Irish hoping Texas game brings recruiting bump

Irish hoping Texas game brings recruiting bump
October 3, 2013, 10:45 pm
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame is bringing the Shamrock Series to Texas this weekend, and Saturday's game against Arizona State will mark the program's first regular season contest in the state since 2009.

With the game comes a hope that playing in the talent-rich state will produce a local recruiting bump.

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Notre Dame began to make an impact in Texas with its last recruiting class, signing four-star wide receivers Corey Robinson (San Antonio) and Torii Hunter (Dallas area), as well as three-star tight end Durham Smythe (Belton, between Austin and Dallas).

Safety Nicky Baratti, cornerback Jalen Brown, running back Cam McDaniel and kicker Nick Tausch all hail from Texas as well.

"In Texas, you only hear A&M or Texas," Robinson said. "Those are the only schools you hear, and SEC and other Big 12 schools. You never hear anything about Notre Dame unless you follow them."

Notre Dame coaches will be present at a few high school games across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex on Friday night, and prospective recruits will get tickets to see the Irish play Saturday at Cowboys Stadium.

"A bump would probably be a good word," coach Brian Kelly said. "Is it going to seal the deal for us in a lot of these instances? Probably not, but it certainly helps to have the kind of exposure there."

Getting Notre Dame on the minds of Texas recruits is the goal. Playing in the BCS Championship last year likely helped (even with the result), but getting that up-close look at the program without having to travel all the way to South Bend would seem to help more.

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Robinson, who grew up in San Antonio and didn't watch much college football until his senior year of high school, said playing in the backyard of a number of recruits could be a nice boost.

"Everyone's seen 'Rudy' -- that was my first exposure to that," Robinson said. "And then I never really knew much more (about Notre Dame) than that. And if they're coming down to Texas, then I'd be able to see them play, talk to the coaches, learn more about the program."

Getting down to Texas is one thing, but getting back is another. Notre Dame, though, is scheduled to play Texas in Austin in 2016, so Irish coaches can promise recruits a game in their home state.

Even if it's just one game out of 48, it could help recruiting efforts. After all, native Texans love the state of Texas.

"We're some of the most prideful individuals in the nation, that's for sure," McDaniel said. "And so, sometimes, we kinda have that state pride, and it's really tough to leave that place that you think is the promised land."

Saturday's game isn't just about recruiting -- Notre Dame's played Shamrock Series games in far less talent-rich cities and states -- but it certainly plays a factor.

And if all goes according to Notre Dame's plan, it'll help lure recruits away from one "promised land" to another.