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Notre Dame beats Michigan for commitment of Lloyd Carr's 5-star grandson

Though the reality is more complicated than it appears, the optics are a loss for the hometown team.

The grandson of one of the ultimate Michigan Men is about to be a Notre Dame kid.

CJ Carr, grandson of former Wolverines head coach Lloyd Carr, has committed to Notre Dame. 

Not only is it a feather in the cap of new head coach Marcus Freeman and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees (Carr's lead recruiter) to change Carr's maize-and-blue blood to gold-and-blue, it's also a major football win. The 247Sports Composite ranks Carr as the No. 20 overall player and No. 5 quarterback in the class of 2024. 

Notre Dame's 2023 class presently ranks No. 1 in the country with 14 pledges, and Carr is expected to be a cornerstone of the 2024 class. 

Notre Dame's future quarterback is the grandson of a man who went 122-40 as the head coach at Michigan. Lloyd Carr joined the program in 1980 as Bo Schembechler's defensive backs coach, coordinated defenses for Schembechler and Gary Moeller, then served as the program's head coach from 1995-07. He won five Big Ten titles, posted five AP top-10 finishes and, in 1997, claimed the program's only national championship since 1948. By the way, Carr also beat Ohio State six times and owned a winning record against Notre Dame.

Lloyd Carr was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011. CJ's father, James Carr, played quarterback at Michigan. Not only that, CJ's maternal grandfather is Tom Curtis, a College Football Hall of Fame safety for the Wolverines. CJ Carr is literally Michigan football royalty. 

And now their progeny will one day play quarterback for Notre Dame. (It surely helps that Michigan and Notre Dame's next scheduled game is not until 2033.)

“Michigan will always hold a special place in my heart. My grandpa coached there,” CJ said Thursday. “My dad and my mom went there. I’ll always be a Michigan man, and Michigan is my hometown. But I’m just really excited to be part of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish now.”

Of course, the window through which we view recruiting is always an opaque one. The fact that CJ grew up in such a Michigan household actually worked against Jim Harbaugh's staff. The Carr family lives in Saline, Mich., eight miles south of the Big House. Part of the reason Notre Dame beat Michigan is simply because CJ wanted to get out of eastern Michigan for college.

“We’re always going to be a Michigan family. He’ll always have a place in his heart for Michigan,” CJ's mother Tammi told The Athletic. “But he wanted to go away. Every kid should have that chance, no matter what their last name is.”

Mike Hart was Michigan's lead recruiter for Carr. Hart bonded with the Carrs by explaining that, having grown up 12 miles south of Syracuse, was bound and determined to leave home for college, too.

And it's not as if Carr is the only blue-chip recruit in the state of Michigan. Both the Wolverines and the Irish are after Dante Moore, a 5-star recruit in the 2023 class out of Detroit's Martin Luther King High School. 

If Moore picks Michigan (he's also being recruited by Oregon, LSU and Texas A&M, in addition to Notre Dame and others), the sting of losing Carr will lessen considerably.

But if they don't, losing the Crown Prince of Michigan Football will be an example of how Harbaugh's program failed to capitalize on the magical 2021 season.