Notre Dame Football: 5 Recruits Who Can Turn Program Around in 2012

James ToljCorrespondent IIJanuary 4, 2012

Notre Dame Football: 5 Recruits Who Can Turn Program Around in 2012

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    If the Notre Dame Fighting Irish want to be among college football's elite, then they will need to utilize the talent in their incoming recruiting class.

    However, there are still a few recruits that have yet to commit to a school that could send the program on a meteoric rise as well. 

    A few positions for the Irish are thin either in depth or experience, and cornerback is probably the thinnest in both.

    But even if there is depth and experience at a certain position, it doesn't hurt to bring in a superstar or two.

Tee Shepard

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    Recent reports that Tee Shepard would pick where he would be attending college out of a hat have worried Irish fans (whether he was joking), but has confirmed that the talented cornerback has decided upon Notre Dame and is close to enrolling.

    Once enrolled, Shepard instantly becomes one of the favorites for the starting cornerback position.

    He stands at 6'1", but his height doesn't take anything away from his incredible footwork or the fluidity that he turns his hips with.

    Shepard already has a deep understanding of the cornerback position, so if he can grasp the defensive playbook, he will see the field early and often for the Irish.

Nelson Agholor

2 of 5 rated Nelson Agholor a 5-star recruit for a reason. He plays on both sides of the ball, and he is one of the best athletes in the country. Now, all the Irish need to do is get him to commit to Notre Dame

    While Agholor can play in the secondary, he would be a fantastic addition to Notre Dame's receiving corps or at running back. 

    So, just how versatile is the 6'2" youngster?

    In his junior season, he had 1,494 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns, 356 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns, 27 total tackles, three interceptions and he returned punts and kickoffs. 

    Agholor would be a great fit for Notre Dame on the offensive side of the ball, but if the Irish have a open spot somewhere, he can probably fill it. 

Deontay Greenberry

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    The Irish sure could use Nelson Agholor's athleticism on offense, but even if he doesn't come to Notre Dame, Deontay Greenberry could bring enough firepower to the wide receiver position.

    The wideout uses his 6'3", 185-pound frame to easily beat opposing secondaries for jump balls downfield, and with the Irish losing their only real deep threat, Greenberry's skills are much needed. In his junior season, Greenberry showed he could produce with 66 receptions for 1,208 yards and eight touchdowns.

    He might not be Notre Dame's next Michael Floyd. I don't think many fans expect him to be, but with Greenberry's tremendous talent, at moments, he could remind onlookers of Floyd.

Ifeadi Odenigbo

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    If the Irish want some speed to replace outside linebacker Darius Fleming, then Notre Dame needs to bring in the pass-rushing ability of Ifeadi Odenigbo (and he very well could commit to the Irish soon).

    Obenigno is a sack machine. According to, he brought the quarterback down 10 times his junior year and had 40 tackles as a defensive end. 

    The Irish already have some promising talent at both outside and inside linebacker, but putting Obenigno opposite Ishaq Williams on the edge could be a dynamic duo for years to come.

    Add in Aaron Lynch and Stephon Tuitt at defensive end, and rival quarterbacks will be having nightmares about the Irish defense.

Ronald Darby

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    When Ronald Darby goes to play a game, he is almost always the fastest guy on the field. Even when Darby makes a mistake at his cornerback position, he is fast enough to make up ground and break up a pass.

    In fact, Darby isn't just a football player, he is also a track star. An ESPN article by Jamie Newberg highlighted that Darby finished his high school indoor track career as the "nation's fastest runner in the 200- and 100-meter sprints."

    Darby still needs to add a few pounds at 5'11" and 172 pounds, but when he does, the Irish would be smart to utilize his lightning speed as a returner.

    With Tee Shepard set to commit as well, the Irish could have two freshmen starting at cornerback next season. While that almost always is a formula for disaster, Shepard and Darby could rewrite that equation.