The Notre Dame football program made a huge splash this offseason, as they inked Marcus Freeman to be their new defensive coordinator. One of the more sought-after assistant coaches on the market, Freeman was coveted by many teams, including LSU, who, early on looked to have the edge in acquiring his services.
However, Freeman decided to leave Cincinnati to join another former Bearcats coach in Brian Kelly, who had the tall task of replacing Clark Lea this offseason. Lea did such a good job as the Irish’s defensive coordinator that he landed the head coaching job at Vanderbilt, and will look to build up the program at his alma mater.
We all know how good of a coach Freeman is in terms of the scheme, and getting the most out of his players, but his impact is going to go well beyond what he does in terms of the game. This defensive is going to improve under Freeman, especially in the secondary, where he has an All-American in Kyle Hamilton, but it is the next group of players coming in that is going to show just how important this hire was.
Notre Dame football will benefit from his elite recruiting skills
When it comes to Freeman, and the impact on the Irish, it will come down to his elite skills in terms of recruiting. This is a guy who built an incredible collection of players at a G5 school with the Bearcats, so it will be exciting to see what he can do with a program that has the history, and the assets of Notre Dame.
Remember, the Irish are desperately trying to bridge the gap between them and the likes of Ohio State, Clemson, and Alabama, teams who make yearly stops in the College Football Playoff. Notre Dame has been in the CFP twice in the last three years but were not legitimate threats, a narrative they are looking to change.
Freeman is a leader of men and is going to make the defense better, of course, but it is the quality of player that he is going to bring in that is going to make the difference. Notre Dame had multiple All-Americans this season and won ten games, so the bridge is narrowing, and maybe Freeman can be the difference moving forward.