Chat transcript: Can Notre Dame football hold onto the top-ranked 2023 recruiting class?

Mike Berardino
ND Insider

Mike Berardino: Good morning, Irish fans. Thanks for stopping by. Happy to answer any football questions you  may have. If you're still seeking clarity on The Slap from Oscars Night, I can't help you there. My mind is still spinning.

Frankie from Virginia: Hello ! How are you ?? Curious I wonder ask you why notre dame wear white shoe ??and I don't  make sense of white shoe not match of color. Please please go back  to tradition of  gold , blue or black shoe .please tell Marcus freeman change shoe bring back  gold , blue or black ! Please please not white shoe.

Mike Berardino: Hello, Frankie! Thanks for your question. Pretty sure Under Armour will make football cleats in any hue Notre Dame players may desire. I'm the wrong guy to ask about fashion norms and matching your shoes and your belt and all that. But as an on-field psychological factor, it has long been stated that white cleats make a player look and perhaps even feel faster. Just Googled this and was reminded former Penn State linebacker Jason Cabinda said this in 2017: "You look faster in white cleats." Maybe so. As an observer, I've always thought the true psychological advantage comes when a player with deceptive speed wears clunky black cleats and throws the defender off that way. OK, that's enough on shoe color.

Ken L.- Pensacola , Fla.: Mike – Do you think this ND team will defeat Ohio State when they meet to kick-off the 2022-23 football campaign? Thanks and GO IRISH!

Mike Berardino: Hello Ken, thanks for the question. Considering Notre Dame still has five months to prepare for that trip to the Horseshoe, I'm going to refrain from making any predictions for now. I will say, as you may have noticed on my Twitter feed, safety Brandon Joseph, the Northwestern transfer brought in to replace Kyle Hamilton, got my attention when he brought up the opener in his media session on Thursday. Asked if his Notre Dame experience was playing out the way he imagined, Joseph said, "It will be hard to tell until we go beat Ohio State." I'm a big believer in speaking desired outcomes into existence, so that sort of public confidence definitely resonates with me.

Brandon Joseph, and All-American safety at Northwestern has transferred to Notre Dame and is expected to take the place of Kyle Hamilton who declared for the NFL Draft.

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Geoff - Chandler, AZ: Hi Mike - can you verify that Dr Selking was not retained?  Any insight there?  It seemed as though Kelly was very complimentary of the work she did with the players on mental performance training.  Is this something the team will continue to utilize, via another path?

Mike Berardino: Hi Geoff. Yes, I was able to confirm that on the opening day of spring practice. Here's the link to that report. This came up in our last live chat, and that connection you cite with Kelly and his reboot of the program after 2016 is addressed here. And yes, based on Freeman's answer back on March 17, I could see a different voice being brought in at some point to augment the support staff. Consistent messaging is vital in any sports operation. The key, it seems, is to keep it organic,  authentic and fresh. The minute that doubt starts to creep in, it's becomes much more difficult to guide and shape young minds. And, fairly or not, the circumstances of Kelly's sudden exit were bound to have at least some ripple effect on those most closely associated with him while at Notre Dame.

JoeP from LA: Hello Mike.  Obviously, the Dante Moore story is dominating Irish recruiting news right now.  However, I'm curious about a couple of other recruits.  I'm hearing a lot of conflicting feedback regarding the verbal commitments of Keon Keeley and Peyton Bowen.  I know they're taking other visits, primarily with the big boys in college football.  That is obviously not good news for the Irish.  Do you have any intel on how solid their commitments to ND really are and the likelihood of ND losing one or both, at the end of the day?

Defensive end Keon Keeley, a 2023 recruit, poses on an unofficial visit to Notre Dame in June 2021.

Mike Berardino: Hi Joe, thanks for the question. There is a long way to go to get to Dec. 21 and the opening of the early signing period for the top-ranked 2023 recruiting class. But in Keeley's case, the five-star edge rusher from Tampa was on campus last weekend and tweeted his approval of the chilly conditions. It also helps to have four-star linebacker and fellow Notre Dame commit Drayk Bowen (Merrillville, Ind.) as an unofficial recruiting liaison. Keeley is now nine months into his non-binding commitment to Notre Dame. With Marcus Freeman as his lead recruiter, any wavering that might come along the way won't be due to a perceived lack of attentiveness from his future coaching staff. The same goes for Peyton Bowen, the four-star safety from Texas. His non-binding commitment is only three months old as of today, but the Twitter tea leaves still include plenty of shamrocks and shout-outs to fellow 2023 ND recruiting targets.

Mike Berardino: Thanks for your questions. See you again next week.

Staff writer Mike Berardino covers Notre Dame football for the South Bend Tribune and NDInsider.com. Email him at mberardino@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @MikeBerardino.