Notre Dame Football: Did Deontay Greenberry Snub Leave a Giant Void?
As National Signing Day came to a close for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, coaches, players and fans were left to contemplate why wide receiver standout Deontay Greenberry decided to ditch the team and play at Houston for his college football career.
No one could read the mind of the young man that day, but Notre Dame wasn't the right fit. Greenberry said he was planning to go to South Bend for "the wrong reasons," according to Fresnobee.com.
Regardless of why Greenberry decided to snub the Irish, there is no question that his talent would have been utilized by coach Brian Kelly.
Greenberry was named Mr. California his senior year at Washington Union and had 105 receptions for 2,108 yards and 32 touchdowns (Maxpreps.com). He would have been the front-runner to replace the incredible productivity that Michael Floyd accomplished on a consistent basis.
Greenberry was the top receiver in Notre Dame's recruiting class and would have also been one of the top recruits that the Irish nabbed.
While Coach Kelly must have been upset, one shouldn't assume that he lost a lot of sleep over the issue.
Kelly has been more concerned with structural changes.
He has moved around the offensive coaching staff quite a bit (although losing a few coaches helped push him in that direction). Kelly named Chuck Martin as the offensive coordinator, has Tony Alford just focusing on the slot receiver position (and running backs) and put Mike Denbrock in charge of the outside receivers.
The Martin move may seem to have been the most bold of the three considering he has been a defensive coach his whole career, other than his time as head coach of Grand Valley State, but he also called offensive plays as the head coach there.
Kelly made some changes on the sideline, and he is looking to making some changes on the field as well.
Notre Dame has a decent amount of talent at wide receiver that has yet to be fully developed. While Greenberry's resume may incline one to think that he would have been successful immediately at Notre Dame, a 4 or 5-star designation doesn't mean much once you hit the field. College football is a whole new ball game.
After Greenberry's departure, most of the conversation has been about who or what the team is lacking, but the Irish have a lot to look forward to with the current wide receiver unit.
Coach Kelly is quoted as saying in the South Bend Tribune, 'We want to play fast, but we've been so low in numbers at that position. We've suffered an injury here or there. That's why we're still recruiting wide receivers. It puts a ton of reps on guys."
There are only four wide receivers returning with any experience catching passes for the Irish. Theo Riddick, TJ Jones, Robby Toma and John Goodman are the four (and Deion Walker has extremely limited experience if he decides to return), but Kelly's quote gives the impression that wideout will be a rotating door next season.
If Coach Kelly wants the team to play fast, then he will have to keep his players fresh.
DaVaris Daniels, Luke Massa, Matthias Farley, Daniel Smith, the two incoming freshman wide receivers and any of the running backs that Alford is looking after could contribute to the depth needed for a rapid pace (and freshman KeiVarae Russell could also end up seeing time at wideout).
Even with more wide receivers seeing time, some of the guys who played last year will need to step up.
While fans may have lost faith in TJ Jones, Kelly doesn't feel that way.
He stated in the same South Bend Tribune article, "There are certainly guys that have a ways to go who can continually get better. We feel like we're on the cusp of TJ Jones breaking out."
Kelly thinks Jones has enough talent to become a major contributor to the offense. Many fans think Roma has breakout potential (myself included), but Coach Kelly feels the same way about Jones.
However, it's obvious that Kelly wants an offense that uses multiple rotations at wideout, so even if Jones does break out this season, his numbers aren't likely to mirror Floyd's statistics.
Kelly knows exactly want he wants with his receiving unit in 2012: speed, depth and most importantly, talent.
He has slowly been building the position that way since his first year with the Irish.
Now, fans just have to hope that Kelly will put the most apt quarterback on the field in order to make his offensive vision become a reality.
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