw21 - Feb 12, 2013 at 11:19 PM

    This is why Saban and SEC over recruit. They can hand out five extra scholarships each year due to arrests and ppl say Saban is a disciplinarian! To bad the only players who get kicked off the team are the ones who don’t contribute and with the star players it gets swept under the rug. I AM NOT BITTER!
    Go Irish!

    • dickasman - Feb 12, 2013 at 11:47 PM

      Plus I am quite sure those fockers used deer antler spray! Basturds!

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Feb 13, 2013 at 11:28 AM

        deer antler spray…. a little under the tree stand, a little under the tongue. a little on the possum and grits…’s like the new Ketchup!

  8. Jennifer - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    Bye-bye Jon Stewart. So long Stephen Colbert. Sleep tight David Letterman. It was really nice while it lasted. Who knows, we may reconnect every once in awhile thanks to DVR, but I’m ditching Y’all for my funny guys on Inside the Irish.

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Feb 13, 2013 at 11:35 AM

      You can’t leave Jon Stewart out of your daily laughs. He parlayed the Pope/ND/Manti drama into a pretty funny little bit on Monday.

      Watch the first 5 minutes of the show. I got a good chuckle out of it.

      • Jennifer - Feb 13, 2013 at 12:26 PM

        You’re so right. Stewart stays!

      • dillonbigred - Feb 13, 2013 at 1:58 PM

        Team Popo!

  9. 4horsemenrideagain - Feb 13, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    this harv character is the reason stereotypes exist about the south/SEC/alabama.

    • papadec - Feb 13, 2013 at 8:23 PM

      emmmmmmm I dunno – I think harv is a Yale hoax, or maybe Hahhvaad.

  10. idratherbeinsouthbend - Feb 13, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    ironically enough, the real harvey updyke just had his bond revoked today.I hope the harv on these boards is the real harv. We won’t have to listen to his dumb ass anymore.

    • papadec - Feb 13, 2013 at 8:25 PM

      idrather – harv has a talking mule? Mr Ed is that you? Is harv really Mr Ed?

      • papadec - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:30 PM

        Wait a minute! I have too much going on here. Cuse losing to UConn @ Hartford on the TV, watching the play-by-play updates of ND in OT @ home vs DePaul on the espn website (ND won). “listen to his dumb ass” – I got sucked in on that one. Dumb is the inability to speak. So how could any of us listen to his “dumb ass”?

  11. jmfinsd - Feb 13, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Hey harvupdyke – got a response for this one?

    More ‘Bama greyshirting coming up.

    • papadec - Feb 13, 2013 at 8:39 PM

      It’s looking more, and, more like Bama has the same work release program with the state penal system that Miami used to have in Florida. Better watch the keys to the dump truck.

      • 4horsemenrideagain - Feb 14, 2013 at 10:29 AM

        are you trying to say that nick saban isn’t the leader of men that we thought, but rather simply intent on winning at any/all costs, with the education and discipline of his players be dambed? if saban doesn’t get this under control, he’s going to be in the running for the “most arrests during a coaching tenure” award currently held by Urban (not the Pope) Meyer.

  12. kozbee - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:47 AM

    Reuben Foster recruit for Alabama asleep while in school at Auburn.Post the link in college football

  13. larrydavid7000 - Feb 17, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    Roll Tide.

  14. larrydavid7000 - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    Roll Tide.!!!!!!

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