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Notre Dame Football

6 Thoughts on a Thursday

July 21, 2022

“What do you think is a better reflection of a recruits’ potential, stars/recruiting ratings or offer list?”

I feel like I could jam all 6 Thoughts into this one question that was posed to us on Power Hour this week. It’s a complicated one.

The easy answer is to say offer list because a college football recruiting department has more information than recruiting analysts would in many instances. At the same time, to act like recruiting departments don’t obtain information from recruiting sites or that recruiting sites aren’t influenced by offer lists when ranking a prospect would be ignoring the facts. A lot of it goes hand in hand.

Then there is the part where an offer isn’t just an offer these days. Alabama offered 225 recruits in the 2022 cycle. How many commitments would they have accepted from those players who were offered? A lot less than 225, that’s a certainty.

Anyone who says that offer list is all they look at is doing it wrong. Anyone who says that star rankings don’t matter is also wrong. I wish it was as simple as saying this is the correct way to look at it and this other way is incorrect. It’s just not.

In the case of Benjamin Minich‍, recently offered by Notre Dame, there are many different ways to look at what means more with him. His offer list isn’t incredibly impressive, but how much does it matter that Brent Venables and Oklahoma recently offered him as well? What about his recent blazing track times and how that figures into the evaluation? He’s not highly ranked in the composite, but he’s ranked as a 4-star by me on ISD and by 247Sports.

There’s a lot of things fans can point to either explain why he’d be a good pickup for Notre Dame or why they can do better. It should ultimately matter most that they worked him out in person at a camp as part of their evaluation and that’s a big part that would get lost if you’re only focusing on the ranking or the offer list.

Ryan Barnes had an elite offer list of national programs in addition to Notre Dame (Clemson, LSU, Georgia, Florida State, Michigan, USC, Oklahoma, Penn State, and Oregon), but he was a 3-star on every major site. The jury is out on how good he can be at Notre Dame, but he certainly has the physical tools that can translate to an NFL future for him.

If he becomes an NFL player, that means the rankings got it wrong and many will point to him as an example of offers over rankings. However, the ranking could have looked different if he wasn’t a rising senior during the start of the pandemic. If he starred at some 7-on-7 events or camps, and more recruiting analysts saw him in person, his ranking would have been adjusted quite a bit.

College football teams often miss with evaluations and recruiting sites do too. There is no one who bats 1.000 so a ranking or an offer list can’t be accepted as what someone should solely lean on.

The best way to look at for Notre Dame fans is that if a recruit has a high ranking and an offer list that is loaded with top tier college football programs, then that is a player who everyone should universally get excited about. Everything else requires more context.

2. What does the Minich offer mean for Notre Dame? I think it’s pretty clear that it means they’d be happy to take three safeties in this class.

That’s because they could lose three after this season. We know they won’t have Houston Griffith or DJ Brown after this year. Even though there was plenty of discussion about Brandon Joseph having three years of eligibility left when he transferred in from Northwestern, I don’t think it took the staff long this spring to realize that he could be one and done in blue and gold.

Throw that piece in with the Irish not taking a true safety in the previous cycle and it makes sense to make sure and take a third safety. It doesn’t have to be a Caleb Downs‍ type for it to be worth it.

I really like Minich’s film. He doesn’t just test fast. He plays fast. I mentioned that myself and 247 already have him as a 4-star, but watch out for him as a riser in the rankings this fall.

3. CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd reported this week that Notre Dame is seeking a new television deal that would see their media rights go up to $75 million annually from NBC, which is a pretty significant jump from $22 million they are earning now.

Check out the article for yourself if you haven’t already, but it reads like the news came from NBC or another conference who is also negotiating with NBC rather than from Notre Dame.

We can only speculate what it will mean if NBC doesn’t give them that number. It might mean that someone else will, whether it be CBS, who lost the SEC to ESPN, or a streaming service like Apple or Amazon. Not getting it could be the catalyst that drives them to a conference.

For the sake of Notre Dame’s football independence, people should be rooting for a monster deal from someone.

The thing I’m most curious about is the length of the deal. If it’s five years, that feels like playing the waiting game for conferences to crumble during that time. If it’s ten years, that feels like more of a commitment to staying the course.

4. I wrote about the linebacker position for Notre Dame earlier this week and Greg and I dived into it further yesterday on Hit & Hustle.

Spoiler alert: we’re very high on the potential of the linebacker unit this season.

Something we talked about at the end of the podcast is the possibilities of what Al Golden can do with the talent at the position. Marist Liufau can line up off the edge and rush the passer. Jordan Botelho can as well. Jack Kiser is probably going to go from Rover to playing inside in sub-packages. Notre Dame could do a lot of different things on 3rd downs this year and adding in a 3-3-5 look where multiple linebackers can rush the passer is one of them.

It will be very interesting to see if the defense mixes it up more on 3rd downs week to week or even within each game because they have the personnel that should allow them to do so.

5. Since Ronan Hanafin‍ is now in “time to be concerned category”, as described by ISD’s Christian McCollum in the latest Target Watch List, it brings up the question of what Notre Dame would do next at receiver if Hanifan ends up elsewhere.

It might mean Notre Dame trying to reconnect with previous targets who they try to flip. It might mean we see more offers out this fall to someone who blows up the same way Jordan Addison did as a senior. It might not mean anything if they land Jeremiyah Love‍.

Yes, Love is a running back, but Notre Dame is pitching him with a Deebo Samuel type of role in their offense. Samuel made a big impact in the backfield for the San Francisco 49ers, specifically in the playoffs. He was a hybrid receiver the whole season, though. He only had 59 carries compared to 121 targets as a receiver during the regular season. That flipped in the playoffs where he had 27 carries compared to 14 targets, which is more of what I would expect out of a future role for Love, but he still would be used as a receiver quite a bit.

Hanafin is an intriguing athlete, but there’s a few directions the staff could go to fill the hole in the class if he ends up elsewhere. Landing Love would be one thing that softens the blow.

6. First impressions can be overrated in life and on the football field, but that doesn’t mean they don’t matter. This made me think of that after watching LeSean McCoy talking about Nnamdi Asomugha getting cooked by a tight end during his first practice as a Philadelphia Eagle.

It’s one play and sometimes that impression can prove to be wrong, but Asomugha was bad for the Eagles and there probably weren’t too many players who believed in him after that.

Being a free agent in the NFL is a little bit like being a transfer in college football. No matter how good you were at your previous school, you have to come in and earn the respect of your new teammates. A lot that happens with how hard a player works in winter or summer workouts, but it’s a whole different thing when the pads come on.

Alohi Gilman came in and even though he had to sit a year, which becomes even more ridiculous as time passes, he earned respect quickly. That’s why in 2018 when he was technically a new starter for Notre Dame, it didn’t take him long to establish himself as a leader on that defense. He had already shown he could play in practice and players know when a guy can back it up.

When thinking of leaders on this year’s Notre Dame defense, we probably aren’t talking enough about Brandon Joseph. He came in with plenty of hype, but it wouldn’t mean much if he didn’t match it in the eyes of his new teammates. He looked terrific making plays in the spring and it’s pretty clear he is going to be one of the best players on Notre Dame’s defense.

The former captain at Northwestern is going to be in a position to be a leader for his new team. The defense should have plenty of leadership at all three levels, which is a very good sign for how good the Irish defense can be this fall. Black Notre Dame Executive Backpack

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