Notre Dame football recruiting: Time for ND staff to hit the recruiting trail

Tom Lemming
Tribune Correspondent

With the regular season ending Saturday night at Stanford, most of the Irish staff will stay in California to recruit.

Notre Dame has a solid base there and they've offered a lot of juniors out there, so they coaches are going to be bouncing around seeing a lot of guys, which is smart.

California has really become Notre Dame’s most dependable state. The work the Irish did in Texas with the Arizona State game may help, but there's work to do in the Lone Star State, especially with the great juniors there.

Florida has been good, but really California has been probably just as good. So they'll be there and then they can be on the road for a couple weeks until the dead period hits.

The dead period has been extended until the third week of January, so there isn't a whole lot of time to get things done. You've only got two weeks in December and two weeks in January, so all nine assistants really have to be on their toes and go at it. So too does Brian Kelly.

By not playing in a BCS bowl this year, the Irish lose a little of the oomph that they had, although the Alabama game took care of their oomph last year.

But you can spin recruiting any way you want. This year, you can tell kids that you've got a younger team and there are a lot of openings. You can tell them you're losing a lot of guys and kids can come in and play right away.

At Notre Dame, win or lose, you should always recruit well, and the Irish have.

Charlie Weis' best class came after they went 3-9. It can be spun as you're a powerhouse team that didn't do that well in that particular year, but there are lots of openings for kids to come in and play right away.

What you spin at Notre Dame is the academics, the tradition, how many guys are in the NFL, the facilities, and key is that guys can come in and play early. And Notre Dame does play freshmen, so they can use that to their advantage.

Notre Dame has a number of openings for this year, so there's more work to do. Without being in the national title game, the bowl game is somewhat important, but not that much.

Recruiting should be more important this year than the bowl game, really. It's nice to win, but in the big picture, it doesn't create much of a splash.

Notre Dame has to put in that effort to finish off the 2014 class strong so they could at least have a top-15 finish and then really lay the groundwork for a great 2015 group.

In terms of 2014, they've gotten commitments recently from Nick Watkins and Drue Tranquill, and they really haven't lost anyone else. They're still in on a good number of guys, and have added a handful of players.

The guys Notre Dame is looking at as B-list guys are almost everybody else's A-list guys. Those B-list guys still are talented players.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly surveys his players during pre-game stretches before an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. SBT Photo/JAMES BROSHER via FTP