New Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly has hired former Grand Valley State coach Chuck Martin as his recruiting coordinator and longtime Irish fans wonder if Martin will be the next Vinny Cerrato or...hey, do you remember who masterminded the recruiting for Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham?
Martin has never recruited any big-time players, the five-star brand of talent that is needed if Notre Dame is to return to the elite status in college football that it once enjoyed. At the moment, a lot of the legwork is being done by Dave Peloquin, the director of football operations. Peloquin, 28, whose father is mayor of Blue Island, a Chicago suburb, started as a graduate assistant under Davie, Willingham and Charlie Weis.
Notre Dame recruiting has nosedived since the Lou Holtz era. Willingham battled Georgia Tech, Duke, Stanford, Northwestern and Mid-American Conference schools for players. Weis always seemed to battle Florida, USC and Texas and won several battles. But not enough. And he never was able to sign enough talent on defense.
So what does the Kelly/Martin regime have to do to succeed where its predecessors failed?
The key is to lay down the law to the other eight assistants that their job description is coach/recruiter. And they must know that everybody is on the same page. In the past, going back to Holtz, Notre Dame never had all nine assistants working on recruiting as hard as they should have.
At most, in my experience, I only noticed three guys doing yeoman work. The others weren't held accountable. So they had trouble signing any good defensive players, which is one of the major reasons why the Irish program has fallen on hard times. They were lucky to have three or four guys carrying the load as opposed to USC, Texas, Florida, Alabama and LSU, where everybody carries their own weight in recruiting.
In my view, in the last 15 years, Notre Dame hasn't had all nine staff members carrying their weight in recruiting. It is up to Martin to keep Kelly informed on the process.The tip as to how effective Notre Dame recruiting is: Who are they getting commitments from? By signing day next year, we'll know if Kelly has a good recruiting staff or not.