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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Stanford Still Trending Down?

March 10, 2021

Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw built Stanford into an annual contender. From 2010 to 2017, they averaged 10.6 wins per season and finished ranked in the top-10 six times. They had a run of playing in a New Year’s Six bowl game in five of six seasons.

This was frustrating for Notre Dame fans to witness. Not only were the Cardinal experiencing more success than the Irish, they were starting to routinely steal recruits from them as well.

Those who had been patiently waiting for a slide back to normalcy have seen it happen with Shaw’s program in recent years. They experienced their first losing season in over a decade in 2019 and have lost several players to the transfer portal and seen more coaching turnover than they’re used to.

They had a slight bounce back on the field in 2020 with a 4-2 record in a shortened Pac-12 season, but they signed one of their lowest ranked recruiting classes in the last decade this past cycle.

They finished 7th in Pac-12 recruiting with only 16 commitments. Only one of those commitments was a composite 4-star prospect and it was defensive lineman Aaron Armitage‍. He’s a player that Notre Dame essentially passed on after having early interest.

Safety Jaden Slocum‍ is the only other recruit they signed that had a Notre Dame offer. I like him quite a bit as a prospect and actually have him ranked as a 4-star. Aside from him, though, there isn’t much sizzle to their latest class.

It’s a far cry from Shaw’s first full class which included 11 blue-chip signees, including two 5-stars. That group finished seventh in the country in the team rankings. That was one of seven classes that Shaw has signed that finished ranked in the top-25.

They were consistently bringing in game wreckers like 5-star Solomon Thomas and stud running backs like Christian McCaffrey and Bryce Love. They hit on more than enough of their top guys and also developed gems like defensive tackle Harrison Phillips and wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside. They’ll need a few of those in their 2021 class to make up for the top guys they failed to land.

Stanford signed 78 players in their last four classes. Their blue-chip ratio, the number of recruits ranked as 4 or 5-stars, is only 24.4%. That’s not going to be good enough to keep pace with Notre Dame and may not be good enough to keep pace with most of the top teams in the Pac-12 as well.

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