Notre Dame not focusing on recruiting in bowl decision

Notre Dame not focusing on recruiting in bowl decision
November 25, 2013, 4:45 pm
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Notre Dame is universally projected to head to Yankee Stadium for the Pinstripe Bowl next month, though it's not the only option on the table.

There are bowls played in more fertile recruiting grounds than New York that could be open for Notre Dame, like the Independence Bowl (Shreveport, La.), Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas) and Poinsettia Bowl (San Diego). All those bowls have open spots due the SEC, Big Ten and Army not fulfilling bowl tie-ins. 

But more goes into the decision as to where Notre Dame will spend its bowl game than recruiting, location, payout and the like.

"In this instance I'm not really concerned about it from a recruiting standpoint," coach Brian Kelly said. "I want this to be a reward for our seniors, and so the bowl opportunity for our team is going to be in large degree based upon the input that I've gotten from our seniors and where they'd like to go and where they'd like to play."

No offense to Shreveport, but northern Louisiana on New Year's Eve may not be too appealing for a bunch of 22-year-olds. Of course, Notre Dame's senior class has already played a game at Yankee Stadium, in case playing in the House Steinbrenner Built carries a significant influence. 

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The recruiting bump for a non-BCS bowl may be negligible, too. While Shreveport is the home of 2015 four-star offensive line commit Jerry Tillery, and Dallas and San Diego are located in two of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the nation, playing in a mid-to-lower-tier bowl game probably doesn't move the needle for local recruits. 

Where location matters, Kelly said, is in making connections with local coaches. 

"If we're in Dallas or if we're in a certain geographical area in Florida, we can entertain more coaches in those areas relative to practice sites," Kelly said. "I think it's more of a networking opportunity with coaches and then the opportunity for them to see you at that site. But I really do believe it's more geographical than it is the particular bowl itself."

Playing in New York wouldn't necessarily mean punting a recruiting bump, either. Notre Dame has strong connections to the New York/New Jersey area, and has verbal commits from five-star offensive lineman Quenton Nelson (Red Bank, N.J.) and four-star defensive tackle Jay Hayes (New York City) for its class of 2014. 

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