Notre Dame Football: 5 Biggest Recruiting Commit Busts in Program History
Whether it is Notre Dame or any other college football program, recruiting is a vital component to a team's success.
And recruiting players out of high school isn't an exact science. Some guys have the drive, but their talent isn't able to translate to the college level.
Others take their talent for granted and aren't willing to put in the hard work needed to become successful.
So, who were the biggest recruiting busts in Notre Dame history?
Most of these players came into school with high expectations but never produced.
The others didn't get a chance to play in a single game, or even practice, because they weren't around for very long.
James Aldridge, 2006
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
James Aldridge did everything right while in South Bend, but his career at Notre Dame never took off.
He suffered a knee injury during the offseason before the start of the 2006 season (his freshman year), but coming into school, Aldridge was rated a 5-star recruit by Rivals.com and the 27th-best player in the country in the 2006 recruiting class.
After recovering from his injury, Aldridge played behind Darius Walker and was the team's second-leading rusher with 142 yards in 2006 (3.8 yards per attempt).
Next season, Aldridge did get over 100 yards in his first career start and led the Irish with 463 yards on the season, but he didn't score a touchdown and averaged just 3.8 yards per carry. The team went 3-9 that year (2007).
In 2008, Aldridge ran for 357 yards and three touchdowns, but averaged 3.9 yards per attempt.
Aldridge fell behind a plethora of young, explosive backs in 2009 and carried the ball just six times for 17 yards.
Now, as written about in this 247sports.com article, Aldridge is focusing on making the U.S. national rugby team and was instrumental in bringing a rugby scrimmage to the Blue-Gold game (for those who were confused as to what they were seeing).
Deion Walker, 2008
Deion Walker, like James Aldridge, had a ton of promise coming out of high school. He was a 5-star recruit at one point, but Walker eventually ended up being rated a 4-star recruit by Rivals.com in the 2008 class.
Walker came into school with Michael Floyd, and the two enrollees had Fighting Irish fans giddy at the thought of what the duo could accomplish
While Floyd became one of the greatest wide receivers in Notre Dame's storied history, Walker rarely saw the field.
Loved by his teammates, Walker's lack of statistics didn't affect his dedication to the team.
Eligible for a fifth year in 2012, Walker decided leave Notre Dame for good. He has not announced he will attend another school, and his playing days are likely over.
Dayne Crist, 2008
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Dayne Crist was another player that made athlonsports.com's list of the 100 biggest busts from the 2008 recruiting class (ranked behind Deion Walker at 18).
Crist wasn't unnerved by Jimmy Clausen as the starter, and the 5-star rated quarterback decided to head to South Bend regardless of who was ahead of him on the depth chart.
While Crist had a few chances to be successful at Notre Dame, he also had two devastating knee injuries and was pulled after just one half during the 2011 season by head coach Brian Kelly.
His first saw the field in 2009. He had 10 completions for 130 yards, an interception and a touchdown on the year, but in a blowout victory against Washington State, Crist injured his knee and was out for the remainder of the season.
He came back in 2010 to win the starting job, but injured his knee again against Tulsa and was out for the remainder of the season. He finished 2010 with 174 completions for 2,033 yards, 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed for 74 yards and four touchdowns (although averaged just 1.4 yards per carry).
After beating out Tommy Rees for the starting job in 2011, Crist had a poor first-half performance against USF and was pulled from the game. He saw the field sparingly thereafter. He finished 2011 with 15 completions for 164 yards and one interception.
Crist is reuniting with former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis at Kansas and has been named the starter at quarterback for the 2012 season.
He didn't have a stellar career with the Fighting Irish, but most fans wish the California native nothing but luck and good health.
Tee Shepard, 2012
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Tee Shepard's cousin, wideout Deontay Greenberry, bolted on the Fighting Irish on National Signing Day leaving the team and fans dumbfounded as to why he chose to attend Houston.
While the wide receiver position isn't exactly loaded with star power, the Irish signed two wideouts in the 2012 class, which softened the blow.
And the Irish had already received the letter of intent from Shepard. With the departure of Gary Gray and Robert Blanton, the starting cornerbacks from the 2011 season, the signing of the talented defensive back was a key addition.
However, Shepard decided to leave Notre Dame before even practicing with the team for a undisclosed health issue (cbs47.com).
Making the Shepard saga even worse in fans' eyes, the California native is hoping to attend USC, according the report by cbs47.com.
Shepard was expected to battle for a starting spot in 2012, considering he would have been available for spring practice because he was an early enrollee.
Shepard's departure left the team in serious need of depth at the cornerbacks spot. And while Cam McDaniel has since switched from running back to corner, Brian Kelly will need to focus on cornerbacks in the 2013 recruiting class.
Randy Moss, 1995
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images
Who knows what Randy Moss could have done if he had attended Notre Dame, but by looking at the statistics he racked up at Marshall, it would make one assume that Moss would have achieved quite a bit.
In 1995, Moss was planning to attend Notre Dame but was involved in an altercation. The Fighting Irish and Lou Holtz decided to part ways, and his scholarship offer was rescinded .
Moss then attended Florida State University, but had to sit out a year due to the fact that he had already signed a letter of intent to attend Notre Dame.
While sitting out a year, the young wideout found himself in trouble again due to a marijuana charge and left Florida State for Marshall.
Once at Marshall, Moss shined. He was a All-American both years he played there, and he finished his career with a combined 145 receptions for 2,720 yards and 44 touchdowns in two seasons.
While Lou Holtz was more than happy to be without Moss, a Ron Powlus-Moss connection could have been rather prolific.