Mar 4, 2011, 6:09 PM EDT
It turns out that the recruit that couldn’t make it to last weekend’s Junior Day was one of the first to give his commitment to the Irish.
Offensive tackle Taylor Decker, a 6-foot-8, 285-pound lineman from Butler High School in Vandalia, Ohio pledges his commitment to running backs coach Tim Hinton this afternoon, giving the Irish their second commitment of the week and another massive human being to add to their collection of offensive linemen.
“I really started talking with my parents last night about how Notre Dame has always been my top school,” Decker told IrishSportsDaily.com. “I almost committed right away and I don’t think I’ll be able to keep it back because that’s the one I’ve been waiting for.”
Decker’s decision to join the Irish means he’ll cancel upcoming visits to Michigan, Northwestern and Wisconsin. According to Rivals.com, Decker has offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Indiana and West Virginia as well. Bucknuts.com rates Decker as one of the top five linemen in the state of Ohio.
If you were looking for early leaders in the clubhouse for one of the Irish’s first commitments, Decker was certainly a candidate, as he was on the record earlier in the week as a heavy Notre Dame lean, telling Boston College website EagleAction.com, “Notre Dame has been my top school for a long time and I got offered by then,” Decker said. “If I didn’t have my parents and my coaches telling me to take some visits then I probably would have committed right then to Notre Dame.”
That decision came less than a week later, bringing Decker into the fold for Notre Dame.
Decker’s commitment continues a trend of head coach Brian Kelly and his staff bringing in elite sized power players to campus, making Decker the 18th recruit of the Kelly era that checks in at over 6-foot-5.
Of the 48 players that have committed under Kelly, 18 of them are 6-foot-5 or larger, checking in at 37.5% of players. The numbers in the Weis era, where he recruited 102 athletes to campus, were much lower, only 25.4% of athletes.
Looking closer at those numbers, consider that four of the six players meeting that threshold in Kelly’s 2010 class (that was largely assembled by Weis) were recruits that Kelly either identified or signed. For a more accurate assessment of size and its importance to Kelly’s recruiting system, consider that 10 of the 12 recruits signed in the 2011 class that played outside linebacker, defensive end or offensive line we’re 6-foot-5 or taller. Compare that to Weis’ 2008 class, where only four of eight players signed at those positions were taller than 6-5.
Decker plans to take an unofficial visit to campus in the next week.