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February 7, 2018

Brian Polian

South Bend, Indiana

BRIAN POLIAN: Just to echo a couple of thoughts from Coach Kelly, our recruiting staff, support staff did a terrific job, not only helping us close this 2018 class, but to get a jump start here the last two weeks on the 2019 class. All the people on campus that help us in terms of the academic meetings, the facilities, all the people that we deal with through this recruiting process, compliance, the equipment staff, FIM, all those people have been fantastic.

Again, Jack Swarbrick, our athletic director, who spends time to meet with a great deal of these families while they're on campus for an official visit, that's a really big deal, and Coach, again, was awesome the last three weeks out there on the recruiting trail.

Terry Joseph really did a nice job, Jeff Quinn, I thought, did a great job getting out there and making sure that Luke Jones stayed in the fold, and obviously the Patterson situation, which I was involved with personally, was a little bit odd because we offered him just as the news that Harry was leaving broke. So you would think that as that was going down that the odds would be against you, and Jeff stepped in and really did a nice job towards the end.

The coaches were awesome. We need to say on behalf of Coach Kelly and recruiting staff, thank you to the families. We take their husbands and dads away for three weeks straight, and I know that the wives and the kids end up sacrificing. We appreciate them a great deal and hope to celebrate with everybody tonight.

Coach mentioned it; we had to address the running back position. We were able to do that. The offensive line we felt like going into the second phase was very, very important to add to there is a big deal. The defensive backfield got better. You know, so we're in a place right now that we're really excited.

The thought of closing versus non-closing, I'm not sure I totally buy into that. I think if you've got a really good class and they've been committed for a while, who cares when they said yes. As though the answers that you get at the end dictate your class. I know that we're coming out of today with a pretty good feeling because we got some guys at the end that decided to join the family, including one that went off at like 11:30 in the morning. So that obviously sends you into the rest of the day with a good feeling. But whether that had happened or not, we can't lose sight of the fact that from when you step back and look at the class as a whole, including the 21 that signed in December, that you're really, really excited about it. It's a really good group, and no matter what happened today, that was not going to change our feeling.

So it's a great class. We're excited about it. I think Coach mentioned 13 or 14 states, so the footprint remains pretty big. But we also believe that as this recruiting changes a little bit, the value on really good players that can drive here and get to see our place a little bit earlier in the process is going to be of value.

With that, I'll take any questions that anybody might have as it relates to this class or anything that happened out west.

Q. A similar question to what I asked Coach Kelly. Having gone through the process of the early signing period, looking back on it, what are your thoughts on it?
BRIAN POLIAN: Yeah, the one thing that caught me off guard was geographically people move at a different pace in recruiting. I don't think there was many players out west that were in a hurry to sign in December. We're seeing a lot of the West Coast kids took it all the way through February.

But what happened was a guy that in December who may have been focused on two or three places, on January the 12th, another 10 schools that had not been recruiting him at all, all of a sudden step up and offer.

I think what happened was as people's boards started to take shape and names came off and you said, okay, we didn't get this guy, where are we going next, well, as they move through the lists, a lot of those players were already signed at other schools, and all of a sudden people were recruiting outside of their normal geographic footprints and guys from schools that would normally be recruited by certain conferences were blessed and humbled to receive my 39th offer since January the 12th. I mean, it was -- it got a little crazy that way, and I don't know if I anticipated that, that something we saw from a big picture, and certainly from guys that I was recruiting out west. Penn State offering in mid-January to guys in California was a little bit odd.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BRIAN POLIAN: Yeah, I mean, ultimately I think our situation is a little bit unique because ultimately the guys that want Notre Dame know it and feel it, and that's why ours is a place that should do well in the early signing period. 21 is a good number.

That didn't shock me. It did give us a little bit of time to regroup on people, but also the pool got deeper, you know. Yeah, it's different, and like Coach said, I agree. If I were making suggestions with the addition of the early signing date, and I'm speaking only for myself, I say we keep the limit at five, but why not let a young man take two official visits to one institution because if somebody says to us from far distance, I want to come make a visit to your place in the spring, well, ideally you want them to see a game atmosphere here, as well. I mean, there's nothing like Notre Dame Stadium and this campus on a game weekend.

Now we're going to have to get into some strategic decisions about when do we want young men to take visits, do we want them here in June or do you want them here in September when you've got Michigan under the lights and a national TV audience. Those are going to have to be some of the tactical decisions we think about.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BRIAN POLIAN: No, the last three weeks of recruiting at any school is about disinformation and about other schools trying to confuse 17- and 18-year-old kids, and to know that you had the vast majority of your class locked up, it was good. But I will say this: I mean, there was a thought process that this was going to lower the stress for everybody. All it did was create the stress twice.

I promise you that December 17, 18 and 19 were pretty stressful leading up to the early signing date, and I can promise you that January 4, 5 and 6 were pretty stressful for everybody leading up to this date. It split it in half, but it certainly didn't make it any less -- all the same issues that exist in recruiting, they just existed twice now.

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