The 2012 State(s) Of Recruiting

notre dame recruiting
Welcome to the 2012 State(s) of recruiting. If you have been a loyal reader (or even a casual observer) of Subway Domer over the past 5 years, then you already know of my fascination with the origins of Notre Dame’s scholarship roster. Where do these kids come from? Well, to answer quite plainly; ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. 

Despite Stanford’s recent recruiting successes, and their very diverse roster of players from different states- no one does it quite like Notre Dame, as good as Notre Dame, in as bad of a geographic are, or as long as Notre Dame. Notre dame is a NATIONAL recruiter. However, their “pipelines” have virtually stayed the same for well over a decade. There are states that rise in numbers, and then there are states that almost seem to be forgotten in relation to what they use to send to South Bend.

The whole notion of “regionalization” of recruiting has a very broad meaning. I found it funny and also quite annoying during all of the conference expansion talk, that “analysts” would ay something stupid like, “If Texas would join the Big 10- it totally opens up the Texas recruits to the schools in the Big 10.” First of all, Texas is one of those states that sends recruits all over the country. They have a ton of talent. However, to think that 5 star or high 4 star kids from Texas would start looking harder at teams like Minnesota, Illinois, or even Iowa is completely absurd.

Recruiting is much broader across ALL programs due to the immense coverage of the sport via the media and the internet, and because coaches bounce all over the country and they keep up their relationships to football factory high schools from previous stops.


When it is all said and done, and no matter how superficial it may actually be, recruiting battles are mostly won by the coaching staff that has a better relationship with the recruit than the rest of the country. So basically, if you work your ass off, get your foot in the door, and have something to actually sell these recruits- it doesn’t matter where they’re from. That’s why you are starting to see more and more diverse rosters- just not quite like Notre Dame.

Enough of the babbling… ON TO THE MAP!

Ribbed Color coded for your pleasure:

  • Freshman: PURPLE
  • Sophomore: YELLOW
  • Junior: RED
  • Senior: BLUE
  • 5th Year: GREEN 

View The State of Recruiting 2012 in a larger map

Here are the Top 8 States, per tradition:

1. Indiana

  • 10 Players
  • Average Star Rating: 3.50
  • Most Notable: Tyler Eifert (3*),  Zach Martin (4*), Braxston Cave (4*)
  • Biggest Loss: NONE
  • Newcomers: Gunner Kiel (5*), Sheldon Day (4*), John Turner (3*)
  • 2011 Ranking: #5 (7 / 3.28 A.S.R.)

This is the 6th year that we have done this annual post, and Indiana ALWAYS surprises me. Why? I mean, Indiana is Notre Dame’s home state, right? Yes, but Indiana has never been known as a hotbed of football talent, and Notre Dame is such a national recruiter that Indiana always seems to be took for granted. Well, after landing the #1 pro-style Quarterback in the country and now here they are on the top of this list… Indiana is for real. The thing with Indiana, is that the recruits that Notre Dame signs from this state have generally been good players for the program. I don’t think Indiana will last past this year as the “King of the Mountain” in this category, but they will continue to be in the top 8- and that should be expected. (BTW- Indiana was actually tied with two other states for the number of players, but after the highest A.S.R. tie-breaker, they topped it with the starting player/impact player tie-breaker). 

2. Ohio

  • 10 Players
  • Average Star Rating: 3.50
  • Most Notable: Andrew Hendrix (4*), Dan Fox (3*)
  • Biggest Loss: NONE
  • Newcomers: William Mahone (4*)
  • 2011 Ranking: #2 (9 / 3.55 A.S.R.)

Ohio has always been a valuable asset to Notre Dame, but the territory in this talent rich state is generally narrowed down to Catholic schools in either Cleveland and Cincinnati. Yes, Notre Dame will get a kid here and there from other spots within the state, but that is their comfort zone and their bread and butter. Despite this, the irish only landed 1 recruit from Ohio in Will Mahone. Mahone was one of the most important recruits in this class, as the Irish needed an actual running back that had some power after the departure of Jonas Gray. You have to wonder how this states place in these rankings will shape up in the future with Urban Meyer holding court in Columbus. Will Meyer be more aggressive with the Catholic School kids than Tressel was? Yes. If Meyer wants the kid, he is going to throw the moon at them, and with the possible “emergence” of Michigan- this state could see some slim pickings. Watch Ohio closely.

3. Florida

  • 10 Players
  • Average Star Rating: 3.10
  • Most Notable: Aaron Lynch (4*), Louis Nix (4*),  Zeke Motta (4*)
  • Biggest Loss: Dan Wenger (4*)
  • Newcomers: Justin Ferguson (3*), Jordan Prestwood (3*)
  • 2011 Ranking: #3 (8 / 3.22 A.S.R.)

We need to clear something up before we continue. Last years list included Wenger. Wenger was thought to be a guaranteed 5th year by myself and a few others. That obviously wasn’t the case. Also, Prestwood transferred to ND AFTER this post came out. Now… Florida sees itself in the #3 spot for the 2nd year in a row after years of owning the top spot. Notre Dame just isn’t getting the numbers out of Florida recently. Take away the Prestwood transfer, and there is a very serious problem looming of only signing ONE recruit from what is one of the most talented states in the country. Plus, three of the 10 are Heggie, Turk, and Cowart ( a massive project, punter, and long snapper… not what you would expect from this state). Notre Dame has got to get its shit together in this state and and return to signing 3 or 4 recruits yearly from Florida. The thing is, is that ther is A LOT of competition in-state, and from all over the country.

4. California

  • 8 Players
  • Average Star Rating: 3.75
  • Most Notable: Cierre Wood (4*), George Atkinson (4*), Troy Niklas (4*)
  • Biggest Loss: Dayne Crist (5*)
  • Newcomers: Tee Shepard (4*), Amir Carlisle (4*)
  • 2011 Ranking: #1 (9 / 3.88 A.S.R.)

Once again, a transfer is somewhat saving the day for a major pipeline state. California fell off the top of the mountain, and landed in the #4 spot. Notre Dame only signed ONE recruit from the 2012 class. ONE. Again, this is unacceptable. Amir was definitely a nice touch, and the last minute flip by Greenberry hurt, but ND lost battle after battle to California kids to Pac-12 schools. Notre Dame deliberately decided to end the regular season each year in California, and recruiting has always been the biggest reason for that. What in the hell is the point, if you are only landing one recruit? Coming in 2nd, like we do with a lot of cali kids, is nothing m ore than the #1 loser. 2013 has, per usual, a TON of really good recruits with interest in ND. The Irish have got to do a much better job on the Gold Coast. 

5. North Carolina

  • 6 Players
  • Average Star Rating: 3.16
  • Most Notable: Prince Shembo (4*)
  • Biggest Loss: Robert Blanton (4*)
  • Newcomers: Romeo Okwara (3*), Mark Harrell (3*)
  • 2011 Ranking: #7 (5 / 3.80 A.S.R.)

North Carolina burst on to this scene in 2010, and the number of players from this state has continued to go up each year. There isn’t any real mystery as to why Notre Dame would play a game AT Wake Forest. The Irish are trying to really lay down the foundation for a “pipeline” state, and playing games in said state is traditionally a great way to help the cause. In my mind, I like to include both Carolinas in this discussion and then we are talking about 8 players in an area less than a quarter of the size of California. I think Kelly will continue to hit this state hard, and for one reason or another, the Irish will continue to land a recruit or two every year to keep pushing this state up in the rankings.

6. New Jersey

  • 5 PLayers
  • Average Star Rating: 3.60
  • Most Notable: Theo Riddick (4*), Bennett Jackson (3*), Carlo Calabrese (3*)
  • Biggest Loss: Mike Ragone (4*)
  • Newcomers: Elijah Shumate (4*)
  • 2011 Ranking: #6 (6 / 3.50 A.S.R.)

In the three classes that Brian Kelly has signed at Notre Dame, Elijah Shumate is the first player from New Jersey that he has landed. What was a state coveted and drooled over and talked about and obsessed over by Charlie Weis, has now become almost an after thought for Brian Kelly. Now, ND was very, very close to adding more to this class, but it just didn’t happen. New Jersey has a lot of really good talent, and it has a few of the better programs in the country. This state can not just go by the wayside. Hopefully, things get turned around, or else New Jersey may end up like Pennsylvania (not a good thing).

7. Illinois

  • 5 Players
  • Average Star Rating: 3.40
  • Most Notable: Tommy Rees (3*), Chris Watt (4*)
  • Biggest Loss: Darius Fleming (4*)
  • Newcomers: Scott Daly (2*)
  • 2011 Ranking: #4 (7 / 3.85 A.S.R.)

Illinois is another state that has seen better days within the Irish roster. To put it into perspective; Notre Dame only signed one player for the 2012 recruiting class- a long snapper, Scott Daly. In fact, they only signed one player last year as well (DaVaris Daniels). Illinois should always be in the top 8 for Notre Dame and they probably will be, but there is a big difference in being in this top 8 and being a playa in this top 8. There continues to be great talent in this state, and of course more specifically in the Chicagoland area. Will Notre Dame move forward in Illinois, or will they continue to slip behind? If it is the latter, the Irish may be in serious trouble on NSD next year, and years to come.

8. Texas

  • 5 Players
  • Average Star Rating: 3.00
  • Most Notable: Kapron Lewis-Moore
  • Biggest Loss: NONE
  • Newcomers: Nick Baratti
  • 2011 Ranking: #8 (4 / 3.00 A.S.R.) 

Brian Kelly has placed Texas as a higher priority than the previous staff. Although the Irish only sign about one player a year from Texas, the groundwork that has been laid may start to really show itself this year with a handful of Texas recruits giving very serious consideration with Notre Dame. Texas is a state that is just loaded with great football players, and like Florida and California; there is a ton of competition for these players. It will be interesting to watch Notre dame in this state, and if they can land 3 or 4 recruits this year. It’s possible, even if it may not be very likely on the surface. Notre Dame’s last Heisman winner and the 2011 Heisman winner were both from Texas. Just saying…


Alright folks, that just about covers it. those are our top 8 states. It should be noted that although they provide the biggest number of recruits to Notre Dame, we are just talking about numbers. 85 scholarships are allotted, and Notre dame can never seem to fill them all. It takes a combined effort across the country to make this team, and if Notre Dame is going to finally get back to being an elite program on the field- it will take even more effort.

OK… Here is some more stuff to ponder:

The PIPELINE. Since we started doing this in 2007, six states have been in the Top 8 every year. No, Pennsylvania is no longer a pipeline state. North Carolina is emerging as one, but not quite there. Stragglers happen in groups.

2007 9 7 6 8 - 3 - 4 6 - - 4
2008 8 7 8 4 - - - 7 7 4 - 4
2009 9 7 8 4 - - 4 6 8 - - 6
2010 11 7 9 4 - - - 5 7 - 4 7
2011 8 9 9 - 4 - - 7 7 - 5 6
2012 10 8 10 - 5 - - 10 5 - 6 5

More stats that you will need!

  • Notre Dame’s scholarship roster in 2012 will be represented by 23 different states. 
  • There are 9 states with only 1 player on the roster. Those 9 states have a combined A.S.R. of 3.66.
  • The Irish have 10 players from their home state.
  • The Irish have 18 players from Indiana’s border states. 
  • The Irish only have 2 players from those states that border Indiana’s border states. 
  • 30 players from Notre Dame’s home state out of 83 scholarship players. 36% of the roster.

Have fun stalking the 2013 class y’all!!!!

The Subway Domer

About The Subway Domer

Warlord and Emperor of the Subway Alumni... also, I do this "dad" thing pretty damn well.