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Notre Dame football roster full of sons of NFL veterans

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When you watch a Notre Dame football game next year, you may feel like you’re watching a game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and not South Bend, Indiana.

Notre Dame’s 2025 recruiting class currently sits at No. 2 in ESPN’s rankings, with a chance to become the Irish’s highest-ranked class in a decade. It also brings back memories for Pittsburgh Steelers fans of the early 2000s.

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

The Pittsburgh lineage is the latest example of a trend in 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 transfers, Jordan Clark and RJ Oben, have fathers who both spent more than a decade in the league. Jordan’s father Ryan, who narrowly missed the aforementioned Steelers trio but overlapped with both Taylor and Burress when the latter returned to Pittsburgh in 2012, commented on social media about the recruits’ photo.

This fall, Oben and Clark will join a roster already filled with NFL pedigree. 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 defenseman 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 team is, when you watch the Irish this fall, be prepared for a trip down memory lane.

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