Notre Dame football waited nearly 20 years to return to the National Title game in 2012, but the climb back to the top might not take as long this time.
On Wednesday’s national signing day, the program turned in was regarded by most to be a top 10 recruiting class, challenging neighboring Big 10 programs and winning some blue chip players.
After reaching the BCS championship game in 2012, Notre Dame failed to follow up with a strong 2013, instead getting into a mess of offseason drama followed by lackluster play during the season.
But things changed quickly on Wednesday. The first big news for Notre Dame football came when Cincinnati’s Daniel Cage, a three-star defensive lineman rated the No. 15 defensive tackle by Scout.com, picked Notre Dame over Michigan State. Later, 5-star linebacker and USA Today All-American Nyles Morgan confirmed his verbal commitment to the Fighting Irish.
The program’s class was filled with four- and five-star athletes, including Quenton Nelson, a 6-foot-5, 301-pound lineman. Nelson is listed as the No. 3 tackle and No. 29 overall prospect in the 2014 class, according to Rivals.com. The starter in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl also had offers from Ohio State and Alabama.
The team also added Central Catholic (Toledo, Ohio) quarterback DeShone Kizer, ranked as the No. 9 dual-threat quarterback by Rivals.com.
The recruiting class will make a vast difference from Notre Dame’s last offseason. Things started falling apart for the Fighting Irish not long after Alabama undressed them in the BCS Title game. Star linebacker Manti Te’o was involved in a strange “catfishing” case involving a fake dead girlfriend, quarterback Everett Golson was suspended for cheating, and star recruit Elijah Hood, who was ranked among the nation’s top 50 overall prospects, backed out of his commitment to Notre Dame.
Notre Dame football now appears back on track to title contention. The team’s 2014 recruiting class is ranked in the top 10 by three of the four major recruiting sites, and ranked No. 11 by ESPN.