Jan 7, 2012, 9:14 PM EST
The Irish reeled in recruit number 18 during the US Army All-American Bowl, when New Jersey’s Elijah Shumate pledged his commitment to Notre Dame. Shumate adds to the Irish’s collection of defensive backs, giving Notre Dame one of the nation’s most physical safeties and another elite player at a position the coaching staff targeted early.
Shumate was always on the Irish’s radar, but wasn’t heavily talked about by recruiting services until a late visit to South Bend after the season. From there, it was clear Shumate, and teammate Yuri Wright, one of the top cornerback recruits in the country, fell in love with Notre Dame, and the result was another late season commitment to defensive coordinator Bob Diaco out of his home state.
Last year, Brian Kelly announced that he was going to target the defensive line and improve his team during recruiting. It didn’t take long to notice guys like Aaron Lynch and Stephon Tuitt, two of the nation’s most impressive recruits and two players that immediately made a difference for Notre Dame.
This year, the Irish needed to replenish the secondary, and guys like Ronald Darby, Tee Shepard, and now Shumate are among the nation’s best players at positions the Notre Dame coaching staff have targeted from day one.
Shumate comes from Don Bosco prep, New Jersey’s best feeder program into college football. Reeling in Shumate not only gives the Irish a safety that can immediately make an impact at the line of scrimmage, but also puts the Irish in the driver’s seat for Wright, who some recruiting services call the nation’s best cornerback, and in-roads at Don Bosco, a place the Irish coaching staff would love to build relationships.
Shumate picked the Irish over 20 other schools that offered him scholarships, with the finalists for his services South Carolina and Rutgers. The Irish targeted Shumate as a safety, but also said they’d be interested in giving him a look at tailback as well. By any measure, he’s considered one of the top safeties in the country.
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