After a slight delay, I'm back to defending Brian Kelly in the second part of this three part series. In the first installment, I spoke in great length about "stability" and how Brian Kelly has brought a lot of that back to the program.
In part deux, the discussion turns to recruiting. Recruiting is the "lifeblood of a program" as we are told by every so called recruiting guru with an internet connection. I don't debate that fact. You need really good talent to win at an elite level and you need it all over the roster. However, getting elite level guys is just part of the equation. They need to be the right fit for the program and the school (I refuse to use an overused acronym).
Brian Kelly has started to master that equation better than any of the other coaches since Holtz.
|Coach||Year||Class Rank||Total Signed||4*||5*|
Although Charlie Weis was a horrible head coach at Notre Dame, he did do one very, very valuable thing. Charlie Weis destroyed the concept that Notre Dame could no longer recruit elite talent. What he did with that talent was horrific, in that the development seemed to stop once they enrolled. That might be a bit of an overstatement, but there is a ton of truth within the meaning.
Another part of Weis's failure was his inability to put together a roster and have flexibility with positions. This is where Brian Kelly has done a masterful job.
Not only has Brian Kelly recruited elite talent and put together some of the best classes in the country while at Notre Dame, he has took that talent and molded a program to fit the "team" concept. Football relies on too many players for each victory for one, or even a half a dozen blue-chippers to depend upon to carry the team. Brian Kelly understands this and does an excellent job in its execution.
Kelly does all of this without the benefits of say... Nick Saban. There are no Junior College transfers, no oversigning, and no annual scholarship recertifications (Saban's way of weeding out those who aren't meeting his standards).
This article is entitled, "Defending Brian Kelly" and thus far I haven't gone down the traditional route of laying down fact after fact after fact after fact. Instead, I've laid out an idea. It's the idea that recruiting is simply another part of program building, and considering where the program was in the winter of 2009 and where it is now and where it projects to be in the future, Brian Kelly has done a masterful job thus far and one some Irish fans have took for granted.