As an alumnus and over interested-follower of Notre Dame sports and football in particular, I think you more or less get it right.
I would highlight the fact Notre Dame is emulating the Duke basketball model on the football field. I tend to think the talent pool of African-Americans who can compete at the highest levels of college football and not completely embarrass themselves in an institution where they must pass a calculus class and if they are business majors intro accounting (which is the class the ND starting QB got caught cheating in and subsequently kicked out of school) is increasingly found in the prosperous suburbs of Atlanta, Charlotte, and Baltimore.
That makes a lot of sense. It raises a question that white people are generally oblivious to: metropolitan variations in black quality. I got in trouble during Hurricane Katrina for pointing out that the bad behavior of New Orleans blacks shouldn't be considered a random sample of how blacks nationally behave: we already had lots of evidence that New Orleans blacks, like Milwaukee blacks, were below the national average in law-abidingness and educational application.
What kind of horrible white person knows things like that?
In contrast, there's a fair amount of statistical and anecdotal evidence that intelligent blacks are congregating in the suburban Atlanta area, and perhaps parts of North Carolina, too. If I was a black college graduate and wanted my kids raised around black college graduates' kids, I would definitely consider moving to Atlanta or a few other similar metropolitan areas.
The urban school systems in the Midwest have quit producing scholarship athletes. In Minneapolis and St. Paul the city schools barely field football teams even though they must be loaded with potential athletes. Any African Americans who want to play big time sports either go the Catholic School (Cretin in St. Paul) or head out to the western suburbs of Minneapolis (Hopkins Wayzata).
It's an interesting thought experiment, is the dearth of athletes caused by the abandonment of the schools, youth programs etc, or has anyone who was a clue just moved south and left the midwest with only the dregs.
The other demographic trend that killed the Big Ten and Notre Dame's recruiting in the midwest is the white ethnics aren't what they used to be. The 1988 ND national championship team had a Kolwalkowski, a Stams, a Smagala, a Bolcar, a Grunhard, an Alm. In Minnesota, the big white kids all play hockey. Maybe on the east coast they're playing lacrosse. Maybe hockey.
Thanks and Go Irish
You can see this at the high school level. I saw this with the local rich kid's private high school in my neighborhood. My neighborhood is maybe 3 percent black, all middle class or above, almost all connected in some fashion to the entertainment industry, all thoroughly integrated in housing. (It's like Stanley Kramer's vision in 1962 of racial utopia.)
The first year, this local private school had one black football player, a very fast but very small freshman. My son's school beat the local school in a good, close game. By the third year, the local school had suddenly acquired about eight huge fast black players, and won 46-0. By the fourth year, all the giant black players had vanished, leaving only the little black receiver, now a senior, and the game was close again.
I never got the Inside Story on this strange evolution, but I assume that an ambitious coach had brought in a bunch of superstars from South-Central. But then, maybe, something very, very bad happened and all the superstars from South-Central were kicked out, leaving the one good but undersized black athlete who had gotten into the school back as part of the normal course of events, not as part of some demented coach's plan for world domination.
The ideal set-up for a private high school with football/basketball ambitions is to be located near a large pool of middle class blacks, such as Baldwin Hills south of Beverly Hills. Perhaps Serra HS in Gardena, south of Baldwin Hills, which had Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, the future USC star receivers as teammates, might be an example.