Jun 27, 2012, 10:40 AM EDT
Notre Dame received a verbal commitment from outside linebacker Danny Mattingly yesterday, adding another critical piece to a ’13 recruiting class that now sits at 15 members. Mattingly, a Spokane native, has seen his profile grow over the past few months, securing offers from Alabama, Nebraska and Oklahoma, to go along with offers from just about every program in the Pacific Northwest. Yet Mattingly’s ties to Indiana, and his life-long love of Notre Dame, were enough to help him pull the trigger after his visit to campus earlier in the week.
“I loved everything about it – the campus, the facilities, the tradition,” Mattingly told The Spokesman-Review. “I’m Catholic and come from a family of nine. I always wanted to go there.”
Mattingly’s got all the pedigree you’d ask for in a prospect, he’s the nephew of former Yankees star and current Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, has a father that played college football and a brother that played at Washington State. At 6-foot-5, 225-pounds, Mattingly profiles perfectly as an outside linebacker, while Oklahoma offered him as a tight end.
Mattingly joins Jaylon Smith as linebackers in a recruiting class that might be 3/4 full before the 4th of July, something almost unfathomable just a few years ago. While the past few recruiting classes have focused on ‘Cat’ linebacker prospects like Ishaq Williams and Romeo Okwara, Mattingly and Smith join Ben Councell as guys that profile perfectly for the ‘Dog’ position, a spot where the Irish were seemingly understaffed last season, with Prince Shembo playing out of place last season.
The Irish haven’t been to Spokane much and pulling Mattingly — something many thought was a formality — is an impressive feat. It’s been almost 30 years since Notre Dame signed Aaron Robb from the area. Robb won a national championship with the Irish in 1988, something every Irish fan hopes Mattingly will be able to do.
Mattingly was first-team all-league and Co-Defensive MVP of the Greater Spokane League after racking up 75 tackles, forcing four fumbles, and making five interceptions, including two he returned for touchdowns. He’s also a standout prep baseball player.