Notre Dame, Texas A&M and the 9 football teams with surprisingly good or bad recruiting classes

Alabama is currently holding on to the No. 1-ranked football recruiting class for the 2023 cycle, which at this point, under Nick Saban, is to be expected.

It hasn't been the typical recruiting cycle beyond the Crimson Tide, though, as we have seen some new programs emerge at the top of the rankings and some blue bloods off to a slow start. Notre Dame skyrocketed to the top of the rankings very early in the cycle, only to get passed by Alabama, and is now fending for its position at No. 2.

Texas A&M finished the 2022 class with the No. 1 overall class and five five-star commitments, but now sits outside the top 25. There's still time to make moves up and down the class rankings.

Nine teams have, for better or worse, gotten off to surprising starts in recruiting for the 2023 cycle. With just over three months until the early signing period, we break down the teams overachieving and underachieving this recruiting cycle.


Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Class rank: 2nd | ESPN 300 commits: 15
Previous three cycles: 7th (2022), 9th (2021), 14th (2020)

The Irish, who haven't finished inside the top five since 2013, are tied with Alabama for the most ESPN 300 commitments (15) and are ranked second, right behind the Crimson Tide.

Seven of Notre Dame's commits are ranked inside the top 100 overall and nine are in the top 10 at their respective positions. The top-ranked commits in the class are safety Peyton Bowen, linebacker Jaiden Ausberry and wide receiver Braylon James.

Marcus Freeman is in his first season as head coach and has shown he can land recruits from some of the more highly contested and talent-rich states. Four ESPN 300 commits are from Texas, one is from California, one is from New Jersey, one is from Ohio and one is from Louisiana.

For a first-year (and first-time) head coach to have the Irish off to such an impressive start is a sign that he'll have Notre Dame playing and recruiting at a high level in the future. Because the staff has 23 total commitments, it will be difficult to keep the current ranking as other programs continue to add to their classes.