Notre Dame has wrapped up its 2023 recruiting class by landing an outstanding group of offensive recruits. It was a bit of a winding road for the Notre Dame offensive coaches, but once the current group was put together it hit the ground running and earned a lot of impressive wins.
Notre Dame needed a great year on this side of the ball and got it. Let’s hand out grades, which consist of meeting needs from a numbers/depth standpoint, talent of the signees and fit into the system and culture.
Signee: Kenny Minchey
This was an incredibly wild ride, but in the end I think Notre Dame not only landed one of the best quarterbacks in the class, they landed a kid who is a perfect fit for the program. During the summer while he was still committed to Pitt I ranked Minchey as the No. 81 overall player in the country and as the No. 7 overall quarterback in a loaded quarterback class. Notre Dame needed to land a Top 10 quarterback in this class and they got one.
Minchey also fits what OC Tommy Rees wants quite nicely. Minchey earns rave reviews from everyone who engages with him in a football context for his football IQ. He’s one of the smartest quarterbacks in the class and shows the ability to absorb a lot of offense, which is important for Notre Dame. That intelligence plays itself out on the field, where Minchey plays with great anticipation and decision making. He has a fast, compact release, he shows excellent ball placement and touch, and he can get the ball out with velocity and can attack defenses over the top.
He’s mobile, but his mobility is primarily used to buy time as a passer. When he does run he can be a chain mover that can run some read zone concepts to pull it and get out the backside, but he’ll be better suited on RPOs than read zones. All he is really missing to be the ideal passer is a couple of more inches of height, and his grade also comes down a tad because he missed half of his senior season.
Signee: Jeremiah Love
Notre Dame only needed one running back in this class, but it wanted two, and the fact it didn’t get what it wanted is why this grade dropped down to an A-. If we’re talking about what they needed, and the talent they landed, it’s hard to argue with where things ended up. After landing two very good backs in 2021 (Logan Diggs, Dear Audric) and an incredibly talented back in 2022 (Jadarian Price), Notre Dame needed a big time player in the 2023 class and they got one with Love.
Notre Dame got on Love relatively early, and when they landed him he was a dynamic athlete that was a bit raw and tools as a player, but his game needed a lot of technical work. As a senior, Love really broke out and played dominant football. His vision and feel for the game took a huge leap, he was thicker and ran with more authority, and he did all that while maintaining his home run skills.
Love looked natural as a runner as a senior and his game took off, but he’s also a major weapon in the pass game. He fits the Notre Dame offense quite well, and he showed he’s a money player. In 8 career playoff games, Love rushed for 1,022 yards and 17 touchdowns on just 92 carries (11.1 YPC).
Signs: Rico Flores Jr., Jaden Greathouse, Braylon James, Caleb Smith
It’s hard to imagine the 2023 recruiting cycle ending up much better for Notre Dame than this four man haul, which will be able to stand up against any receiving class in the country. Notre Dame hit an A grade for need, fit and talent with this four-man haul.
Notre Dame has a long home run hitter in James, a dominant high volume pass catcher in Greathouse, one of the best route runners in the country in Flores and they landed a player in Smith that brings much-needed shiftiness and big play potential with the ball. Not one of these players is pigeonholed into one position either, as both can line up in at least two positions in the Notre Dame offense.
Beyond numbers needs, Notre Dame needed to add more big play ability and it needed to add more size to the roster. It also needed at least two players that can come in and play right away, and the grades for each of those categories is high as well. James and Smith both have electronic 40-yard dash times in the 4.4 range, and both show home run ability while playing in Texas. Greathouse is one of the most ready to play wideouts in the country, and Flores should have a chance to play early as well thanks to his polish, feel for the game and hands.
This group erases many of the roster issues that were created by the predecessor to Chance Stuckeyand it was a grand slam home run for the first year receivers coach.
Signee: Cooper Flanagan
Notre Dame only needed one tight end in the class and it needed a tight end that was more traditional in his style of play. Landing Flanagan checked both of those boxes. He is a bit of a throwback tight end thanks to his impressive size (6-5, 240) and his ability to line up attached to the line and to dominate as a run blocker.
Flanagan is a quality athlete and pass catcher as well, so he’s far from being just a physical one trick pony. He will do a lot of work from a traditional tight end alignment, but he has a chance to be a pass game weapon as well. Flanagan nicely complements the one-two punch of Eli Raridon and Holden Staes that Notre Dame signed in the 2022 class.
Notre Dame could use a player like Flanagan in the lineup next season, so the Irish get a bit of a bump up in grade here to a B+ because they landed a player with the tools to come in and compete for an immediate role.
Signee: Sullivan Absher, Charles Jagusah, Joe Otting, Sam Pendleton, Christopher Terek
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Notre Dame hit all the marks needed in this class. The Irish needed four offensive linemen in this class, but the staff wanted five. It met that need. Notre Dame needed to add some players that could compete in the interior, and it met that need. Notre Dame needed a left tackle in the class, and it got one of the best in the country. It needed two players who could play tackle, and it got that.
Jagusah is a five-star recruit who showed as a senior that he could play left tackle when the need arises. He could also easily step into the right tackle spot or a guard spot and be just as dominant. The potential he flashed as a junior turned into consistent production as a senior, and his grade took off. Jagusah always had a five-star upside grade, but that upside became reality this season. Having a player of his talent anchor this class is a big part of the reason it earned an A-grade beyond the depth needs.
Pendleton, Terek and Otting are all tackles in high school but project as interior players. Pendleton is a sound player that brings brute force to the game, Otting is an athletic player with a very high ceiling and Terek is a grinder. The key to this class, and what will ultimately determine if it lives up to its grade is Absher. He’s very, very toolsy but comes from an option offense and he has a big transition to make. If he pans out, either as a right tackle or dominant guard, this class will be big time.
The Irish also needed an infusion in brute force, and honestly that might be the best part of this class. All five players, including the undersized Otting, are physically dominant players that punish defenders on the regular.
There are a couple of areas where a talent upgrade could be had, but overall this is a very balanced, talented and deep offensive class. It landed one of the best quarterbacks in the country, it landed five impact skill players, it landed speed, it landed size, it met its needs for players that can help early on and of course at the foundation is a big, deep and physical offensive line class.
Any criticisms with this class would be around the degree of the talent, and we’re arguing about whether it should be an A, A- or B+. That’s a great place to be, and it was an absolute must to land this type of class after what happened at the end of the 2022 cycle and after the 2020 and 2021 classes had so many injuries and departures.
A — Elite / College Football Playoff caliber
B — Outstanding / Top 15 caliber
C — Solid / Borderline Top 25 caliber
D — Subpar / Not good enough
F – Disaster
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Irish Breakdown Content
Notre Dame 2022 Roster
Notre Dame 2022 Schedule
Notre Dame 2023 Scholarship Offers
Notre Dame 2024 Scholarship Offers
Ranking The 2022 Signees – Offense
Ranking The 2022 Signees – Defense
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