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Isaac Rochell gives his commitment to Notre Dame

Jun 7, 2012, 2:59 PM EDT

Isaac Rochell

Less than a week after the Irish received the pledge of five-star linebacker Jaylon Smith, Brian Kelly locked in another highly-touted recruit, Georgia’s Isaac Rochell. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive end is a consensus top 150 player in the country, with Rivals ranking him the No. 8 defensive end and the No. 88 player overall. Sporting News lists Rochell as the No. 61 player in the country.

Rochell has said he was 99 percent certain about Notre Dame after visiting campus for the second time last week, and he made the decision within days of returning home to Georgia.

“I just didn’t want to make any rash decisions,” Rochell told “I felt like I needed to show my brother what Notre Dame was about and he loved it just like the rest of my family. I decided that I didn’t want to wait any longer because I can’t really see another school matching what Notre Dame has to offer.”

Rochell’s offer list is incredibly impressive, with Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan and a dozen others all trying to land one of Georgia’s best players. Two years after snatching Stephon Tuitt away from the Peach State, Kelly — led by area recruiter Scott Booker — pulled in Rochell, an incredibly important piece of the defensive puzzle.

By all accounts, Rochell seems to be as talented off the field as on it. A good student with a strong commitment to his faith, the fit with Notre Dame seemed to be perfect. Jake Brown at caught up with Rochell’s father Steve, who has the quote of record on the commitment:

“I’m going to try and articulate this because the majority of people don’t get this,” Steve Rochell told Irish Illustrated. “The reason Isaac likes Notre Dame is because Notre Dame really gets Isaac. In other words, Georgia or Florida, they only see Isaac, and he knows this, they see him as a football player. As a number. You know what I’m saying?

“They don’t see him as a whole person. And there’s a lot more to Isaac than just playing football. Isaac likes Notre Dame because he knows Notre Dame really understands him.”

The Irish also understand that they are getting an immensely talented football player. If it’s possible, Rochell looks a svelte 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, moving incredibly well as both a power player and a pass rusher. There’ll be every opportunity to put more weight on Rochelle, but from the looks of his highlight reel, he’ll also walk in with some immediate pass rush ability.

Rochell’s commitment makes 14 for the class of ’13. He’ll pair with Jacob Matuska as defensive ends in Bob Diaco’s system, two more 6-foot-5 defenders to add to a roster that continues to grow.


  1. dickasman - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:09 PM


  2. nudeman - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Rackin’ ’em up

  3. nudeman - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    Reaction from the boys on the Tour

  4. gtizzo - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    The Irish are heating up on the recruiting trail. Keep it up!!

  5. mmcss690 - Jun 7, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Is it just me or am I starting to hear echos?!

  6. don74 - Jun 7, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Pop Rochelle’s comments are great! Kelly and team are finding a way to get the essence of ND to the recruits in a meaningful way. Kelly is a winner in the off season. I am in his camp but he needs to be as successful in season as he is the other 7 months of the year.

  7. bernhtp - Jun 7, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    I keep seeing the same type of comments repeated by many accepting recruits and their families. Kelly and co are obviously communicating the Notre Dame difference and message very clearly. Notre Dame cares about you as an individual and their relationship with you and the entire Notre Dame community is for life. This also came across in Steve Beuerlein’s talk posted previously.

  8. tonyricemajorharris - Jun 7, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    This is great news for the ND family.
    Let’s hope this class can stay intact and sign together in February

  9. seanb20124 - Jun 7, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    Keep it up

  10. yllibnosredna - Jun 7, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    I know the on-field production has been substandard (and frankly unacceptable) the first two years, and this next year looks to be a doozy of schedule so the win total may not increase too much, but Kelly deserves tremendous praise for the resiliency and success he’s shown on the recruiting trail. It’s not too difficult to see players like Rochell and Smith ushering in a new level of dominance on the defensive front in years to come–a sight unseen in the Weis era. Assuming these guys sign and pan out (and there’s no reason to believe they won’t), the trajectory looks good for the program. Hats off to BK.

    • nudeman - Jun 7, 2012 at 11:36 PM

      billy anderson
      Your post hits the nail on the head. Recruiting has been as close to perfect as is possible with BK. Yes, there were the clowns who decommitted and maybe shouldn’t have been counted on in the first place. But they pale in comparison to the successes. Tuitt, Lynch, Atkinson dudes, Ishaq, Kiel, Zaire, Jaylon, Montelus, Rochell and several others, These are SERIOUSLY talented guys.

      The only thing that gives me pause about BK is the undisciplined play (penalties and turnovers) that reared its ugly head last year. And I STILL don’t understand exiling Dayne Crist in favor of Tommy Rees. But that ship has sailed and that horse has been beaten to death.

      Onward and upward. A new dawn appears to be on the horizon.

      • bb90grad - Jun 8, 2012 at 1:29 PM

        Look at you, posting actual files and not links.

        You were NOT too old to begin the training. Your skills as a Jedi are complete.

      • nudeman - Jun 8, 2012 at 1:49 PM

        I’m determined to bring this board – and myself – into the new millenium

        Having said that, if the Mayans haven’t backed off the initial prediction, doesn’t really matter, does it?

  11. gtizzo - Jun 7, 2012 at 10:21 PM

    I’m aware that it is hitting a moving target, but does anyone know what the scholarship situation is at ND? Could we bring in 22 to 25 players this cycle? Just curious.

    • papadec - Jun 8, 2012 at 1:40 AM

      gtizzo – YES! The bad news is the guys that didn’t sign after giving their verbal commits, last year – and/or left after getting there. The good news is that they left room on the bus for future recruits.

    • irish4006 - Jun 8, 2012 at 2:56 PM

      The last time I checked, we had 28 (or, was it 29?) 4th and 5th year seniors on the roster, we can ‘potentially’ sign as many for 2013. Since last minute defections are a reality, I think Kelly will try to get as close to that number as possible. 5th year eligibility for existing players usually ends up being a function of how many unfilled scholarships we have left.

  12. nudeman - Jun 7, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    a gif-free post here

    1) Rochell looks like a man against boys
    2) Did anyone else see what his dad said about ND vs. Bama and FL? Beautiful
    3) If you didn’t, he said “ND cared about him as a PERSON. The others? Not so much
    4) If you listened to the podcast today, interesting that BK had back surgery.
    5) Who’s next? If I’m USC, UM, MSU and/or Stanford, I’m nervous

    • nudeman - Jun 7, 2012 at 11:24 PM

      I posted a semi-gif
      So sue me

    • papadec - Jun 8, 2012 at 2:43 AM

      nude – WR – Ricky Seals-Jones?

      • nudeman - Jun 8, 2012 at 5:49 AM

        If your question is about ND’s interest, I have not seen anything on that. Definitely no offer. Have you heard different?
        Main interest is from southern schools – TX, TX A&M, LSU.

        But he’s the type of guy (6’5″ 230lbs) ND badly needs at WR.

      • bernhtp - Jun 8, 2012 at 8:35 AM

        When there’s lack of interest by ND for a top recruit, it’s usually for a reason: academic, conduct, lack of fit, or insurmountable competition. Since Stanford is in Ricky’s offer list, I must imagine it’s somewhere in the latter two.

  13. smurphdoggy29 - Jun 7, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    I appreciate the Notre Dame staff. For recruiting people TO Notre Dame. Obviously it is for a sport, yet they recruit TRKG as Coach Kelly puts it.

    They recruit to the school, and this young man (among many others already here or recruited) is another pleasant example. A dividend paying approach in the long run that will benefit the person, the school, and the team.

    I applaud you coaches, administrators, staff, and students ! Way to go ! Again !

    I hope Mr. Rochell’s Father reads this, and enjoys it !

  14. 1historian - Jun 8, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    I’ve been saying for the last few years that we need a turn-around game, a statement game – call it what you will.

    In the last few years we have somehow managed to find ways to lose to Michigan. That must stop.

    2 years ago Stanford gave us a serious butt-kicking under the clear October skies of South Bend, while their jerk of a (very good) coach urged them on from the sidelines. They ran up the score on us in OUR house. That is a debt that must be paid.

    Oklahoma – that would be nice. I remember 1957 (yes I am that old) when they had won 47 straight games – still the longest winning streak in history – and we went into their place and stopped the streak with a 7-0 win.

    This is BK’s 3rd year – this team is 5/8 his recruits and 3/8 CW recruits. Yes we have a doozy of a schedule, but we ALWAYS have a doozy of a schedule.

    This is the year. 1st we get the respect back – fear will take care of itself.

    • bernhtp - Jun 8, 2012 at 8:51 AM

      BK has overachieved his recruited talent at his former programs. It’s time that gets done at Notre Dame. For many years, our recruit class ranks have been far higher than our end-of-season ranking in the polls. The formula for a return to relevance/dominance/glory is fairly simple: invert these two rankings through player develop and team-building and continue the recent trend of landing top recruits.

      Then add some prayer to get the quantum breaks to fall our way, e.g., Gray’s USF game fumble that bounced into the hands of the defender or Denard Robinson’s fumble that bounced right back into his hands for a score, not to mention Crist’s fumbled snap for a USC score. We won all of those games in some alternate universe, and I want to bring that here.

    • nudeman - Jun 8, 2012 at 12:49 PM

      1957 ND/OK

  15. bernhtp - Jun 8, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    I love these quotes by Rochell:

    "I knew it was nice but I was kind of blown away. Everything about it was perfect," Rochell told after his first visit in April. "It’s going to be kind of weird to go to visit another school and compare it to Notre Dame. It’s so prestigious and the football program has so much history. "It will be hard to go to another school and compare it to Notre Dame. It really won’t compare."

    While Notre Dame has recruiting obstacles with its South Bend (cold, isolated) location, it also has many important pluses that recent recruits have highlighted. Among these is the most beautiful campus anywhere and the special feel that comes with it.

  16. audomer - Jun 8, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    i’ll reserve my excitement until February 3rd 2013……..Really hoping the Mayans screw the pooch ;o)

    • nudeman - Jun 8, 2012 at 12:51 PM

      Not sure but think the Mayans backed off that prediction, didn’t they?
      I’d at least like to see how this ND QB thing shakes out before the world ends.

      • bernhtp - Jun 8, 2012 at 1:55 PM

        Whether it is the Mayans or the Heaven’s Gate clan, I’ve noticed a strong trend among those predicting apocalyptic catastrophe: it occurs both prematurely and (only) personally. In this case, Irish Football has already outlived the Mayans and they won’t be here to see our next National Championship.

      • nudeman - Jun 8, 2012 at 2:08 PM

        The apocalyptic clans are, to date, 0 for whatever.
        At some point they’ll get it right I suppose.
        But I’m doubling down that we get to see the entire 2012 season before that happens.
        Hopefully the Bowl season too

  17. fnc111 - Jun 8, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    I’m not sure why Michigan, MSU, USC and Stanford would be scared of ND. Those programs are out-recruiting ND the last few years and beat ND almost every time they play them. Nude, can you clarify? ND is always overhyped in recruiting because it has the largest fan base in the country. More hits on websites, more mags sold when ND gets a commitment.

    I want to see wins on the field. I don’t buy into this recruiting hype anymore. We get burned all the time. How many of the 14 will actually sign when the turnover issues don’t get resolved and Kelly goes 6-6 against the #1 SOS this year?

    I will say this I hope I’m very wrong about this upcoming season but with Lynch gone, no QBs and no WRs I don’t see ND having a good year. if the recruits would come and stay four years I believe Kelly could turn it around someday but they never seem to have those back to back good years to get the recruits to stick. It’s been an evil cycle and the FSU and Michigan games last year put up big time road blocks on ND making a move forward. Kelly essentially gave Michigan all this momentum by choking to them last September.

    On NDs schedule are possibly the three most talented players in the country: Barkley, Robinson, and Jones . Behind closed doors Kelly has got to want to strangle Swarbrick for his scheduling.

    • nudeman - Jun 8, 2012 at 11:32 PM

      I appreciate your posts because you challenge the optimist in all of us
      And I understand the skepticism on the recruiting hype.
      But what I see as different from previous years is WHERE they’re recruiting.
      CW was only interested in skill position guys.
      BK “gets it” in terms of recruiting for D and OL/DL

      I feel much better about the ability to win the battle in the trenches than any time since Lou

      But that’s just me
      And I still think we’re 1 year away from this approach paying off in spades
      My prediction is 9-3 this year.

      But please, don’t let Tommy start

  18. papadec - Jun 9, 2012 at 4:20 AM

    nude – regarding Ricky S-J. I was mostly being a smart-ass. ESPN had run an item about him decommitting (ND not the only team it happens to) from Texas. That ND had been one of his final four prior to his verbal. A later item has Texas still as his #1 – but, taking time to make sure it’s the right decision.

  19. fnc111 - Jun 12, 2012 at 6:02 PM


    I do agree with you big time on that point. The best way to win the war is in the trenches and that’s the one thing Kelly is recruiting on both sides.

    Two years ago I was the pure psycho optimist. The losses to scUM have _____ed with my mindset on this program.

    I’m from Michigan so people have to understand in all sites my hatred for the michigan schools and ive lived and died with my first class ND football players but something hit me within the last six months and it told me to stop being so overly positive towards what will happen with ND each fall. A heart attack was bound to happen with all the bs that happens each season. Like I said I hope I’m reallllllly wrong but this season will be worse than last.

  20. nudeman - Jun 12, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    I go through that too. On those stretches, here’s what hits me:
    – Kelly, the disciplinarian coaching a team that nearly leads the NCAA in penalties and turnovers
    – Tommy Rees over Dayne Crist as QB
    – Two 99 yard fumble returns against ND within 6 weeks
    – Tommy Rees
    – Florida State
    – No obvious QB for this year
    – Tommy Rees

    So on those days I just drink

  21. dickasman - Jun 22, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    Do you think Ed Warrener or hinton could’ve pulled him in? Props to booker. We need to add one more black coach or coach in waiting IMO.

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