‘#SteelIrish:’ Notre Dame’s 2025 recruiting class continues NFL lineage


If you tune into a Notre Dame football game next year, you might feel like you’re watching a game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and not South Bend, Indiana.

Notre Dame’s 2025 recruiting class currently slots in at No. 2 in ESPN’s ranking, with the chance to be the Irish’s highest-ranked class in a decade. It also rekindles memories for Pittsburgh Steelers fans from the early 2000s.

Included in the list of recruits currently set to sign with Notre Dame this winter are Ivan Taylor, Elijah Burress and Jerome Bettis Jr. The trio’s fathers overlapped on the Steelers’ roster from April 2003 — when Ivan’s father Ike Taylor was drafted — to the end of the 2004 season, when Elijah’s father Plaxico Burress signed with the New York Giants.

The Pittsburgh lineage is the most recent example of a trend throughout the Irish roster, with the sons of NFL veterans flocking to South Bend. Joining Taylor, Burress and Bettis in Notre Dame’s 2025 recruiting class is James Flanigan, whose father Jim had a nine-year NFL stint.

The NFL connections don’t end in the Irish’s high school recruiting ranks. Two of the team’s recent graduate transfers, Jordan Clark and R.J. Oben, have fathers who both spent more than a decade in the league. Jordan’s father Ryan, who just missed the aforementioned Steelers trio but overlapped with both Taylor and Burress when the latter returned to Pittsburgh in 2012, took to social media to react to the recruits’ photo.

This fall, Oben and Clark will join a roster already filled with NFL lineage. Incoming freshmen Kennedy Urlacher and Bryce Young are the sons of Pro Football Hall of Famers Brian Urlacher and Bryant Young. Offensive lineman Rocco Spindler‘s father Marc played eight seasons in the league, and star defensive back Benjamin Morrison‘s father Darryl spent three seasons with the now-Washington Commanders. Rounding out the list is stalwart defensive lineman Howard Cross III, who shares his name with his father, a league veteran with more than 200 games under his belt for the Giants.

No matter who your NFL squad is, if you find yourself watching the Irish this fall be prepared to potentially take a trip down memory lane.

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