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Shepard settles on ND, set to enroll

Jan 4, 2012, 12:02 AM EDT

Tee Shepard, Jordan Westerkamp

The final score for the first annual Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl was the West edging the East 17-14 in the latest national All-Star game to capture recruitniks attention. But the biggest headline leaving Phoenix wasn’t any play made on the field, but rather a recruiting victory all but finalized by Notre Dame.

Cornerback Tee Shepard, who sent shockwaves through the recruiting world when it was reported he’d allegedly pick either Notre Dame or USC from a hat to make his final college decision, unequivocally finalized where he’s enrolling for the spring semester.

“I’m 100-percent committed to Notre Dame, I fly out tomorrow night and enroll,” Shepard told Justin Hopkins of 247Sports. “That isn’t changing.”

Bob Weineke of the South Bend Tribune, who is in Arizona covering the game, caught up with Shepard after the game, to try and put an end to one of the more seesaw final months of a recruiting battle we’ve seen this year, for a cornerback that’ll come in and immediately challenge for playing time with Gary Gray and Robert Blanton departing.

“There was a rumor out there that I had committed to ‘SC,” Shepard to Weineke. “I just want to let the world know that I’m going to ND. “I just wanted to go on TV so everybody could know.”

Of course, Irish fans likely won’t feel safe about Shepard’s recruitment until Shepard is enrolled in classes and locked into his commitment. But closing Tee’s commitment also likely finalizes his cousin Deontay Greenberry‘s pledge to the Irish, with the blue-chip wide receiver the offense’s most important recruit and seemingly the one that kept the seas calm when it appeared USC had his cousin’s ear.

The Irish coaching staff will mobilize Wednesday, back on the road recruiting as the staff comes down the home stretch before Signing Day early February.

  1. herringbonesports - Jan 4, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    Boy this is some great news on a disheartening night. I caught some of the game and Shepard looked very good, fluid. Loved when he came up and made a big tackle near the line of scrimmage.

    His cousin Greenberry definitely looked like he belongs on offense. He had an INT while playing CB, but had been badly beaten on the play and picked up a deflection and looked like an athlete on the return.

    Keith, you’ve been killing it lately by the way. I don’t often comment, but I read everything you put out.

    • 808raiderinparadise - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:12 PM

      Ok, well we have been getting huge recruits for years:

      Gary Gray
      Jonas Gray
      Jimmy Clausen
      Manti Teo
      Aaron Lynch

      and still winnning in medicocre fashion

      • dickasman - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:30 PM

        Hey man, don’t forget the best of the bunch John Goodwoman. All he did was fair catch 8746486846848 balls. Where would ND be without him?

      • dickasman - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:30 PM

        Hey man, don’t forget the best of the bunch John Goodwoman. All he did was fair catch da hell outta 8746486846848 balls. Where would ND be without him?

  2. takingbovadasmoney - Jan 4, 2012 at 1:02 AM

    was it true he committed because his new position coach is the old hockey coach dave poulin?

  3. takingbovadasmoney - Jan 4, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    qb play will be improved with the new qb coach digger phelps!

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Jan 4, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      @taking…….I don’t understand your 2 posts. Am I missing something here or are they just failed attempts at humor?

      • 1historian - Jan 9, 2012 at 9:58 PM

        both. Actually I’ll take that back, but you’re not really missing anything because there is nothing to miss

  4. mcirish27 - Jan 4, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    Definitely believe this solidifies Greenberry. Welcome Tee and DG! Now go make ndnation and Fresno proud by killing it on the field and in the classroom for the next 4 years!

    • ndfan12345 - Jan 5, 2012 at 1:55 AM

      how does anyone give this a thumbs down?

  5. jerseyshorendfan1 - Jan 4, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Keith, I hope it was an unintentional pun to say that USC had Shepard’s ear.

    • borromini - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:41 PM

      LOL!

  6. dickasman - Jan 4, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Guys, what are your expectations for next year? Whatever drama that happens in the end, I’ll take a 3 loss year. Anything less than that should be a failure and will be calling for a new coach.

    • bernhtp - Jan 4, 2012 at 1:10 PM

      The team will need to be MUCH better than this year’s to have only three losses given the far more difficult schedule. It’s way too soon to be talking about coaching changes given Notre Dame’s history of coaches this last decade.

      • dickasman - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:39 PM

        what’s your prediction for next year? You think we’ll lose more than 3? I agree, we have to make a BIG jump next year in order for us not to lose more than 3.

      • bernhtp - Jan 4, 2012 at 4:16 PM

        Expectations? Every year I hope for 13-0 and a national championship. It’s been a while.

        I think that 10-3 or 11-2 should have been the record this year given the talent and schedule. We should not have lost the first two games and FSU, and were good enough to take USC and/or Stanford on a good day.

        I hope and expect the team to progress next season despite losing some great players. I think we can do 9-3 next year, but the schedule difficulty makes for worse with some injuries, especially early.

        As far as coaching, Kelly isn’t an idiot. He’s certainly made his share of mistakes, but has the intelligence, experience, and effort to improve the program.

        I will be interested to read Kelly’s memoirs many years from now where he openly discusses his decisions concerning Crist and Rees.

    • txbeej - Jan 4, 2012 at 2:18 PM

      My expectations are pretty … uncertain for next season given the state of the quarterback position. A win over Michigan or USC or Oklahoma or Stanford would be awful nice. Just one sort of surprise win would do my morale a world of good. Heck, I’d rather lose to BC and beat Oklahoma than the other way around.

      Actually, speaking of BC, can we get those guys off the scnedule? I’m tired of the slap-fights with them, tired of Doug Flutie’s stupid smug face and his condescending remarks, tired of watching those two-star hacks completely stymie Notre Dame’s offense with some ridiculous defensive scheme. (“Tommy Rees takes the snap and … there’s nowhere to go. Boston College has dropped all 11 of their slow white guys into coverage. The perfect defense! Notre Dame will not be scoring much today, folks. How could they? There are literally slow white guys clogging up every passing lane! IBM reportedly has all their supercomputers working around the clock on a counter to this brilliant gambit, but a solution is not expected for several years.”)

      • dbldmr - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:06 PM

        That’s pretty funny. What an astonishing game to watch…your description was perfect. Rees could have stood around for ten seconds with nobody open.

      • dickasman - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:34 PM

        LOLOLOL….

    • dickasman - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:37 PM

      To Those Who Silently Gave me 13 Thumbs down, I give you one middle finger up your fallopian tubes. WTH did I say that was so wrong? So you expect ND to lose more than 3 games next year and you’d be ok with it?

      • bernhtp - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:45 PM

        Given that I got about the same number of thumbs up in my response as you got thumbs down, read what I said.

        BTW: you now have 14 thumbs down. I was previously neglectful. :-)

      • borromini - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:46 PM

        I count “14” thumbs down. :-)

      • shamrocknroll - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:59 PM

        I think it’s likely they took issue with you justifying getting yet another coach if we lose more than 3 games in a year when everyone agrees we have a rather difficult schedule in addition to an uncertain QB situation and lack of a playmaker the likes of Floyd. That kind of impatience is getting old to a lot of ND fans who realize that Kelly inherited a broken program.

        On another note, I think it’s likely that many of your “thumbs-down” (which I notice many of your comments receive a majority of) are probably because you’re a horrible example of civil, thoughtful and rational discourse. I recall recently reading a homophobic comment from you, which was subsequently taken down by Keith who rightfully threatened you with being banned. Then there are comments like the one above, “I give you a middle finger up your fallopian tubes,” which in addition to being vulgar, is also transparently sexist. So in addition to folks taking issue with your opinions on ND football (which is fine, that’s what we’re all here to discuss), you likely get a lot of “thumbs-down” because you often lack any sense of decency or tact.

      • Jennifer - Jan 4, 2012 at 11:16 PM

        I actually appreciate your observations and have learned much from you. You’re clearly a great fan who closely follows this football team and, like most of us here, I think it’s genuinely hard for you to see them implode. Your reasoning in questioning the coaching and other specific decisions has been thought-provoking and altered my thinking many times. I have learned from you, and I thank you for that. But it’s likely that the (sometimes) “in your face” / “up your A**”) approach you’ve taken at times can be offensive to some readers of an NBC-sponsored blog. I tend to think it’s helpful for most contributors to follow the tone led by Keith who is, after all, their employee. I could be way off in this interpretation, but I believe you mean well, have keen insights and much to offer. I would encourage you to keep posting and just bring the rhetoric down a few notches.
        Go Irish!

      • 9irish - Jan 4, 2012 at 11:27 PM

        eh….no worries. I’ve learned to interpret what people are saying on here. Be aware though, something you might say over a beer in person can be interpreted a thousand different ways in written word on here. Some people get a little uptight abt stuff sometimes.

      • papadec - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:37 AM

        Ahhhhhhhhh there’s the dickasman we love to hate. I pretty much give anything you post a thumbs down, because of your language.

    • shamrocknroll - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      I’m so sick and tired of the “fans” with their arbitrary declarations of the appropriate time to call for a new coach. You sound like an ADD afflicted child who can’t sit through class unless there’s a movie showing. “Instant gratification, and nothing less!”

    • runners00 - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:50 PM

      I’m not calling for any new coach. That is crazy-talk. kelly is okay. Like Saban and Holtz, he is learning what it takes to coach at this level. The speed is different. The size is different. The athleticism is different. You cannot have a quarterback who has an average to below average arm with no mobility. You need one or the other (or both). Plus, as I’ve mentioned before, defensively, this team is much better than we were a year ago. We need a quarterback — someone who is stable and capable of moving the ball down the field. If we get that out of Golson or Hendrix we should be fine. . . .

      Having said all of that, the expectations for next year will be high. We have a very good middle linebacker who is returning. We have a lot of talented players on both sides of the ball who will return. We should be fine next year — 9-3.

      • nudeman - Jan 4, 2012 at 4:05 PM

        1) They have no QB capable of winning 9 games. with that schedule Even if Golson is lights out, he’s going to make a huge number of rookie mistakes, as would any 1st year QB.

        2) They are painfully thin at WR. Don’t expect any of the incoming studs to make big contributions. So between the QB and the lack of someone to get open, their offense will be challenged.

        3) Sadly, I predict 7 wins, max.

        4) Rees’ big problem actually is NOT arm strength. It’s the DECISIONS he makes in the pocket. And the irony of that is THAT is precisely why I thought Kelly has been playing him. “Coach’s son”, “ball comes out on time”, “good decisions” etc etc. blah blah. Bullshit. Bad decisions; can’t find open guys, tries to throw the ball through defenders.

        Kelly created this mess; next year he’s really gonna’ feel its wrath, I fear. Not out of the question it could cost him his job.

        OK, let the thumbs down rain. Let ‘er rip

    • ndfan12345 - Jan 5, 2012 at 2:10 AM

      IT IS WAY TOO EARLY TO BE TALKING ABOUT COACHING CHANGES!

      I think most pee-wee coaches could have gotten more production out of our offense given the weapons we had, and it’s flat out pathetic that Kelly was so stuborn he stuck w/ Rees despite everyone seeing clearly after Pitt that he would only get worse over the year.

      Nevertheless, it’s just ridiculous to talk about the next coach after only two years when the one we have has won 16 games in that span, is recruiting well, is 1-1 vs. SC, and looks to be building a great defense.

      For the love of God would people at ND have some patience with coaches! Complain, second guess, say they need to conduct themselves this way or that, point out every short-coming, but let’s stop believing the national championship is just one simple hiring and firing away. it’s getting ridiculous.

    • joeschu - Jan 5, 2012 at 9:10 AM

      Predicting the fates and actions of 18-22 year olds isn’t all that easy. I don’t think ANYONE saw 5 losses this year, yet here we are.

      Looking at that schedule, you’d have to assume it is going to be really tough.

      It is interesting to look at the defense first. If you hope the new guys in the back can learn to play the ball a bit better, and the front 7 becomes as dominant as they could be, it looks like we may have a BCS-caliber defense.

      That gives you a bunch of hope that if the offense can use good game management, make a few plays, and not turn the ball over, we’d be in pretty good shape. If you throw in some great special teams play, we might even use that formula to surprise a few teams next year. Sadly, our “game manager” QB turns the ball over at an alarming rate, our coach refuses to stick with the run, and we didn’t block on a single punt return all year.

      Like I said, it is hard to predict, but hell, this is a blog comment, so let’s go for it:
      Navy in Ireland – Should be winnable now that Ricky Dobbs no longer haunts us, but it isn’t a gimme
      Purdue – They kept Danny Hope – THANKS!
      at MSU – Tough game as aways
      Michigan – Denard says he’s staying
      Miami in Chicago – Depends on how much turmoil they suffer in the offseason, but all signs point to this being much more winnable then when it was first scheduled
      Stanford – Will their luck continue with out Luck?
      BYU – I’m glad this one is at home. 10-3 this year, won their bowl, and played TX well
      at OK – Please don’t hurt us
      PITT – Could this be the most toxic coaching environment out there? We’ll see if Paul Chryst can stabilize them as they make the ACC transition
      at BC – see other comments
      WAKE FOREST – The kind of game we seem to like to make tougher than it should be
      at USC – Ouch

      Best case, this looks like 9-3, but you can certainly find 5-7 in there too. My guess: 7-5 with a bowl win.

      It is pretty easy to see this resulting in some louder calls to boot Kelly, but I’d caution against that. Honestly, who the hell else are we going to get? I’ve got a lot of issues with BK (QB handling, ego, etc), but honestly, there isn’t anyone else out there who would take the job. I think we’ve got to give BK at least 5-6 years, even if it is laced with a few more < 9 win seasons. Churning guys at the rate we've been going always leaves you with a "mixed" culture of players that went thru multiple systems. Sustained success at ND has to come through a solid, consistent program, and churning through another coach isn't going to help.

  7. smurphdoggy29 - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Glad to see the follow through on the verbal commit.
    Now lets get some production.

    As for a prediction for next year ? Sheesh any prediction always rings a little shallow unless it is 10 wins or better because every year I look at the schedule and can’t really justify WHY some of those teams defeat Notre Dame. It is really hard to understand why teams that Notre Dame should be able to compete with have been consistently defeating them. So to predict 2012’s record, difficult for me.

    I say 10-2. USC and Oklahoma. Yet even then when I watch either of those 2 teams play I again am baffled as to why ND cannot defeat them. Understandably they have one or two outstanding players (Barkley most notably) yet Notre Dame has a few good players as well. So it is difficult.

    We’ll have a solid to defense built around a stellar front seven, the return/kicking game can do nothing but improve, two straight years the run game has been solid and should continue, throw in Kelly’s forte which is passing, and settle on a QB. Mix it all together and makes your head spin why they shouldn’t be at 10 to 10+ wins.

    We all know why QB is so important, if the ball goes through 1 position 100% of the time in order to get to other positions to produce yardage/points, then whomever is in that position needs to be productive. More often than not QB’s hoist up championship trophy’s because they make plays (production) when they game is on the line and the play needs to bold and decisive, the ones referred to as serviceable are generally not regularly in that position. No other position on the field (Go ahead say Center) has the Ball go through it 100% of the time. So henceforth thereupon which a person who can get production from each (or the majority) of the plays (all, not some) needs to be in that spot.

    So I stand at 10-2, shooting for 12-0

    GO Irish !

    • nudeman - Jan 4, 2012 at 4:07 PM

      Love your optimism, but I can’t see 10 wins, unless Peyton Manning suddenly enrolls at ND.

      • 9irish - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:50 PM

        I never get into the “predicting” business too much. However, I didn’t expect them to lose five times this year either, so it can work the other way, too. I hope that they are getting to the point where they will start beating teams that they probably should not, and stop losing to ones that they should beat.

        Go Irish

  8. barneysbullet - Jan 4, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    …count Michigan as a loss right off the bat (there, I said it, now we’ll win – oops, I just jinxed us)

    • Jennifer - Jan 4, 2012 at 11:25 PM

      Hilarious!

    • 9irish - Jan 4, 2012 at 11:30 PM

      never seen a team get beaten on the field 3 years in a row and somehow pull it out….mostly due to boneheaded Irish mistakes

      • nudeman - Jan 5, 2012 at 5:29 PM

        And I’ve never seen a team GIVE AWAY 5 games in one year.
        Yes, 5.

        USF – Threw it away. Ridiculous
        UM – Had it won. Threw it away.
        USC – Didn’t play well, but clearly they made it easier for USC with the dumb mistakes. Could have won
        Stanford – Borderline winnable; with even a semi competent QB performance, they’re in the game
        FSU – See “UM” above

        Big question for 2012 is “Does this nonsense end? Was this an anomaly?”

        God I hope so.

      • 9irish - Jan 6, 2012 at 12:23 AM

        Yep.

  9. jpwills19 - Jan 4, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    Ronald Darby may want to rethink his wavering to Clemson tonight.

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