Irish fans have plenty of scars from recruiting wars over the past five years, but the ones that linger the longest and hurt the most are the players that go elsewhere after verbally pledging their commitment to Notre Dame. The mere mention of names like Greg Little, Justin Trattou, Omar Hunter and Chris Martin is enough to make blue and gold blooded recruitniks cringe.
This summer, Brian Kelly landed arguably the biggest fish on Notre Dame’s radar this recruiting when Aaron Lynch (a dynamic defensive end from Florida) said he would enroll at Notre Dame in 2011. He was so taken in by the place and found campus to be so special that he actually spread his grandfather’s ashes on the field in Notre Dame Stadium.
So what happened a few months later? He decommitted and decided to go to Florida State. Forget explaining the 180 to ND fans and coaches; how does he explain it to Grandma?!?
During Notre Dame’s October swoon Brian Kelly also lost his grasp on LB Clay Burton, OL Jordon Prestwood and RB Justice Hayes. He’s done a nice job finding replacements and is in the hunt for some elite prospects that perhaps could be upgrades from all of the above, but it’s crucial that no more bleeding occurs.
The new gem of this recruiting class is Stephon Tuitt, a defensive end from Georgia who is ranked the #26 overall prospect by Rivals. Just last weekend he took a visit to look at Auburn and said that while he thinks Notre Dame is the place for him he’s still open to going somewhere else.
An elite Irish verbal commit along the defensive line is waffling. Stop me if you’ve heard this story before.
That’s where you come in Santa. Remind Stephon and all the other verbal commitments who may be tempted to go back on their word to remember why they chose Notre Dame in the first place. Help them to see that they can contribute to the rise of the sport’s largest sleeping giant and make it clear that if they spurn Our Lady that they’ll be on the naughty list forever.