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Insider

ACC exposure can only help Notre Dame

9/14/2012

From a football recruiting perspective it's hard to determine how much Notre Dame's move to the ACC in other sports will help. But at the very least, it certainly will not hurt the Fighting Irish on the trail.

Notre Dame will play more games in Florida, a state that already provides the Irish with several commitments each recruiting cycle. The move will obviously boost what is an already strong foothold there.

The biggest benefit could come in more traditional ACC areas: Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. The Irish have done well mining North Carolina since Brian Kelly’s first class in 2010, securing six commitments from the state.

And they're doing much better recently in Virginia, with a commitment there in each of the classes from 2012 to 2014.

That leaves Maryland and the Washington D.C. area, which has not been kind to the Irish in the last few years.

In Kelly’s first three seasons at Notre Dame, he whiffed on all 12 Maryland/D.C. prospects to whom he tendered an offer. Of the five he offered in 2013, one, Devin Butler (Washington, D.C./Gonzaga), is committed.

Now the Irish will play Maryland at least once every three years, providing Notre Dame a recruiting base that past games with Navy hasn't been able to provide. As any coach will say: Exposure is key in the areas you want to recruit.

Notre Dame could be within driving distance several times a year for recruits out of Maryland and the Baltimore/D.C. metro area, which is home to power programs such as Baltimore Gilman, Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy, Washington (D.C.) Friendship Collegiate and Olney (Md.) Good Counsel. On average, there are 20 high-level players in and around that area in each recruiting cycle.

The move to the ACC could help the Irish in Georgia, too, which is making a case to change the traditional "big three" of California, Florida and Texas to a "big four." Kelly has landed a commitment from Georgia in three of his first four classes at Notre Dame.

In all, 119 members of the ESPN 300 reside along the Atlantic Coast, between Maryland and Florida. The Irish have sent out 17 offers to 2014 prospects in those states already, and have earned a commitment from Woodberry Forest (Va.) linebacker Greer Martini.

Overall, though, the ACC is a recruiting haven, ripe with prospects up and down the coast. Even for a national recruiting program like Notre Dame, it sure won’t hurt the Irish to play in the backyard of some of the country’s top recruits several times a year.