Notre Dame keeps recruiting what I and Rivals, Scout, ESPN and other analysts agree are some of the best players in the country. But they aren't winnning. Why?
Coach Charlie Weis' freshman and sophomore classes boast as much talent as any school in the country. The talent isn't overrated because every major recruiting service ranked them in the top 10.
Last year's class was ranked No. 1 by Rivals and No. 2 by me. Two years ago, Notre Dame was rated No. 7. This year's class should rank between 10 and 20. It is good but not as good as last year.
Next year's freshman class got better over the weekend when wide receiver Shaquelle Evans of Inglewood, Calif., committed to the Irish. He is one of the top wide receivers in th nation. He originally committed to USC, who told him that he was their No. 1 target on the West Coast, but he changed his mind and opted for Notre Dame after deciding that USC had recruited too many wide receivers. He is another Golden Tate and Michael Floyd.
So what's wrong at Notre Dame? Why aren't they winning? Why aren't they a top 25 program?
I'm not a coach. I don't like to explain coaching when I talk about a school's recruiting. But it doesn't take an expert to see flaws in Notre Dame's program.
There are no difference makers in the defensive line or at linebacker. Former St. Rita star Darius Fleming has turned into a potential star at linebacker but he isn't there yet. The Irish have three or four good defensive backs but they don't have any outstanding defensive linemen except for Ethan Johnson, who was the Player of the Year in the Pacific Northwest last year.
Except for Johnson, it seems to me that the rest of defensive line is filled with second-stringers, overachieving backups.
Most of the best players are on offense. Sophomore Jimmy Clausen is having a good year. Floyd is the best freshman wide receiver in the country. Kyle Rudolph is the best freshman tight end in the country.
But the running game is non-existent. Robert Hughes and James Aldridge and Armando Allen were nationally recruited but none has come to the front. I'm not an expert but, when I watch them, it is obvious that the offense is one-dimensional. And you can't be one-dimensional at the major college level, even at Oklahoma or Texas Tech.
As good as the passing game might be, once you have demonstrated that you can't run, the defenses will load up on the passing game. Result? Boston College 17, Notre Dame 0. More questions are being asked and not many answers are being provided.