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Jaylon Smith commits to the Irish

Jun 2, 2012, 6:46 PM EDT

Jaylon Smith

It won’t go into the media guide or count in Brian Kelly’s official W-L record, but Notre Dame won a huge battle on Saturday when Indiana linebacker Jaylon Smith gave his commitment to the Fighting Irish. The 6-foot-3, 218-pound outside linebacker, who has been dazzling recruitniks all offseason with his effortless work rushing the passer, locking down wide receivers, and doing just about anything else asked of him, becomes the signature recruit of the 2013 class.

Smith’s listed as the No. 4 player in the country by Rivals, and will likely be a consensus five-star player heading into the fall. If the rating holds, he’ll be the Irish’s most high-profile recruit since Jimmy Clausen, ranking above Manti Te’o, Aaron Lynch, Michael Floyd, or any of the other big-name recruits that have chosen to sign with Notre Dame.

Long leaning the Irish’s way, Smith had coast-to-coast options, including USC, Michigan, and Ohio State, where his brother plays for Urban Meyer. But the Fort Wayne Bishop Luers product said the decision came down to one school after visiting Notre Dame’s campus multiple times this spring.

“It all boils down to finding the place you feel comfortable at,” Smith told “The thing that’s always stood out about Notre Dame is the people and the standard of excellence. I think it’s a school that is hard to match with everything it offers.”

Smith’s versatility gives defensive coordinator Bob Diaco a sports car that he hasn’t had in his garage the first two seasons in South Bend. With the ability to drop and cover, get after the passer, and size that’ll likely allow him to compete on the inside if needed, Smith should walk into South Bend will an open look at any of the linebacking jobs that’ll be up for grabs with Manti Te’o long gone, and Prince Shembo, Danny Spond, Dan Fox, and Carlo Calabrese in their final year of eligibility.

Smith has long been a relative lynchpin in recruiting, and he’ll join a 13-man recruiting class that’s actively courting some of the nation’s top uncommitted prospects. According to 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong, that effort has already started.

“I’m talking to Vernon Hargreaves right now and Michael Hutchings,” Smith told Wiltfong, with Hargreaves and Hutchings among the top 50 players in the country. “I’m talking to Alex Anzalone. We have some guys coming in in June to visit and I’m looking forward to that.”

Smith is the Irish’s first 2013 linebacker recruit, a position of emphasis. He stated that he’s officially closing his recruitment. The future Army All-American will be back on campus June 15, a weekend that’s turning into a major recruiting roundup.



  1. bernhtp - Jun 2, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Huge get, especially since Jaylon is already taking a leadership role in contacting other elite recruits.

    • nudeman - Jun 2, 2012 at 8:39 PM

      Sure is
      And they’re dancing about the news, all the way back to the 1950s

  2. irishinmich - Jun 2, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    Finally some positive news on Irish front! Welcome aboard Jaylon.

  3. dalucks - Jun 2, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    Don’t do it. Notre Dame is not the place for you. After they go 6-6 this season, feel free to pick another school.

    • bernhtp - Jun 2, 2012 at 7:52 PM

      He could switch to another school if he aspired to become a dim-witted troll on someone else’s fan board. Thankfully, Jaylon has far more class.

    • irish4006 - Jun 2, 2012 at 8:17 PM

      Real classy, dalucks. Now, don’t you have to get back to something? The pigs won’t feed themselves, you know (or, maybe they would; they may not trust you to do your job right).

      It seems that, from watching a couple of interviews, Jaylon knew for a while where he wanted to go; but he was trying to help his teammates by keeping the recruitment open so the recruiters continued to visit. He seemed like a grounded, intelligent and genuinely nice person. I sure hope he stays committed through signing day. Good get for the Irish!

  4. nudeman - Jun 2, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Jerry, George and Elaine react to the Smith news:

  5. nudeman - Jun 2, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    I unabashedly offer up that I am 0-1 in the 2013 Class recruiting prediction dep’t

    • brazilianirish - Jun 2, 2012 at 8:41 PM

      Well, if Anzalone comes to house, I will be 0-1 too in the same department. And happy one.

      • nudeman - Jun 2, 2012 at 8:56 PM

        That would be quite a pair of recruits
        I also predicted FL for Anzalone, but this could change everything
        Having said that, you should watch some video of Chans Cox. Unbelievable.
        I don’t know if one could say he’s better than Smith, but he’s not far behind

        And they’re dancing in the halls of the ER

      • brazilianirish - Jun 3, 2012 at 3:13 AM

        Nude, you´re right: “this could change everything”… Liked Cox, he´s fast. How about Jordan Mastrogiovanni from Dallas, do you know him ??

      • nudeman - Jun 3, 2012 at 11:22 AM

        Know of him/have not seen his film
        Think I recently saw he’s very excited about an offer from OK
        But also seem to recall he’s from a Jesuit HS
        Only 3 star, right? (though too much is made of that star stuff)

  6. brazilianirish - Jun 2, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    That´s a big fish. Congrats to Mike Elston. I liked the Rivals report: “not only does he own the middle of the field from his linebacker position, but we saw him drop down to defensive end and destroy offensive tackles in pass rush scenarios as well as bounce out to a cornerback role and lock down some of the region’s top wide receivers in man coverage. The kid is just a freakish specimen at the linebacker position”. Well, after the Aaron Lynch sudden departure and because of our secondary questions, it´s a huge achievement.

  7. tony34343434 - Jun 2, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    Notre Dame not only has the rich football tradition but the great academic tradition. that is lost sometimes. Look at Justin Tuck not only a great player but a good person, that is what Notre Dame is building, we can be proud of our Alum, great choice young man you will soon see what a great school and great choice you have made just walk on the campus, it is a place like no other.

  8. brendanunderscoreg - Jun 2, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    Great get by the coaching staff. This kid is freakish.

    Now on to bigger news. Why hasn’t anyone commented on nude discovering GIFs and using them unabashedly? Fantastic work. Keep ’em coming.

    • nudeman - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:43 PM

      Some were so excited to get back home and on line with Keith, that … well, take a look

      • nudeman - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:50 PM

        White guy from Grace Hall tries to get in the act but demonstrates shocking lack of rhythm

      • brendanunderscoreg - Jun 3, 2012 at 8:36 AM

        Or the look on the Michigan punter’s face when he sees Jaylon on the block team.

        Sheer terror.

      • brendanunderscoreg - Jun 3, 2012 at 8:37 AM

        I suck. Broken link. Joke’s old now. Here goes anyway.

      • nudeman - Jun 3, 2012 at 11:25 AM

        I gave you a thumbs up for the effort anyway
        What a great recruiting day. This could be domino-esque

  9. barneysbullet - Jun 2, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    Please, no one wake me from this dream…

    Thank-you, Jaylon.

    Thank. You.

  10. nudeman - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    And then there was this impromptu celebration from an ND pre med student just outside the Gug

    Good night everyone
    And Jaylon Smith … welcome aboard, son.

    • bb90grad - Jun 4, 2012 at 3:09 PM

      to quote Homer Simpson “It’s funny cuz I don’t know him.”

  11. ndgiants11 - Jun 2, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    While the impact of this pickup cannot be understated, I find it hard to get overly excited over a commitment – especially after the Greenberry situation and watching Lynch flip flop numerous times between ND and FSU before committing to the Irish and eventually transferring. I’ll throw a party next February on signing day if he’s still around. Not trying to be a downer, just trying to be realistic.

    • bernhtp - Jun 3, 2012 at 12:27 AM

      Watch the interview I posted below. He isn’t a Darby, Greenberry, Shepard, or even Lynch. This kid is going to Notre Dame, will take some new friends with him, and will have a big impact on the program. I feel really good about this one.

      Also, look at the drills at the end of the video. This guy is an amazing athlete. He’s the real deal.

    • dmac4real - Jun 3, 2012 at 1:03 AM

      Those kids lived across the country, Smith is 1.5 hours away. A lot different. Also, ND open accepted Gunner when he came back, so its hard for us to rip on the Tsheps DG and Lynchs of the world.

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Jun 4, 2012 at 11:50 AM

      Well guess what? You’re a downer.

  12. bernhtp - Jun 3, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    If you haven’t seen the video of his announcement and interview, you need to. Jaylon is doing this for all of the right reasons. He’s an articulate and charismatic young man that will become a leader on this team pretty quickly.

  13. pjm79nd - Jun 3, 2012 at 8:17 AM

    The loss of Lynch and the Fresno cousins hurt. But we reeled in Smith, Neal, & Kiel (great law firm name !). Pretty solid recruiting effort, if you ask me.

    Note to BK: your excuses for future 8-5 seasons are evaporating very rapidly.

    • nudeman - Jun 3, 2012 at 11:34 AM

      1) When did Kelly make an excuse for an 8-5 season? There was the “my guys” comment but that hardly qualifies as an excuse.

      2) Smith is the polar opposite of the Fresno dumbbells. In retrospect there is ample reason to wonder why ND recruited them in the first place. Academically indifferent and immature from a cow town 2000 miles away. Tee proved the point when he got out of SB just before rolling up a nice solid 0.00 GPA.

      Smith on the other hand is a mature, intelligent “real deal” kind of guy from a Catholic HS 120 miles away from SB. Nothing remotely similar in any way to the clowns. He’s the kind of guy you can build a program around. Tee & Dee are the kind of guys you can build a party around.

      • bernhtp - Jun 3, 2012 at 2:22 PM

        We agree 100% about Jaylon and any similarity to the Fresno boys et al.

        I’m really excited about this I’m even excited about 3-star recruits like Robinson. Getting a bunch of RKGs builds the program and will help make the transition for underachieving talent levels to overachieving.

        I loved the part of Jaylon’s interview where he discussed getting back to the Notre Dame glory days. He said “it’s really our challenge to get back there, and I’m looking forward to it.” I am too.

  14. nudeman - Jun 3, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    Just sitting, waiting, watching for DUblin. Waiting. Watching. Waiting. Watching.

    • bernhtp - Jun 3, 2012 at 12:01 PM

      Stop it! Just stop it. You get a complement about animated gifs and then you go crazy. Please no more until we get another top-50 recruit.

      • nudeman - Jun 3, 2012 at 1:07 PM

        You hurt my feelings man

      • bernhtp - Jun 3, 2012 at 2:04 PM


      • nudeman - Jun 4, 2012 at 11:41 AM

        How did you get the actual gif to show up here instead of the link, as when I’ve inserted gifs?

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Jun 4, 2012 at 11:59 AM

        Don’t tell him bern.

      • nudeman - Jun 4, 2012 at 1:08 PM

        Come on man. Just trying to bring this board to the next level

      • bernhtp - Jun 4, 2012 at 3:32 PM

        Nude, WordPress seems to embed youtube links automatically when they’re on their own line. I didn’t do anything special. However, WordPress is also supposed to accept html tags. I’ll try a couple here to see if it works.

      • bernhtp - Jun 4, 2012 at 3:40 PM

        It accepted the bolding tag around WordPress, but totally ignored the img tag I put in to embed one of your animated gifs.

        I’m not a big fan of this WordPress-based forum software. It’s very slow, doesn’t allow edits or previews, and appears to be inflexible/difficult with regards to formatting. I do, however, like the limited conversation nesting.

  15. fnc111 - Jun 4, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Hardly over. Ohio State will probably still get him. Urban is the best used car salesman out there.

  16. brendanfitzgibbons - Jun 4, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Anybody see the announcement video? This guy is great and really cool video, seems like he has a lot of support. He even refutes USC and Alabama in his speech. Totally excited for this pickup.

    • bernhtp - Jun 4, 2012 at 3:52 PM

      The vimeo link (above) posted yesterday not only has the announcement, but even a better interview and recent highlight video.

  17. papadec - Jun 5, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    The Manti replacement.

  18. bernhtp - Jun 5, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    Good article:

    • oldestguard - Jun 5, 2012 at 1:56 PM

      Great read ! Thanks for the link.

      Whats the next level above RKG’s … cuz I think we have a few of them on board !

      • papadec - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:21 AM

        oldest – 5-Star RKG!

  19. fnc111 - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    My biggest question mark on this team is the head coach. Does he get ND? Why did he waste so much time on the Fresno duo when people like me knew those two were never coming to ND? I got banned on rivals for telling people for a year straight those two would never play for ND. I was right and never received an apology. Now we have one of the worst QB situations in D1A. I have a gut feeling the turnover situation is going to be worse this year then last. Any reason for hoping at an 8-4 season this year? I think it could happen IF the defense would actually create a freaking turnover once in a while. I need non homer reasons why this season will be better than what I expect-5 or 6 wins.

    Ed Cunningham to me sounded like an idiot two weeks ago on espn. I think most ND fans will take 8-4 this year against the number one schedule in the nation. It’s a shame college football doesn’t reward your strength of schedule like college basketball does. Michigan barely played anybody last year and get rewarded with a bogus bcs game. That whole season was a fraud by them but now they use it to get recruits. Meanwhile ND actually plays a crazy national schedule and will only have negative recruiting going on if they were to win 8 games.

    • bernhtp - Jun 9, 2012 at 2:26 PM

      Does Kelly get ND? The answer is an emphatic yes as evidenced by the reasons articulated by our top recruits for choosing Notre Dame. He not only gets Notre Dame, but clearly communicates it very well.

      I disagree that we have one of the worst QB situations in D1A. Last year we had a mediocre (maybe a bit worse) QB that kept an otherwise very good team from excelling and maybe even attaining BCS levels. At the very worst, we will have the same mediocre QB with an extra year of experience/development that will likely propel him to somewhat competent levels. But few of us believe that is the likely upside. Most think that one of the others will take a step up and make the QB position no longer a weakness, though not quite the great strength it is for USC, Oklahoma, etc.

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