Last year, a report surfaced that Notre Dame was looking into hosting a 2015 satellite camp in Georgia — the kind of event pioneered by Penn State coach James Franklin that drew the ire of plenty of SEC coaches.
Eventually, the plan became for Kelly and his staff to be “guest coaches” at Georgia State this summer. Those plans, though, have been scuttled as Notre Dame will focus its offseason recruiting efforts on campus — highlighted by the “Irish Invasion” recruiting event — over the coming months.
“It will all be here,” Kelly said. “Everything is going to be done here.”
The decision to stay on campus came a few days before a renewed round of criticism for the northern/Midwest schools that decide to hold those satellite camps. First-year Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and his coaching staff will be guest coaches at camps in Alabama and Florida, which exploits a recruiting loophole Alabama coach Nick Saban said “doesn’t really make any sense.”
“If we’re all going to travel all over the country to have satellite camps, you know, how ridiculous is that?” Saban said, via AL.com.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney also fired against satellite camps on Wednesday.
For schools that don’t have strong local recruiting bases, perhaps these camps make sense. Nebraska comes to mind — its home state didn’t produce a single four- or five-star recruit last year and only had a trio of three-star players (two of whom went to Nebraska). The ‘Huskers usually pluck a few players from Missouri, but Iowa and Kansas aren’t strong bases, either. So getting out of Lincoln and into an area outside the local footprint could be beneficial for them.
Notre Dame, though, has a national brand and a strong recruiting base. Ten members of Notre Dame’s 2015 recruiting class came from Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, five of whom were four-star recruits.
Notre Dame absolutely wants to gain a greater foothold in the South and Texas, but there are more efficient ways of going about that than schlepping a coaching staff off campus instead of inviting recruits to South Bend. In addition to playing an annual game in talent-rich California (against either USC or Stanford), Notre Dame will play games in South Carolina, Texas (twice in 2016), North Carolina, Florida and Georgia over the next five seasons.
Those games in major recruiting grounds do help build better connections, Kelly has said in the past. And they don’t take away from showcasing campus to recruits — or get criticized by ticked-off coaches of powerhouse Southern programs.