Danny Mattingly, a 4-star athlete, has decommitted from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
This is a rare recruiting loss for Brian Kelly and his program and frankly, it's just a rare loss in general this year. The Fighting Irish had a stellar 12-0 season and now find themselves preparing to square off with Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game.
Mason Kelley of ESPN.com reports on Mattingly's decision to decommit:
After taking some time to think about his future, Danny Mattingly (Spokane, Wash./Mead) decided that playing college football for Notre Dame “wasn’t the right thing for me.”
The 6-foot-5, 218-pound athlete confirmed Thursday he is no longer committed to the Irish.
“I’m trying to do what’s best; that’s why I did it,” he said.
It's been a great year for Kelly and his staff in the realm of recruiting, so there's no doubt that losing Mattingly's commitment is going to sting a bit. Even so, the Fighting Irish still have the No. 4 overall ranked recruiting class according to Rivals.com, and it's still an extremely strong class.
A lot of what they should do next in regards to recruiting depends on how content they are with the depth they're establishing.
Mattingly is listed as an athlete by ESPN, and Kelley stated in his report that the 4-star is being recruited as a linebacker and tight end. 247Sports has Mattingly listed as a tight end and outside linebacker as well, and they have him ranked as the No. 18 outside linebacker in the nation according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
From a linebacking perspective, Notre Dame is looking just fine though. Their 2013 class features four linebacker commitments, and two of them have superstar potential. 5-star outside linebacker Jaylon Smith is easily one of the best recruits in the country—ranked as the No. 2 overall recruit according to the 247Sports composite rankings—and 4-star outside linebacker Alex Anzalone projects to be very good as well.
As far as tight ends are concerned, the Fighting Irish have two tight end commitments for 2013 in 4-star Mike Heuerman and 4-star Jacob Matuska. Heuerman specifically looks like he can be a great tight end at the college level, checking in at 6'4'', 220 pounds, running a 4.76 40 according to 247Sports.
Looking at what the Fighting Irish still have, Mattingly's commitment was more of a luxury than anything. Sure, losing him will hurt, but there's no reason for Notre Dame to feel desperate or like they can't bounce back from this decommitment.
If anything, this just offers more room to work with in the effort to land a few more elite recruits, and that should be where the focus lies.
Notre Dame is high on the interest lists of a few big-time recruits, including 4-star safety (5-star according to Rivals) Max Redfield, who has Notre Dame in his final three according to his 247Sports interest list. 4-star strong-side defensive end Alquadin Muhammad should be another major focus, as he has Notre Dame listed as his favorite according to 247Sports.
You never like to lose a commitment, so this isn't the best news for the Fighting Irish, but if there is a bit of good news, it's that the Fighting Irish are set up just fine to overcome the loss of Mattingly's commitment.
There are other recruits Notre Dame need to focus on from here on out.