May 22, 2012, 3:48 PM EDT
You couldn’t blame assistant coach Mike Denbrock if he never stepped foot in Fresno again. After landing blue-chip cousins Deontay Greenberry and Tee Shepard last year out of Fresno Central, Denbrock and the Irish coaching staff had to weather the roller-coaster that the high profile California duo put the staff through during their months as “committed” Irish recruits, before losing both before either put on an Irish uniform.
Greenberry famously left Notre Dame at the altar, pulling a Signing Day 180 when he decided to commit to Houston over the Irish. Shepard’s departure was more mysterious, with the cornerback leaving South Bend after enrolling early at Notre Dame, leaving a trail of questions as health and academic related rumors followed him back home.
Yet the Irish are back in Fresno, with Denbrock returning to Central in pursuit of L.J. Moore, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound defensive back that fits perfectly into the mold the Irish are looking for at cornerback. While the Irish aren’t the only ones pursuing Moore — he counts offers from Cal, Oklahoma, UCLA, Georgia, and Washington — he’s still interested in the Irish, even after seeing it not work out for Greenberry and Shepard.
Christian McCollum of IrishSportsDaily.com caught up with Moore to get his take.
“When my friend Tee went up there, I was getting more interested,” Moore told ISD. “There was something out there that made him fall in love with the school. Me and him have some things in common, so I thought I would like to go see it and from talking with Coach Denbrock, I’m starting to like it even more.”
McCollum also pushed on Moore to see if he had any insight into Shepard’s transfer, but he wasn’t biting.
“I didn’t really want to ask him too many questions about what happened because I know he was getting 100 million questions about it, but it doesn’t really affect me with him leaving,” Moore told ISD. “There was something that initially made him like the school, so I’d like to explore it for myself and see how it feels.”
That the Irish are back in a high school that certainly doesn’t profile well for the Irish says a lot about both the player they are pursuing as well as the tenacity of the coaching staff that’s chasing Moore. (It also says quite a bit about the talent that’s emerging at the school.) With two cornerbacks already committed to the 2013 class, the Irish won’t have to put all their eggs into Moore’s basket, but it sounds like both recruit and coach have sincere interest in seeing this work.
Moore is set to make an official visit to Notre Dame towatch the Irish take on Michigan on September 22.