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Elite left tackle Hegarty commits to Irish

Apr 29, 2010, 10:31 AM EDT

Brian Kelly is on an absolute roll right now, and his latest recruiting conquest is uber blue-chipper Matthew Hegarty out of New Mexico, widely considered one of the best true left tackles in the country.

“I think when you take it all in, the overall opportunity there, taking it to the next level and the rest of your life, it’s going to really be unprecedented,” Hegarty told “You really get taken in with the whole atmosphere.”

Hegarty’s commitment is a surprise, especially considering that he wasn’t one of the recruits that came up to the Blue-Gold Game. Apparently, Hegarty wasn’t even at his high school when offensive line coach Ed Warriner came by on Monday, he was late returning for school after being stuck in Texas with car trouble after his brother’s wedding. Even with events conspiring against them, Hegarty has canceled his remaining visits to other schools and plans to get started helping Kelly recruit for the Irish.

“Just talking to coach Kelly, at the end of the day you could really feel that he believes in what he does and what he’s trying to accomplish there,” Hegarty said. “Looking at the recruiting class they’re pulling now, they’re really pulling in some quality guys which I hope they continue to do. That’s how you start turning things around. I’d like to get in there and help them get that going.”

That kind of quote has to be music to the ears of Irish fans and the coaching staff, who add Hegarty to tackles Conor Hanratty and Jordan Prestwood. These are three whales that Kelly and company just landed, beating out gigantic schools like Alabama, Florida, and USC for Prestwood, Florida State, Iowa, and Boston College for Hanratty, and now the entire Top 25 for Hegarty. (Heck, even Harvard offered the guy…) These are some major recruiting dominoes to fall, with only Hanratty being a guy that seemed a lock for Notre Dame.

You’ve got to think this finally dispels the notion that Kelly can’t recruit nationally and won’t compete for big name guys. For all the ink that was spilled about “RKGs” (note: you’ll never find that stuff here), it’s clear that Brian Kelly is a force to be reckoned with on the recruiting trail and that he’s got a team of hard-nosed, excellent recruiters that are blazing the trail for Notre Dame during this May evaluation period. 

During a time of year where your wins and losses come from 17-year-olds making a non-binding college choice that they could back out of at any time, the Hegarty commitment feels like the equivalent of taking the Jeweled Shillelagh away from Southern Cal or beating Michigan by two touchdowns. There’s no football yet to be played, but Hegarty’s commitment is a huge win for Notre Dame. 

  1. jimbasil - Apr 29, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    The way this long season of recruiting has begun, it appears I will be eating crow for the next ten months and gladly doing so. Should Kelly’s recruiting continue in this manner, this will likely rival CW’s 2008 corral. I’m going to call it Kelly’s Coup!

  2. Shazamrock - Apr 29, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    ND wins a recruiting battle in New Mexico? I don’t think we have ever had a kid from New Mexico. That’s unbelievable!
    I wonder if playing that game last year in the Alamo Dome had something to do with it?
    We are going to get back to being the team with the biggest, badest,
    offensive line in the country. Can you just imagine what we would be looking at now if the Matt James tragedy had been avoided?

  3. ugetwutuask4 - Apr 29, 2010 at 3:36 PM

    All aboard, the B.K. express is rolling into a town near you in the very near future and you either with us or against us. Roll with us or get rolled over. All we need now is some studs along the D-line to go along with a few solid corners add a couple of safeties and I gaurantee we’ll be in BCS Natn’l Championship Game within the next two years. Mark my words Mark May.
    Go Blue and Gold!!!

  4. Grady - Apr 30, 2010 at 1:52 PM

    I am as excited as the next person about Brian Kelly. But wasn’t Weis bringing in huge recruits when he first started at ND? I do not want to “beat Michigan and USC in May” to just lose to them when it really counts. I hope this is a good sign of what is to come, but I am going to wait until we start winning games before I jump on the “B.K. express”

  5. TLNDMA - Apr 30, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    We’ll save you a seat.

  6. ourlady$ - May 4, 2010 at 8:23 AM

    Another piece of the puzzle, welcome come to the best school in North America!

  7. terry - May 4, 2010 at 10:07 AM

    Grady – Yours is a good point, to which I would reply:
    Weis was an excellent recruiter but he knew NOTHING about coaching college kids, and it showed.
    Kelly has been coaching college kids from day one. Last year he coached a team of 2 and 3 star players to a 12-0 regular season record after having rebuilt his entire defense except for one player from the previous season. UC finished in the top 5 last season. True they were demolished by Florida in the Sugar Bowl but Florida had a team full of 4 and 5 star players who were well coached. In addition they were angry over having gotten a thorough butt-whipping from Alabama on national television which had ended their hopes of repeating as National Champions. Cincy was a bit demoralized just after having lost their coach to N.D. They were in way over their heads and it showed. (IMO Florida could have scored over 70 points.)
    You judge a coach by what he does with what he has. If Kelly can coach a team of 2 and 3 star players to a top 5 finish, imagine what he can do with the talent he has at Notre Dame – there right now, coming this fall, and coming in the fall of 2011.
    Mark your calendars folks – about 8 p.m. est on Saturday November 27, 2010, the sidelines on the USC side will be populated with the usual flora and fauna – stars, wanna-bes, has-beens, never-weres who know somebody, and the usual sprnkling of former players.
    They (and I back here in Maine) will be watching the Irish out on the field making it official – they are BACK.
    Kelly has been coaching for 19 years. He has won everywhere he has gone, so to me there is only one real question – Is he ready for the big time?
    I think he is.

  8. GoGoDome - May 4, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    Kelly has produced wins everywhere he has been. Weis was a blank slate, Kelly is proven

  9. ndreborn - May 4, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    those of you who laughed at notre dame are going to be crying real soon, cause the IRISH ARE COMIN FOR YOU!!! we have alot to be thankful for, and we will be proud of our team and our get ready fans to ROCK THE HOUSE IN 2010. GO IRISH!!!!!

  10. WOOOOO HOOOOOO !!!!!!!! - May 4, 2010 at 3:03 PM


  11. SHAKE IT DOWN - May 4, 2010 at 3:09 PM


  12. shake it down - May 4, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    y not its your team !!!!! we love nd we live nd you should already be on the express !!!!!!!

  13. Joe - May 4, 2010 at 10:45 PM

    So far it really looks good for the Irish. Can’t wait for the fall and I think we’re going to see some great football from the boys. Go Irish!!!!!!!

  14. Ryan - May 4, 2010 at 11:07 PM

    I cant wait until they come out of the tunnel against Purdue. I’m curious how they will react on the field. Especially on Defense. I am already getting chills just thinking about it. Gold and blue through n through. Let me on the Kelly Express. GO IRISH beat the boilers.

  15. what? - May 7, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    Harvard doesn’t “offer” scholarships (haven’t for many a decade).

  16. tommydebo - May 8, 2010 at 9:23 AM

    After reading all this and watching ND practices online and listening to Coach Kelly talk – We are ready to make reservations for the BCS National Champion game. Go Irish! This is your year! Many more to come!

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