Irish among recruiting underachievers

Football Outsiders' Brian Fremeau has Notre Dame as one of five recruiting underachievers over the last few years, a distinction that should not shock many.

Fremeau looked at the last five seasons to see how often teams with lower-rated recruiting classes beat teams with stronger recruiting success, and vice versa. Teams with better classes won 67 percent of the games.

The Irish, however, have lost 25 games as the "more talented" team.

Like Michigan and UCLA, inconsistency through head coaching transitions has been part of the problem in South Bend. Kelly and his staff landed a number of gems last season that provided an immediate impact on the defensive side of the ball, an area of strength going forward.

But there are many more holes to plug in order for the Irish to live up to its total recruiting profile potential. Gunner Kiel joins an already crowded spring quarterback battle, the outcome of which will ultimately determine Brian Kelly's fate in South Bend.

Kelly's success at Cincinnati in out-performing recruiting expectations hasn't materialized at Notre Dame yet, and the losses to inferior opponents like Navy and South Florida have exhausted the limited patience of some fans already. A challenging schedule in 2012 will stretch that patience even thinner, so it will be absolutely critical for Kelly to win the games the recruiting numbers insist he should win.

Michigan, UCLA, Miami and Florida State join Notre Dame as underachievers.

Brian Kelly's last school, Cincinnati, is among the overachievers, which include Stanford, Boise State, Baylor and Oregon State.