Notre Dame football hires Dre Brown to aid offensive recruiting

Tyler James
ND Insider
Former Illinois running back Dre Brown has been hired as an analyst for Notre Dame football with a focus on offensive recruiting. Michael Allio, USA TODAY Sports

When Dre Brown tweeted a photo of himself earlier this month at an Irish pub in Pensacola, Fla., surrounded by Notre Dame football memorabilia, the former Illinois running back covertly revealed his next move. 

Brown, who worked on the Tennessee football support staff as recruiting coordinator since February, has been hired by Notre Dame football as an analyst with a focus on offensive recruiting. 

FootballScoop first reported the news on Wednesday. A source at Notre Dame confirmed the hiring with ND Insider. 

► More:Inside the journey of Notre Dame's David Adams and finding life after the cheering stops

► More:Florida DB Devin Moore provides recruiting fireworks with Notre Dame commitment

Brown, 23, is the offensive recruiting counterpart to analyst Chad Bowden, who followed defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman from Cincinnati to oversee Notre Dame’s defensive recruiting efforts. Irish director of recruiting Aaryn Kearney had been filling the role of offensive recruiting coordinator until Notre Dame could fill the position.

“It’s a very good position to have,” said recruiting coordinator Mike Elston in April, “to just help facilitate everything that we’re doing both on offense and defense and keep the boards accurate and moving the needle on every player that we’re recruiting.” 

Bowden, 27, made a quick impact with defensive recruits and was often mentioned to reporters by recruits in interviews. 

“That's not a 9-to-5 job,” said head coach Brian Kelly in April. “That's late at night. That's being on (recruits') schedules. So he's in touch with all of those defensive recruits in their time zone, if you will. So you're probably hearing a lot of him, because he's built strong relationships with all those defensive players and done a very, very good job.” 

Brown will have the chance to do the same. He was hired by Tennessee earlier this year for his first job in college football. The Vols accumulated six verbal commitments in the 2022 class from March through June with Brown on the job. 

Brown’s tie to Tennessee came through new offensive coordinator Alex Golesh. Brown was recruited to Illinois in part by Golesh in the 2015 recruiting class. Golesh’s roles included running backs coach and recruiting coordinator in 2014 when Brown was finishing his football career at DeKalb (Ill.) High.

Brown missed his first two seasons at Illinois with injuries but made an impact in his final three seasons. He rushed for 902 yards and seven touchdowns on 162 carries and returned 46 kickoffs for 1,130 yards while playing in 26 games. Brown was voted Offensive MVP by his teammates following the 2019 season. 

Notre Dame picked up talented offensive players early in the 2022 class, but the recruiting momentum has shifted to the defensive side in recent months. Six of the seven Irish commitments in the 2022 and 2023 classes since the start of June came on defense. 

Notre Dame missed on a pair of offensive targets this week when four-star running back Nicholas Singleton (Penn State) and four-star offensive tackle Jake Taylor (Oklahoma) verbally committed elsewhere. The top remaining Irish targets on offense are wide receivers and linemen.

Follow ND Insider Tyler James on Twitter: @TJamesNDI.