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September 12, 2012

Notre Dame to ACC: What it means for recruiting

MORE: Visit IrishIllustrated.com

Dallas Jackson is the National Columnist for Rivals.com. Email him your comments or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

The Atlantic Coast Conference Council of Presidents has announced that Notre Dame will be added to its conference in all sports but football, and the Irish will play at least five ACC members per season in football.

It's a move that can only help Notre Dame from a recruiting perspective.

Jake Brown of IrishIllustrated.com believes Notre Dame can increase its recruiting presence in an area of the country where it has been actively trying to make a stronger impression.

"It will put Notre Dame in front of kids in the Tidewater [Virginia] area and in the Carolinas," Brown said. "Those are two major areas that this current staff has been trying to go hard into. If you want to stretch it even further north it will get Notre Dame into Washington, D.C., too. All of those areas are viewed as being on the rise in talent, and this staff has put an emphasis on recruiting there."

As recently as last week Notre Dame got a commitment from Richmond (Va.) Woodberry Forest School in four-star linebacker Doug Randolph who was previously committed to Stanford.

In the Class of 2012, Notre Dame landed wide receiver Chris Brown from Hanahan (S.C.) High, offensive lineman Mark Harrell from Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic, defensive end Romeo Okwara from Charlotte (N.C.) Ardrey Kell, and defensive back CJ Prosise from Woodberry Forest (Va.) Academy.

The Class of 2011 featured three players from the region as well and was headlined by Myrtle Beach (S.C.) High quarterback Everett Golson but also included defensive end Ben Councell from Asheville (N.C.) Reynold and Matthias Farley from Charlotte (N.C.) Christian.

According to Brown, it is a move that makes an already well-respected brand more relevant in all areas of the country.

"Notre Dame has gone coast-to-coast with its recruiting," he said. "The foundations of the program will still stay in the Midwest, but with games on the West Coast and now guaranteed games on the East Coast it will make the program more aggressive nationally than it is has been in maybe the last 20 years."

[ More from IrishIllustrated.com: Notre Dame joining ACC ]

Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said that while this move will not only help Notre Dame; it is a major victory for the ACC.

"This can be a move that helps Notre Dame in the Southeast," Farrell said. "They are picking it up in South Carolina and have usually done well in North Carolina and Virginia. But this could move them into Georiga and Florida with games against Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Miami.

"But I do think this is a move that will help the entire conference. There was a perception that the ACC was just barely a more viable conference than the Big East, but this is a very visible move of strength for the conference."

The earliest the move can be made without penalty is 2015, but it will end the current relationship between Notre Dame and the Big East.

The schedule requirements and their impact on longstanding traditional rivalry games are another focal point on the move but Brown does not believe it will be hard to accommodate the requirement.

"Notre Dame will not lose the old rivalries with Michigan, Navy, and USC," he said. "They will probably put the other games in a rotation and fans will still see games with Purdue and Michigan State.

"It was probably a concession the school had to make to not become a full member of the conference."

The current Notre Dame schedule has four games against current or future ACC programs: Miami (Fla.), Pittsburgh, Boston College, and Wake Forest.

ACC commissioner John Swofford, in a joint statement with the Council of Presidents, said that the addition of Notre Dame helps strengthen the conference goals of balancing academics and athletics.

[ Dan Wetzel: Notre Dame protects schedule ]

"Notre Dame enhances the league's unique blend of public and private institutions that are international in scope," Swofford said. "The collective alumni and fan bases cover the entire country with exceptionally strong roots up and down the Atlantic Coast. This is a terrific milestone in the evolution of the ACC and showcases tremendous solidarity and vision by our Council of Presidents."

Notre Dame president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., said that the move to the ACC offers other advantages to the school.

"With a mix of institutions -- many of which are also private, similar to Notre Dame in size, and committed to excellence in research and undergraduate education -- the ACC is an exceptionally good fit for us academically, as well as athletically," he said.

"It is our hope that, over time, we will be able to explore the possibility of academic collaboration as well as athletic competition with these outstanding universities," Jenkins said.


Dallas Jackson is the National Columnist for Rivals.com. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.



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