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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Norvell's First Full Class Filled with Transfers

February 17, 2021

Notre Dame opens the season against Florida State and they come back on the schedule in 2024. By that time, it’s expected that Mike Norvell will have the Seminoles rolling.

He didn’t exactly accomplish that in year one with some poor communication with his players and a disappointing season on the field. FSU finished 3-6 and had games cancelled due to Covid-19 breakouts on their team.

It wasn’t the kind of debut that would get FSU Twitter, always a friendly bunch, excited about the future.

Maybe that’s why their recruiting during the 2021 cycle didn’t live up to expectations. They finished 22nd in the country in the team rankings, well behind in-state rivals Miami and Florida. The first full class for a head coach is normally one where there is an uptick, but it was an identical finish to the previous year.

Norvell and his staff failed to land any of the top-35 players from Florida. Aside from landing wide receiver Destyn Hill‍ on signing day (49th in the ISD Fab 50), they failed to bring in anyone that would be considered a truly elite prospect. Seven of their 17 signees were 4-star recruits, but everyone other than HIll was ranked outside of the top-250 recruits in the country.

Norvell’s Memphis staff did a great job evaluating 3-star talent and developing them into future pros and maybe that will be the case with this class. I’m a fan of 3-star edge rusher George Wilson and his potential. He could end up being one of those future pros.

If that doesn’t happen for a few of this group, though, then this class will be remembered for Norvell deciding to go heavier on transfers than anything else. That’s where things could get interesting for FSU. They took eight of them so the class is more like a full 25 than the 17 it appears to be.

Included in those transfers is former UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton. Two years ago he was one of the top quarterbacks in the country. A devastating injury forced him out for the last two seasons and if he’s back to the player he was, he’s probably starting for the Seminoles against the Irish in week one.

That’s a big if, though. Reports out of Orlando are that he’s closer to 80% of the player he was.

FSU also took former Georgia edge rusher Jermaine Johnson who was one of the top JUCO recruits in the country before he landed in Athens. He flashed as a player, but was behind some others on the depth chart. He’s a good bet to be a factor for them after losing some defensive ends to the NFL Draft.

How many of the rest of the group can become impact players? We’ll have to see, but most of them have had some bad injury luck and were full-time starters at their previous programs before that. At the very least they are the kind of pickups that strengthen the roster and make FSU deeper.

That will help, but it doesn’t address the issues when it comes to top tier talent or the offensive line (they only signed two in the class). Norvell inherited a program that was like a leaky boat and he’s had to patch up some holes to fix it. They might be able to plug in some transfers temporarily. They didn’t get enough top recruits to help them sail back to the elite of college football.

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