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Insider Recruiting Q&A - ND, Iowa, UNC & More
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 30, 2011


Brian Kelly was never known as a top-shelf recruiter at Cincinnati, but is he starting to get more looks at Notre Dame from top prospects? Have Iowa’s off-the-field issues had any effect on recruiting? Are NFL-caliber players still hot for UNC? These questions and a lot more in Part Two of the key questions and insider answers for the 2011 recruiting season.


Recruiting 2011 - Key Questions

The Inside Info - Part Two

 
What's happening this recruiting season? Several Scout publishers provide their insider info on the key questions that matter to the real world of college football.

- Recruiting 2011 - The Key Questions, Part 1. How is Will Muschamp doing at Florida?
- Recruiting 2011 - The Key Questions, Part 2. Is Kelly getting the job done at ND?
- Recruiting 2011 - The Key Questions, Part 3. Is Auburn going after another Cam?
- Recruiting 2011 - The Key Questions, Part 4. Ohio St, Bama, and their new threats
- Recruiting 2011 - The Key Questions, Part 5. Is Oklahoma still getting the top QBs?
- Recruiting 2011 - The Key Questions, Part 6. Who is Oregon going after?
- Recruiting 2011 - The Key Questions, Part 7. The Big 10 and Nebraska.

- Recruiting 2010 - The Key Questions
- Recruiting 2009 - The Key Questions

CFN Top Prospects for 2011
- No. 1 to 50 | No. 51 to 100 | No. 101 to 150
- No. 151 to 200No. 201 to 250 | No. 251 to 300
- Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers
- Tight Ends | Off. Tackles | Guards & Centers 
- Def. Ends | Def. Tackles | Linebackers | Corners | Safeties 
- 2009 CFN Top 150 | 2010 CFN Top 200
 
Q: Have Iowa’s off-the-field issues had any effect on recruiting? Is Kirk Ferentz getting a better class of defensive lineman after the success of the last few years?

A: I haven't noticed it having a direct effect on recruiting. I have heard some recruits refer to Iowa as a party school, however. It's out there. It would probably affect next year's class more than the current one if it has any effect at all.

Iowa consistently has produced NFL defensive linemen in the Ferentz Era, but that's not always a result of landing highly rated prospects at the position. Matt Roth was a LB. Jonathan Babineaux came to Iowa as a FB. Aaron Kampman was a LB. The Hawkeyes received verbals from a pair of three-star DL in 2011 and still are in the hunt for four-star Darian Cooper as I write this. If Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard go in the first round this year, I could see that impacting Dl recruiting in '12.

I think the Iowa coaches went into the class thinking wide receiver. While the Hawkeye brass grabbed some good prospects at that spot, they were forced to address RB due to attrition on the roster. They landed Rodney Coe and Mika'il McCall. They are receiving an official visit this weekend from four-star back and Stanford verbal Remound Wright from Fort Wayne. – From Robert Howe, HawkeyeInsider.com

Q: Brian Kelly was never known as a top-shelf recruiter at Cincinnati, but is he starting to get more looks at Notre Dame from top prospects? How is he compared to Charlie Weis?

A: Kelly has been able to gain the attention of top prospects that never would have considered attending Cincinnati for a simple reason: he’s at Notre Dame. At Cincinnati he couldn’t go to Florida and sign Aaron Lynch and Anthony Rabasa. He couldn’t have gone to Georgia to sign Stephon Tuitt, or Brooklyn to sign Ishaq Williams and noted as such when he referred to a "300-mile" recruiting radius for the Bearcats program.

Brian Kelly hasn’t opened doors from Notre Dame, rather Notre Dame has opened doors for Brian Kelly and this January, he and his staff took advantage of every opening. Charlie Weis was a successful recruiter, but he just wasn’t able to get the results on the field. Thus far, Kelly has shown he can be a successful recruiter, and he showed over the second half of last year that he can have a little bit of success. If he can develop those players and maximize their potential as he did in the final month of 2010, he’ll be a successful head coach in South Bend.

Many would have expected the offense to be the focus for Kelly for the 2011 recruiting class, but he and his staff made the defensive side of the ball a priority. 14 of their commitments are likely defenders and nine of those 14 commitments are in the front seven. The big-time defensive recruits Kelly has landed in this class are defensive ends Aaron Lynch and Stephon Tuitt as well as linebackers Ishaq Williams, Jarrett Grace and Ben Councell. – From Jeff Baumhower, Recruiting Analyst, IrishhEyes.com

Q: Does Ron Zook still have his recruiting touch from a few years ago? Has Illinois’ bounceback year had any effect on recruiting?

A: Coach Zook is still an excellent recruiter. As you probably know, recruiting for any year is based in large part on the degree of success of the college team's season during players' junior years of high school. The Illini were only 3-9 in 2009, and that affected who would be interested in the Illini at the beginning of the process. By the time Illinois proved itself to be much improved in 2010, many top athletes had already eliminated them.

Despite those limitations, most feel it’ll be an excellent recruiting class, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Literally, it’s an understatement to say there are more players interested in coming to Illinois than there are scholarships available. Zook has a good staff, and all work hard at recruiting. While the class won't be rated in the top 20, it will fill gaps and provide excellent depth. Momentum from the Texas Bowl win should get Illini coaches into the living rooms of more top prospects for the 2012 signing class. – From Jack Tuttle, illinois.scout.com

Q: Is Paul Johnson getting the right guys in place to make his Georgia Tech offense really rock? Is he trying to find a quarterback who can throw a bit more?


A: One of the big needs on offense (and defense) for Georgia Tech was to rebuild depth along the line. On the offensive side of the ball, Georgia Tech has 5 commitments and all look to be perfect fits for Coach Paul Johnson's system. With regard to quarterback, Durham's Vad Lee is heading to the Flats following an excellent season. Lee is as good a passer as he is a runner and is expected to bring more diversity from the QB position. The defensive line class is still a work in progress with a couple of recruits undecided. But, as noted above, the line is the real focus for this class. Also, adding depth at LB was probably the next concern and the class assembled seems to be addressing that need. – From Jonathan Leifheit, GoJackets.com

Q: Have the events of the last year changed Butch Davis and North Carolina’s recruiting practices in any way? Are NFL caliber players still interested like they were when Davis was first hired?

A: Davis and his staff have approached recruiting the same way as they always have. The only difference this year is that everyone has to constantly answer questions regarding the NCAA investigation and its potential outcome. Opposing coaching staffs have made concerted efforts to use the NCAA uncertainty against them. But through it all, the Tar Heel staff's recruiting practices remain the same.

The NFL prospects are definitely still interested. Davis recruits prospects with potential NFL size, speed, and ability. Players like Travis Hughes, Landon Turner, and Kiaro Holts - who fit into that criteria -- have either enrolled already or are solid verbal commitments.

UNC has had several position focuses with this class, the most important of which were signing a high caliber quarterback -- which it did with Marquise Williams' enrollment -- and solidifying both the offensive and defensive lines. Other key positions for what is projected to be a full class are running back, linebacker and cornerback. - From Don Callahan, InsideCarolina.com
 
- Recruiting 2011 - The Key Questions, Part 1. How is Will Muschamp doing at Florida?
- Recruiting 2011 - The Key Questions, Part 2. Is Kelly getting the job done at ND?
- Recruiting 2011 - The Key Questions, Part 3. Is Auburn going after another Cam?
- Recruiting 2011 - The Key Questions, Part 4. Ohio St, Bama, and their new threats
- Recruiting 2011 - The Key Questions, Part 5. Is Oklahoma still getting the top QBs?
- Recruiting 2011 - The Key Questions, Part 6. Who is Oregon going after?
- Recruiting 2011 - The Key Questions, Part 7. The Big 10 and Nebraska.

- Recruiting 2010 - The Key Questions
- Recruiting 2009 - The Key Questions

CFN Top Prospects for 2011
- No. 1 to 50 | No. 51 to 100 | No. 101 to 150
- No. 151 to 200No. 201 to 250 | No. 251 to 300
- Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers
- Tight Ends | Off. Tackles | Guards & Centers 
- Def. Ends | Def. Tackles | Linebackers | Corners | Safeties 
- 2009 CFN Top 150 | 2010 CFN Top 200