Saturday, December 12, 2009
Brian Kelly Recruting: Better With Time
Brian Kelly has guided Cincinnati to as many BCS games in three years as Charlie Weis did in five seasons at Notre Dame. He won't coach the Bearcats in the Sugar Bowl this season against Florida because of taking the Notre Dame job, he will spend the time working on this years recruiting class, trying to keep it in the top 15 nationally.
Many Notre Dame fans have been upset with the hiring of Kelly based on the fact he hasn't proven to be a great recruiter at this point in his career. Since taking over for Mark D'antonio for the 2006 International Bowl his current class which ranks 44th according to Rivals.com is the highest rated class he has had.
This is seen as bad in plenty of people's "Irish Eyes" but compare it to where his other classes have ranked and its reason for much optimism in South Bend.
A year ago Kelly parlayed a Big East Championship and Orange Bowl appearance into a class that ranked 60th. Prior to that he pulled in classes of 67th (2008) and 89th (2007) with the Bearcats. Good news here on two parts:
1. He has gotten better at recruiting over the years at a university where it is hard to attract talent. Sorry Cincy fans, you will forever be a basketball school.
2. He has won two consecutive Big East championships at Cincinnati with almost no talent in his upper classes. This years senior class (who was brought in by Dantonio) ranked 102nd in the nation. I don't care if the Big East is the weakest BCS conference, its still an excellent feat.
The more I read/research, the more hope I find in Fighting Irish football under Brian Kelly. He has a much greater recruiting base with the Notre Dame name alone and he develops talent much better than his predecessor at Notre Dame.
He's not Bob Stoops and he's not the current Urban Meyer, but he is pretty similar to the guy Urban Meyer was just before the University of Florida.