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Signing Day shocker: Greenberry signs with Houston

Feb 1, 2012, 11:47 AM EDT

Greenberry Houston

As of last night, Deontay Greenberry had confirmed with the Irish coaching staff that he was set to sign his letter-of-intent with Notre Dame. But as the morning hours roll on in South Bend, the Notre Dame fax machine that awaited the four-star recruit’s signature sits idle.

Multiple news outlets have reported a Signing Day surprise, with Greenberry reportedly flipping his pledge from Notre Dame and instead choosing to play for Houston. The move has been confirmed by Houston’s official athletic department Signing Day blog and official Twitter account. The loss of Greenberry is a shocking blow to the Irish recruiting class and arguably the biggest splash the Cougars have ever made in national recruiting game.

Greenberry visited Houston last weekend on an official visit but returned to Fresno still committed to the Irish. He reportedly took his visit to Houston based on his relationship with special teams and inside receivers coach Jamie Christian, who joined the staff from Arizona State, where he had recruited Greenberry. It was Christian who got Greenberry to visit the Conference USA school, that finished 13-1 last year under then head coach Ken Sumlin.

Greenberry has long said he’d be joining his cousin Tee Shepard at college. The two had taken various recruiting visits together, including a late season trip to USC on the weekend Shepard’s Washington Union squad played in the CIF state championship game. But with Shepard enrolled at Notre Dame, Greenberry took his official last week alone.

There is no official comment from Notre Dame on Greenberry’s commitment, due to NCAA rules. Greenberry’s defection leaves the Irish recruiting class at 16 members, with Las Vegas’ Ronnie Stanley still waiting to sign his letter-of-intent.

146 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. 1historian - Feb 2, 2012 at 8:21 AM

    From what I have read since DG’s flip yesterday I like Kelly’s response to it – he concentrated on the kids who signed the letters and are in the fold. He repeated his ‘right kind of guy’ mantra and I like that. He said basically that ND only wants the kids here who want to be here and he said it without dumping on an 18 year old kid – I like THAT.

    We stole a 4-5 star QB from LS frigging U at the last minute, and Houston stole a 4-5 star WR from us at the last minute. We’ve got 2 redshirts at the position and 2 in the incoming class. We don’t have any super players, we’ve got a lot of real good players. They’re stocking up the D and that’s good too.

    If Stanford can do it WE can do it, but it’s going to take longer than we thought. I STILL believe Kelly is the right coach.

    We lose Floyd – not a big deal. There is still plenty of talent on the roster and with Golson and Kiel at QB we’ll be fine.

    Good luck to Greenberry.

    • nudeman - Feb 2, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      Well said. At the end of the day, DG wasn’t right for ND and vice versa. So we essentially lost nothing.

      1) I’m guessing that now that emotions have calmed many would agree there was an overreaction here yesterday, DG is a good football PROSPECT.

      2) Not all 4 and 5 star guys pan out. I think he’s revealed himslf to be timid of playing on the big stage, so he’s a candidate to not make it, IMO.

      3) Not sure if you saw it, but OSU is no longer recruiting Davonte Neal. Doesn’t mean he’s bound for South Bend, but one strong contender has been eliminated.

    • irish4006 - Feb 2, 2012 at 1:47 PM

      Very well said. The way DG handled the thing wasn’t great, but that is all there is to it. College FB recruiting has become a war where things like this will continue to happen. Good luck to Greenberry, I too think that it probably wasn’t a right fit. If he really wanted to come to ND, it wouldn’t be a “soft verbal” for so long while he continued to visit other schools.

      I am excited about the class, I think we brought in some solid players. Recruiting continues to be good and I think we have the talent pool to put together a great team in 2012. Go Irish!

  2. pjm79nd - Feb 2, 2012 at 9:10 AM

    Suggest you look at the home games against Tennessee and Stanford during the Holtz era. Not exactly great inspired play by ND.

    • nudeman - Feb 2, 2012 at 10:28 AM

      You’re citing 2 games in 10 years of Lou’s tenure.
      BK’s team had more than that just last year. USF, Pitt, Wake, USC, Stanford and BC.

      I still believe in BK but have consistently said the turnovers, penalties and penchant for his team coming out uninspired is a real concern. This is a COACHING issue. Got to fix it or he won’t win big and won’t – and shouldn’t – survive.

    • joeschu - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:11 PM

      What an incredibly small and narrow subset of the sample from that era. I graduated in ’95, and I thank Dr. Lou every day that I was able to experience what I experienced in my 4 years (while your looking up home games in that era, see PSU 92 and FSU in 93). I feel horrible for anyone who’s graduated in the last few years. The fact that you had to reach for 2 home losses in that era points to just how tough it must be for these students who’ve witnessed that, and more, on a per-season basis.

      • 9irish - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:17 AM

        right on. that is quite a reach….back then the world was shocked when they lost games like that, because it hardly ever happened. That’s where we need to go back to…everybody was terrified of playing Notre Dame then

  3. kaf39 - Feb 2, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Bummer for the Irish.

  4. nudeman - Feb 2, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    Light at the end of the tunnel?
    Maybe. Repeat: MAYBE

    OSU has told Davonte Neal they’re no longer recruiting him.

    It’s known that despite the dad’s ND wishes the kid wants to stay in AZ. So maybe this changes nothing. Or maybe Davonte had warmed to the idea of taking his talents to Ohio or Indiana.

    We’ll know in another 8 days.
    This would soften the blow of losing Greenberry.

  5. dickasman - Feb 2, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Guys, at least we don’t have morons picking school over the cafeteria or fast food joints. This is what the Clemson’s and Auburn’s fight over.

    Honestly, there is no better recruiting tool than winning product on the field. It makes everybody’s job easier, including inside the irish toolbag of a fan like myself. We need to win. Not sure how but we need to win. Winning is the best recruiting pitch a team could ever make. Unfortunately, I don’t see us making much of a statement anytime soon.

    I’d love to see us “upset” some teams next year where the students can run out on the field.

    • nudeman - Feb 2, 2012 at 12:36 PM

      Mr Asman,
      Well said. Don’t know about you but I’m burned out after yesterday’s whirlwind (downward spiral?).
      I might go post on the Grand Valley State board for a while.
      Say hello to the lovely Mrs. Asman.

      • andy44teg - Feb 2, 2012 at 12:42 PM

        What’s even funnier is that they DO have a chick filet on campus at Clemson…not saying i agree with his method of picking a college…but what a flipping idiot! I’d rather go 8-5 every single year than have kids like that on the roster…wow…

    • 9irish - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:29 AM

      That’s it right there…and it’s not like we stink, just a bunch of stupid mistakes, by players AND coaches. And if they don’t fix stuff like that, you start looking at the coach. I’m not a fan of that, right now. But it is a fact. A bunch of good players that don’t click yet, for some reason. This season is a crossroad.

  6. ndfan12345 - Feb 2, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Good read. In a way, I feel bad for DG. The last line says, had NSD been a week earlier, he would have signed Irish. I am 100% certain had NSD been a month later, he would NOT have signed w/ Houston. He got a gut feeling, last minute, that he wasn’t making his own decision, and Houston was the only team in play at that moment. So his decision was far more based on wanting to pick for himself than it was about the merits of the two schools/programs.

    I wish for his sake he had come to this realization sooner so he could be at a school/program (Irish or otherwise) that will be better for his long term furture. And for ND’s sake, I wish he’d told the coaches sooner so they could have leveraged his absence in recruiting other wideouts (would westerkamp have gone differently, for example?).

    Anyways, I wish him well.

  7. schuey73 - Feb 2, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Sorry if this has been mentioned. I haven’t had a chance to read all the comments, but I think this is certainly interesting.

    Last night I was listening to a local South Bend radio sports talk show hosted by Eric Hansen, a really good writher for the South Bend Tribune. He has excellent coverage of Notre Dame Football.

    Early in the show they had Michael Floyd as a guest. They asked MMF about Greenberry. They noted that on his bio, Greenberry lists Floyd as his favorite athlete of any kind. They asked Floyd if he ever talked to Greenberry during the recruiting process and Floyd said no, but wished he had.

    Wait…..what? They never met? Wouldn’t that be an important thing to do, at least during his visit to campus. I don’t know recruiting rules and regulations very well, but I gotta believe that it would not be a violation for Greenberry to meet his favorite athlete and let Floyd sell ND to the kid. Floyd seemed to believe that things might have turned out differently had they talked. This seems like a big oversight to me.

    As an interesting side note, when asked wich receiver could step up big next season and fill his shoes, Floyd first mentioned Daniel Smith. Then he mentioned TJ Joines and Robby Toma. If anyone knows how good a receiver could be, it’s MMF.

  8. ndfan12345 - Feb 2, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    For anyone who is upset about how NSD panned out, I encourage you to take a look, position by position, at what we’ve assembled in the last two classes. Don’t forget to count Carlisle and Prestwood.

    In the last two years, we’ve gotten an elite player to plug in to almost (like 3-4 exceptions, and we have good but not elite guys at those) every position in a starting line-up.

    Kelly really is building a phenomenal program. Let’s hope we actually see it on the field this year.

  9. msmmh - Feb 2, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    I’m sure this has been brought up before but watching this year’s recruiting process has opened my eyes to how missed up the process really is. There are a number of schools who get 30+ recruits each and every year which is weird when they are limited to 85 total scholarships. What that means is a ton of student athletes are having their scholarships taken away from them. What happened to all the promises the college recruiter made telling them they would be the next (you fill in the blank). Call me naive but I thought a scholarship was for four years. I understand there are transfers and the like but some schools turnover rates are just crazy. These schools are misleading these young kids.

    I watched the interview with Coach Martin last night and it made me proud to be a Irish fan. Their dedication to the student athlete is incredible. Not only do they graduate %98 of their players, but they support them all four years.

    Not many like ND

    • 1historian - Feb 2, 2012 at 2:58 PM

      I’m not sure this is how it goes but in most cases I think I’m right – at many (most?) schools the scholarship is just for one year and then renewable. I just read a piece in which much was made of the fact that in the Big 10 (+2) they have gone to 4-year scholarships, which implies that until then it was just 1 year at a time.

      At places like Alabama they sign 25 or so kids each year, same with UT and the other football factories with the predictable result that they are in position EVERY year to contend for the NC. We are not going to be in contention for the NC every year – it might only happen every few years or so. But the days of home losses to Syracuse, Tulsa and Connecticut are behind us.

      Next step is a turn around game – we beat – preferably on their turf – a team we should NOT beat.

      The story is told that many years ago (here I go again) there was a kid – a kicker – whose dad was a ND grad and it was assumed that he would go to ND. Come NSD he signed with FSU. Lou Holtz is reputed to have said “he didn’t make a 4 year mistake, he made a 40 year mistake.”

      Don’t know if it’s true but it could be.

      • gpatton90 - Feb 2, 2012 at 4:09 PM

        I think you jumping ahead of wehere we are really at. We just lost this year, at home, to South Florida, a program with less history and reputation than UConn and Syracuse. We need to get to a point where we don’t lose to these teams, period, whether home or away.

        Next, beat good teams (not great) on the road. We need to beat the Pitts, BCs, and Michigan State’s on their turf 75-80% of the time. That’s what great teams do

        Next step, beat the quality programs in our building. We need to get to the point where home field is an advantage, and if that means turf and jumbotron and other enhancements to game day experience, then so be it. It also means developing an attitude within the locker room that home games are different and that we believe we can win each and every game played in our stadium. The USC game this year proved we are not there. Even more important in a game like that where recruits are visiting.

        Let’s see these three next year! Beating great teams on the road is the final step. We’re not there, and I’m not expecting wins next season at OK or USC. But for goodness sake, Kelly needs to get this team to the precipice of greatness, and with the talent we have, it’s fair to hold him accountable to those standards.

  10. ct111 - Feb 2, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Look at the end of the day, if you can’t win games, you can’t get blue chip players

  11. ndtoronto - Feb 2, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    I don’t get how scholarship limit works I thought its 85 in total and no more than 25 per year…how can teams like Alabama go over the 25 limit in any given year???

    everyone here would love ND to get every top recruit but that not just going to happen….ND can only recruit from a smaller crop than most other schools cause its a catholic uni, academics, location, weather etc…the kids that want to be here deserve to be here and most important want to put notre dame back on the map.

    There no other school that has the combination of education and football accomplishments that notre dame has and every player that plays for notre dame football not only has a shot at the nfl but a first class education in the real world…..if anything its darbys, greenburys etc losses not ND’s and lets hope BK in his third year who has the talent on the roster but finally finds and sticks to the ONE QB to make some noise on the national scene.

    good luck justin tuck and deion grant two nd players who weret part of great notre dame teams but got a shot at the nfl cuz they played at ND.

  12. runners00 - Feb 2, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    Close your eyes. You’re an awkward 17 year old kid from rural Florida. You’re 6’4 and you are about 200 pounds of muscle. You play football and play it very well. You visit LSU and Texas and Notre Dame and Southern Cal. At three of the schools you visit, you are greeted with the best looking women you’ve ever seen in your life. And they take you to school and they hang out with you during your official visit. And they’re very interested in you — where you’re from, who your girlfriend is, what you’re like.

    Eventually you meet up with the assistant coach and talk shop. He tells you that this is a great program and he shows you what it was like to win a national championship. He shows you a highlight reel from a recent season and you see the fans just going nuts after some very close conference championship victory.

    Then certain football team members take you out on the town — to Baton Rouge, Austin, South Bend or LA. At three of the schools, super-hot women greet the football players and you on your night out on the town n(different women than those who greeted you at the airport). After your night on the town, you visit fraternity houses, where post-bar parties are starting around midnight at three of these schools. You wind up at a place with these amazing looking women and, by now, are super friendly with you (awkward you).

    You wake up the next day and you see the classrooms and dorms and talk more shop with the coach. You meet a professor, meet the beauties at noon for lunch and then plan the following night’s festivities.

    It’s different in South Bend. If you’re 18, like I said earlier, you don’t have the benefit of hindsight. I mean, none of us has that when we make decisions but trying to get to the right answer is, well, distracting. So, let’s not exactly blame Coach Kelly for losing Greenberry and Darby. It’s difficult to reel in big-time recruits. I’m more concerned about making sure that, on the field, we get the best coaching we can get. Last season, well, was more than difficult.

    • 9irish - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:34 AM

      Nice melodrama…thought it was going into a Penthouse Forum column or something

    • runners00 - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:59 AM

      Have a look:

      It’s not a myth. The Irish are at a disadvantage from the getgo because of many reasons. Sure, the academic components are on reason. But the ethical differences between the university and most of its competitors are significant. And the NCAA, which is just made of university presidents from large conferences, has no real incentive to level a playing field unless a major story breaks. And even then, well, has anything happened to this story?

      Miami had 33 recruits in this year’s class. 33. Yet, it had a booster that was apparently hiring prostitutes and strippers for recruits. It’s not a myth. These are not isolated events. . . .

  13. kiopta1 - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    I am eager to see what brown, ferg, Daniels, and the others can do. We have some very talented guys who have not yet had opportunity to show us what they can do. Not to mention our run game and QBs…should be fun…like a new start. I really don’t view tommy as an option unless he makes leaps in the off season.

  14. bleed4philly - Feb 4, 2012 at 10:07 AM


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