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Star power is hardly the Irish’s problem

An interesting tidbit from the Wall Street Journal and their popular blog “The Count” today shows that Notre Dame’s problem has hardly been recruiting rankings. For those that followed the Charlie Weis era closely that’s hardly a surprise, but what is surprising is the esteem Notre Dame’s projected starters are held in, ranking third-highest in the nation behind USC and Florida.

From The Count:

Heading into the 2010 season, which begins next week, USC’s projected starters average 4.27 stars on the recruiting system at, a website that ranks high-school athletes in terms of talent by awarding them stars, ranging between two and five. That 4.27 mark is tied with the University of Florida atop major college-football in terms of the teams’ projected starters in Phil Steele’s annual College Football Preview. Notre Dame is ranked third in the country at 4.09 and Texas, Alabama and LSU are tied for fourth at 3.91.

While recruiting rankings are hardly the definitive judgment of a football player’s ability, I’d much rather be recruiting high-ranking prospects than low ones. For years, Notre Dame’s recruiting rankings have been accused of being inflated, and if recent history means anything, that could be true. That said, it doesn’t take top recruits to win football games -- just ask Boise State.

As we’ve looked at before, the 2006 recruiting class, headlined by blue-chippers like Sam Young, James Aldridge, Matt Carufel, Demetrius Jones, Konrad Rueland, Luke Schmidt and Zach Frazer show just how important player development -- and a little luck --are when assembling a recruiting class. Weis’ signature recruiting class ended up being the one that sank him, as the Irish didn’t get a single front-seven player to contribute significant minutes last season.