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Darby backs away from ND pledge

Jan 9, 2012, 11:46 AM EST

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Over the weekend, news broke that Ronald Darby backed away from his commitment to attend Notre Dame, opening up a recruiting war for one of the nation’s top cornerback prospects, and one of the country’s top sprinters. After gaining significant momentum with the pledge of Elijah Shumate at the Army All-American bowl, the Irish now seem on the outside looking in as they try to get Darby back in the fold, a key piece to their recruiting class.

Of course, this isn’t something that the Irish coaching staff didn’t see coming. Holding Darby’s commitment throughout the process was always considered a long shot, and a big reason why Notre Dame hasn’t set their in-house visit with Brian Kelly and the Darby family yet, following the successful blueprint used to swing Stephon Tuitt back into the fold last year after he flipped his commitment to Georgia Tech, just days before Signing Day.

Darby will look at Clemson, Florida State, Auburn and LSU, while still keeping the Irish in the race.

“It changed,” Darby told IrishSportsDaily.com of his relationship with Notre Dame. “I knew it wasn’t going to stay the same, but everything changed after a while.

“I like Notre Dame, don’t get me wrong, I love it. But I’m a good track runner as well and Notre Dame is a football powerhouse, not really a track one.”

Darby’s track schedule, which saw him competing internationally, is part of the reason his recruitment opened up in the last few weeks, with the Maryland native wanting to take recruiting visits he couldn’t schedule earlier because of competitions.

If there’s a bright side in all of this, this Irish coaching staff has had success bringing commitments back into the fold, namely with Tuitt and Aaron Lynch in the last recruiting cycle after heated battles. Darby reopening his recruitment could also open the door for blue-chip cornerback Yuri Wright, Shumate’s Don Bosco Prep teammate who some recruiting services view as a better player than Darby, and a recruit that’s got Notre Dame at the top of his list.

You can’t help but wonder if the change Darby is referring to is the switch of Chuck Martin from the secondary to offensive coordinator. Both Tony Alford and Kerry Cooks were down at the Under Armor All-American game where Darby played last week, and he’ll likely hear from another fleet of Irish coaches before he makes a decision on Signing Day. In the meantime, expect to see Joe Piane, the head of Irish track and field, and new sprint coach Alan Turner checking in with Darby as well.

Darby has long been a key member of the Irish recruiting class, and there’s no reason to believe this staff will let Darby walk away without a fight.

  1. dickasman - Jan 9, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    I blame fellow other recruits that does the stupid gator chops and finger ganster flashing signs. He’s around that ghetto garbage hoodrats all freaking week teammates flashing university gang signs, he’s still 17, what do you expect?

    I hope he comes to his senses and figures out that in the end, edumacation is what’s important.

    • dmacirish - Jan 9, 2012 at 12:08 PM

      have to be honest, glad you dont lead our recruiting battles with sales pitches like that dick man

      • dickasman - Jan 9, 2012 at 12:13 PM

        what would be your sales pitch? come to nd and rape some females?

    • nudeman - Jan 9, 2012 at 12:29 PM

      dickasman,

      “come to nd and rape some females”?

      Better put your body armor on, son.

      • jomilly - Jan 10, 2012 at 7:05 AM

        yet again dickhead, is a raging idiot. Seriously take your comments and leave, your a constant aggrivation and an embarrassment.

    • 808raiderinparadise - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:49 PM

      I GOT A GOOD JOKE THOUGHT I WOULD INSERT HERE:

      What do you call an older woman who likes younger men?

      A Cougar

      What do you call an older man who likes younger men?

      A Nittany Lion

      • domer77blowsgoats - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:57 PM

        nudeman??

      • dickasman - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:51 PM

        hahahahaha, LOLOLOLOL…………

      • dickasman - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:54 PM

        Bill O’Brien?

    • Jennifer - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:52 PM

      “edumacation” is what’s important? I’m sure I’m not alone in having grown so weary of your posts. Please, please try to realize that potential recruits also look at blogs. Notre Dame is unique in having NBC, a national network, air all of their home games. Recruits realize this and most likely check out their blog. If you really are an ND fan, PLEASE post with respect.

      • dickasman - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:56 PM

        Jennifer, shut da hell up dude. Get off your high horse brah. You think recruit’s look at this and would decide not to attend ND because of ME? OMG, You’re a complete TOOL!

      • domer77blowsgoats - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:00 PM

        “dude” haha! love it

    • 1historian - Jan 12, 2012 at 11:32 PM

      Work on your english grammar

      work on your spelling

      gol darn it, edumacation is sure ’nuff important

  2. nudeman - Jan 9, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    1) I grew up with Joe Piane, and there’s no better all around guy from a better family. Tremendous guy.
    2) The most significant thing here is that BK has NOT used his “in home” yet. So it ain’t over.

  3. domer77blowsgoats - Jan 9, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    My money says he was sick of having to read Nude’s BS day in and day out

    At least he isn’t crucial to beat Navy…

  4. gpatton90 - Jan 9, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    1) We know Kelly is a great closer and still has the in-home visit. I’m sure it’s not over yet
    2) No doubt they are still pushing hard for Poole, Neal, Wright, others

    Key selling point to any DB is the realistic possibility of starting as a freshman with the team’s significant graduations. And it certainly helps that we had several freshman make immediate impacts in the defensive front seven this year. Kelly now has a track record of playing the best regardless of class.

    • dickasman - Jan 9, 2012 at 1:12 PM

      I wish they’d change the recruiting signing date up right after the bowl games. Also, I wish they(ncaa) would NIX HS all star games because usually, this is where the recruits starts to get badly influenced by other recruits because there’s 10 guys on all star team doing the gator chop and all of sudden he wants to go to florida or there’s 19 guys doing the alabama/texas/lsu gang sign and he wants to go to those schools.

      I have a feeling that a recruit will tear their MCL and end their career then most recruits probably won’t attend these stupid HS All star games.

      • nudeman - Jan 9, 2012 at 1:23 PM

        A rare reasonable post from dickasman. These games are useless, and if I was a 4 or 5 star recruit with big schools already after me, there’s no way I’d play and risk injury.

        They are probably all about money, although it’s not clear to me who’s making much on them. I watched the Under Armour game and it appeared to be lightly attended. The TV rights couldn’t have been much, based on when/where it was played and broadcast.

        Whatever …

        Prediction: Irish will still get Darby

      • txbeej - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:44 PM

        Yeah, I’m willing to bet the HS All star games don’t go anywhere any time soon. These guys are elite athletes, they love to compete, they love the prestige of being invited to play in one of these games. I imagine most of them missed basketball games to play in the all-star game, and then booked it back home afterwards so they wouldn’t miss anymore. Risk of injury is not going to be high on their list of concerns.

      • dickasman - Jan 9, 2012 at 4:02 PM

        These all star games are dog and pony show and that’s about it. I understand why a 17 year old would want to attend, I don’t blame them in these facebook, twatter society we live in. Part of the problem is that the peer pressures run rampant at these things where the 5 Florida Gator recruits would gang up on 1 Notre Dame recruit telling them why you going there, ND suck, they’re never gona win championship there, its boring there, you have to get good grades, etc…also they do these gator chop and flash university gang signs and 17 year olds think these are “cool”. They do not sit on the bench and talk about “oh ima git me some 4.0 GPA”, believe me.

      • nudeman - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:35 PM

        Once in a while if you look past the gonzo nature of his posts, dickasman actually makes sense. (However “come to ND and rape some females” is an all time low)

        It’s easy to understand a 17-18 year old wanting to play. Which one of us would have said “no” to a national TV appearance at that age? Not me.

        But they’ll disappear if someone isn’t making money.
        Other than vendors selling t-shirts, I don’t know who that would be.

      • schuey73 - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:56 PM

        These all-star games are also a chance to see how you stack up against the perceived “best of the best” in the country. It’s not just a game, but they also practice together and against one another all week.

        I agree with Nude, I wouldn’t turn that down either.

      • don74 - Jan 9, 2012 at 7:13 PM

        Come on….shiny new helmets @ ND. That’s not enough???? What the heck are these kids looking for??????

  5. gtizzo - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    I agree with nudeman Darby will be Irish. I guess it has been to long since I was 18, why back away in January? He really could have had his options open if he had done in say November when Lynch and Tuitt backed away last season. All is not lost I think Darby comes back to the Irish, plus imagine of Shepard had committed to another program…that with this would have been a real issue. I think Brain Kelly closes the deal and he plays for the golden dome. Plus landing Yuri Wright wouldn’t be a bad thing if Darby doesn’t pan out.

    • nudeman - Jan 9, 2012 at 6:50 PM

      Hmmm, just read a little more on this from Pete Sampson, Editor of Irish Illustrated. He considers it to be an extremely long shot that they can get him back. Doesn’t say why, but references conversations he had with people close to Darby.

      So maybe he’s gone.

  6. gtizzo - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Wasn’t Darby planning to enroll early??

  7. schuey73 - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    I watched a lot of the Army All-American game and noticed something. I could be reading WAY too much into this, but late in the game they had a defensive recruit on the sideline (can’t remember his name) announce his commit to Cal. As soon as that was done he went back to his team and hugged Arik Armstead. Then he went over and sat down next to Jordan Peyton, who had earlier committed to Cal. Earlier the announcers had said that Armstead was considering Cal. I watched that moment and thought it was a sign that Armstead is going to Cal. Hopefully it was just coincidence.

    • nudeman - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:28 PM

      Schuey
      Interesting. I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I’ve said all along Armstead won’t go Irish.

      On Darby, I still think they’ll reel him back in but it’s not the end of the world if they don’t. That type of speed is awesome, but they’ve got Shumate and I’d think that makes them an odds on favorite to get Wright.

      Those two guys along with Shepard gives them a nice upgrade in the D backfield, and they still could get Poole. Longshot, but possible. Plus Josh Atkinson should be ready to make a run at a starting position next year. Collinsworth too.

      Darby or no Darby, things are definitely looking better on D.

  8. runners00 - Jan 9, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    This is unfortunate. But, again, if you are ND, you market the heck out of the school (i.e. a degree from ND has a lot more value than a degree from Auburn or Louisiana State) and the fact that the kids that enter the program graduate. You promote the fact that ND offers this kid a pretty good shot to play at least three years and at LSU you may not play at all.

  9. nudeman - Jan 9, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    One thing that I see consistently on this site is deriding the academics of other institutions. Probably comes from alums more than anyo oher group. I don’t take offense to it, but I think it’s a little myopic.

    First, there is something unique and special about the value of an ND degree; I don’t dispute that for a nanosecond. Fantastic university; among the very best. Period. I don’t have an ND degree; I have degrees from a state university and a city college. Believe me, I wish one was from ND.

    But consistently I see that if a certain guy is going to Florida or LSU or Michigan or wherever, “they’re not interested in academics”. That’s not always the case. I realize that ND’s grad rate is exceptional, as is the overall focus on academics. But a lot of these other schools are very, very good too, including the three I mentioned. There are some very bright kids who go to other schools and work hard in the classroom; and I also think there are some not so bright guys who somehow manage to get into ND, and make a 4 year career out of getting by with average grades. Nothing is as absolute as some here would suggest.

    Does a recruit occasionally shy away from ND because of the rigors of the classroom? Of course. But that doesn’t mean that ALL who go elsewhere are looking to major in Gym and leave school without a degree.

    • don74 - Jan 9, 2012 at 7:23 PM

      Agreed. For a kid from the south a degree from LSU or Auburn means a lot. The great thing about student athletics at ND is the student part. They are a member of the campus community and are expected to participate in student activities. While it is niave to think they don’t spend a huge amount of time at the Gug and with each other the experience at ND as well as at Stamford and Vandy is different than the rest of D1.

    • cameronemclaughlin - Jan 9, 2012 at 9:32 PM

      Money!

      http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2012/01/03/what-every-recruit-should-know/

      • papadec - Jan 11, 2012 at 3:55 AM

        Thanks Cameron – I have to laugh at the number of recruits that have ND in their top 5, saying a ND degree is important because they could get injured and not have a NFL career – then they go to a football factory & don’t get drafted in the big money signing rounds, OR get a degree. Years ago, I had a cousin who was an all conference center at SMU – with banged up knees he couldn’t make it with the Giants or Cowboys. He did get his degree and a good accounting job. Most of the kids don’t really believe that they won’t make it in the NFL.

  10. barneysbullet - Jan 9, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    @808raider

    Not trying to rain on the parade, but really?…making jokes about the Penn State debauchery?

    Come on ya’ll…let’s keep it real.

  11. rcali - Jan 10, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    You mean he doesn’t want to play in worthless bowl games?

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