Recruiting side of Notre Dame losing Elston to Michigan

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I was asked on Twitter if you could consider Notre Dame and Michigan true rivals since the two no longer play each other anywhere near annually.

To anyone in the know of either program the obvious answer is yes and Mike Elston leaving Notre Dame for his alma mater is the latest chapter in that rivalry that has been fought as much off the field as it has been on. Notre Dame clearly takes a hit in terms of having a star coach on the defensive line but also a star recruiter.

Elston has been a successful recruiter for years but was key in two of the biggest commitments in Notre Dame’s top-ranked class of 2023: defensive linemen Keon Keeley of Florida and Brenan Vernon of Ohio.

Related: Meet Notre Dame’s star-studded 2023 recruiting class commitments

Like any good coach, Elston is successful in recruiting because of relationships he develops. If you aren’t able to form relationships you aren’t going to succeed at the task, its as simple as that and obvious Elston does.

That means you can bet your bottom dollar that Elston will be quick to pursue both Keeley and Vernon in the days and weeks to come. As hard as Notre Dame worked to get those commitments, Marcus Freeman and his staff will have to work just as hard and perhaps even harder to keep them.

The Elston news certainly wasn’t what any Notre Dame observer expected or wanted and it’ll leave a bit of a rough patch that will certainly need smoothing by Freeman and company.

Rivalry on, even if the head-to-head games aren’t.


Notre Dame football coaching staff tracker (updated 1.13.2022)

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