Jul 4, 2012, 8:01 AM EDT
The Notre Dame coaching staff has been targeting talented linebackers in this recruiting cycle, chasing players like Jaylon Smith, Danny Mattingly, Michael Deeb, and the soon-to-decide Alex Anzalone as they look to replenish their roster. While trying to fill their 2013 slate, the Irish accepted the commitment of another linebacker, 2014 Virginia linebacker Greer Martini, who accepted a verbal scholarship offer from the Irish staff after performing well at the school’s football camp last week.
Martini’s commitment is the first of the 2014 class, and an early building block for a recruiting class that still hasn’t taken its first snap as a high school upperclassmen.
“I came back home and talked to my parents and we couldn’t think of a better place to be than Notre Dame,” Martini told 247Sports.com’s Steve Wiltfong. “With the combination of academics and athletics, I figured I should commit now and my heart is set on it.”
The Irish were one of the first program’s on the 6-foot-3, 210-pound linebacker from Woodberry Forest High School in Virginia, where current freshman C.J. Prosise just graduated. (Notre Dame is also chasing 2013 prospect Doug Randolph, another Woodberry Forest prospect who is currently committed to Stanford.)
As a sophomore, Martini joined Prosise as a first-team All-State selection. Per his school’s statistics, Martini had 74 tackles last season, including an astounding six fumble recoveries, including two he returned for touchdowns. He also chipped in three sacks and three interceptions during his sophomore campaign.
Martini’s recruiting profile is largely incomplete by the online services, with a three-star grade being the one currently assigned. With offers from Maryland and North Carolina State, Martini was at the beginning of the evaluation period when he took himself off the board.
Martini’s commitment is incredibly early, but likely reflects both the Irish’s interest in a prospect that looks like he’ll grow perfectly into an inside linebacker and a strong academic profile. He’s the earliest commitment the Irish have scored in the Rivals.com era, a telling sign of this coaching staff’s evaluation process and ability to identify and recruit prospects earlier and earlier.
Irish tight ends coach and special teams coordinator Scott Booker received the commitment, another strong boost to the young assistant’s profile. Martini is eligible to sign with the Irish in February of 2014.