The talent in Chicago is as good as it’s been in a decade; with its proximity to Notre Dame football and the University, will the coaching staff capitalize? There’s a long way to go in the 2024 recruiting cycle, but the staff is off to a strong start with the Chicago area’s top prospects.
Cam Williams, a 5-star wide receiver in my opinion, is already committed to the Notre Dame football program. The 6’2” 185-pound stud out of Glenbard South has been committed to the Irish since this past summer. A talented receiver who should only transcend current rankings, Williams is the first in a long list of talent the Irish coaching staff is targeting. In addition, the team recently offered another offensive talent: Mount Carmel running back Darrion Dupree.
According to 247Sports, Dupree is the 12th-best player in Illinois, but the coaching staff seems to love his exciting play. He stands 5’10” and weighs 190 pounds, but he’s a quick and agile back, similar to Chris Tyree. Considering his size, it should be noted that he tends to break through arm tackles with ease. Dupree breaks numerous tackles for significant gains in multiple runs throughout his tape.
On defense, the Irish are targeting a couple of big prospects along the defensive line in Marquis Lightfoot and Justin Scott. Lightfoot is a 6’5”, 215-pound edge rusher out of Kenwood Academy. Marquise has as bright of a future as anyone at the collegiate level. Scott can line up just about anywhere on the defensive line, given his size and explosive ability. At 6’5” and 310 pounds, Justin should be the top priority for the coaching staff and Al Washington in this cycle.
However, while Scott was given a crystal ball to the Irish by Tom Loy of 247Sports, things may have just gotten murkier with a Georgia offer. Georgia is obviously a top program in college football right now, and it’s something to celebrate getting an offer from them. That said, I don’t think Scott ends up there. While he may check it out and give the situation due diligence, I believe him creating a powerhouse defense at Notre Dame is his move. What could be more rewarding than that Notre Dame degree, playing for a storied program, earning NIL money, and getting drafted after cementing your legacy less than two hours from home? Short answer: Nothing, with all due respect to Georgia.
Obviously, the staff can still sell kids on the chance at a once-in-a-lifetime education while attending a powerhouse in football. But, thanks to NBC, Notre Dame will give kids even more opportunities than Georgia or Alabama to play on national television weekly. Being seen performing at a high level at a top program will boost NIL opportunities and NFL draft stocks.
Don’t believe me? Let’s wait to see what kind of NIL deals Sam Hartman and others get with Notre Dame football this year
Nothing would be an easier sell to these kids than pairing all that critical information with the fact that they could play close enough to home. Frankly, Notre Dame is nearly the perfect distance from the Chicago area. It’s far enough that you can’t just pop home on break from class but close enough to head home any weekend. After living in downtown Chicago for five years, I’m very familiar with the Notre Dame roots in the city.
Notre Dame has something in Chicago they’re not often able to offer to top recruits, and that’s its distance. After some talented Chicago area prospects have played at Notre Dame in the past, the pipeline has since been closed off for whatever reason. It’s time to change that narrative.