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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Clemson Continues to Compile Elite Talent

September 24, 2020

It’s never surprising when Notre Dame fans get upset about seeing a commitment from a 3-star prospect. It’s not meant as disrespect to that player who committed. It’s more frustration because they know how well the competition is recruiting.

Clemson is in a select group above where Notre Dame is at right now. There aren’t too many others with them because there aren’t exactly a ton of programs that can say they’ve won more than 33 games in the last three seasons like the Irish have.

Clemson has. They’ve won 41.

They also aren’t getting any worse with the way they’ve recruited. They signed a top-3 class in the 2020 cycle, which included five 5-stars and 17 total blue-chip prospects (4 or 5-stars). This cycle has looked pretty similar for them. They have 15 players committed and 14 of them are considered blue-chippers.

Notre Dame is going to have to face those commitments in 2022 and 2023, so what Clemson is doing now in recruiting is relevant to what Notre Dame will have to overcome in the future. It won’t be an easy hill to climb with all of the potential difference-makers Dabo Swinney is adding.

We can start with the back that Notre Dame desperately wanted to add to their class. Will Shipley‍ chose Clemson and has explosive ability. He is a one-cut and go runner who can take it to the house when he gets a crease.

They also have two receivers committed that Notre Dame offered as well. Beaux Collins‍ fits into the mold of other big receivers they have had in recent years and reminds me a lot of Tee Higgins. Guys his size typically aren’t as sudden as him with their movement. Troy Stellato‍ might be the best slot receiver this cycle. He’s a yards after the catch machine and is so twitchy out of his breaks. He’s going to be a problem for any team who doesn’t have an elite slot corner.

The skill position talent won’t drop off for them and neither will the talent in the front seven. It must be nice to be Brent Venables.

Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr.‍ is the son of the former Philadelphia Eagles Pro Bowler with the same name. Just like his Dad, Trotter is a violent football player who does a fantastic job working through the trash inside. He’ll be unleashed as a blitzer by Venables and so will Barrett Carter‍. He reminds me of Michigan’s Cam McGrone and is a perfect modern day linebacker with his speed and ability to shine in all areas.

On the defensive line they lost a commitment from one of the top defensive ends in the country, Korey Foreman‍. That would be crushing for most programs. That doesn’t even faze Clemson because they still have Cade Denhoff‍, a devastatingly quick pass rusher with a non-stop motor, and Zaire Patterson‍. Patterson is raw, but has NFL physical tools and has the potential to develop into an elite pass rusher.

Clemson is so stacked that they can take a player like defensive tackle Payton Page‍, a player who can disappear at times on film, and hope that the light clicks on for him. He’s a massive individual who probably won’t be the next Dexter Lawrence, but could be if he is motivated to be great.

The only spot that would be worrisome for them in their class is at defensive back. They shockingly have zero commitments there right now and did lose a commitment from corner Jordan Hancock‍. He’s in the ISD Fab 50 and flipped to Ohio State. They might just end up replacing him with Nyland Green‍, 30th in the Fab 50. He has outstanding ball skills and is very physical in press coverage.

Notre Dame knows what it will take to beat Clemson because Clemson is landing elite talent that Notre Dame wants in their program. Many of these players I mentioned will be core players on the 2022 and 2023 Clemson roster.

The staff is very aware of what Clemson is building with their roster and knows just how difficult it will be to beat them because of how they’ve recruited.

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