Wednesday, February 6th opens up the second National Signing Day for the 2019 recruiting class and for all intents and purposes will bring the current cycle to a quick finish as Notre Dame waits to add one more player to a class that has already signed back in December during the early signing period.

In a few short hours the 2020 cycle enters the spotlight.

With the new cycle comes the Fighting Irish carrying perhaps its strongest hand of the Brian Kelly era, coming off a College Football Playoff appearance and back-to-back 10+ win seasons for the first time in more than a generation. If there’s ever a time for Notre Dame to stay patient and picky for higher-end recruits we’ve reached it now.

It would be charming if the 2020 cycle was curiously bent towards Notre Dame’s region although the 247 Composite Top 100 player rankings remains dominated in other parts of the country. The states of Texas, California, Georgia, and Florida gobble up exactly half of the top spots. Add in Arizona, Maryland, Tennessee, and North Carolina and you’re up to 67 players.

Curiously, 2020 is looking like a weak year for Florida. Despite 12 players in the Top 100 the highest rated recruit right now is Fort Lauderdale receiver Marcus Rosemy at 29th overall. That has to be a modern record for Florida being shut out (for now at least) at the very top of the rankings.

Speaking of receivers, this class is loaded at the position with 18 wideouts (leading all positions by a decent margin) inside the Top 100 and this is definitely having a trickle-down effect for Notre Dame.

The Irish are sitting in great position for St. Louis’ Jordan Johnson (#47 overall) and suburban Chicago’s A.J. Henning (#51 overall) which would be a major boost to the offensive weaponry in South Bend. They are also fighting hard for Fresno’s (yup!) Jalen McMillan (#72 overall). That would be a dynastic haul for Notre Dame.

Elsewhere inside the Top 100 there isn’t a ton of breakthrough at the moment. The Irish are fighting hard for suburban Detroit’s Enzo Jennings (#95) who is listed as an athlete but is being recruited as a defensive back. They’ve been in the mix for suburban Tulsa offensive lineman Andrew Raym (#56 overall) who was once committed to Oklahoma and as you’d imagine is being tugged in multiple directions by the blue-blood programs.

Notre Dame does have the #100 overall player committed in tight end Michael Mayer, while quarterback Drew Pyne (#113) and tight end Kevin Bauman (#120) are just outside the Top 100 and already in the class. The Irish are heavy favorites for Massachusetts offensive lineman Kevin Pyne (#108) and another Chicago area kid in defensive end Rylie Mills (#128), as well. Throw in a battle for Boston prep school linebacker Kalel Mullings (#102) and the options for high-end recruits is looking as good as at any time in recent years.

We’ve talked about Notre Dame needing to seek out more high-end talent and despite every year seemingly feeling like it could be a Top 5 class the program hasn’t been able to reach that type of success in a long time. The program–utilizing its on-field success and cohesive coaching staff–actually looks to be in much better position for top recruits for 2020 and needs to come through with its strongest class in recent memory. If they can’t take advantage now, there will be a lot of head scratching going on around campus.