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Irish add another commitment from ’14 WR Justin Brent

Jul 9, 2012, 9:13 PM EDT

Justin Brent

July is usually a slow month for college football coaches, a time to recharge the batteries before gearing up for the season ahead. But for Brian Kelly and his staff, it’s been especially frenetic, as Notre Dame continues to build its future depth charts.

The Irish coaching staff accepted the commitment of 2014 Indianapolis wide receiver Justin Brent this evening, with Brent making his commitment public on IrishSportsDaily.com’s weekly Power Hour podcast. The Speedway High School product, who had 40 catches for 419 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore last season, also made the news public on his Twitter account.

“Excited to announce I’ve committed and will be playing college football for the University of Notre Dame,” Brent said via Twitter. “Blessed to officially be on board!!”

At 6-foot-3, Brent’s an incredibly intriguing prospect that brings some much needed size to the position. After camping with the Irish in hopes of earning his first scholarship offer, Brent got exactly that from offensive coordinator Chuck Martin last Friday on a private tour of campus.

From there, it didn’t take long for the in-state product to make up his mind, joining Greer Martini in the ’14 recruiting class, another incredibly early commitment by a coaching staff that continues to plow along despite a 2012 season that at best could be called a year stuck in neutral on the field.

Brent was early in the recruiting process, entertaining interest from schools like Ohio State, Michigan and Northwestern yet still without official offers. Like Steve Elmer last season, Brent’s decision to come off the board early won’t likely effect his proverbial recruiting stock, with Rivals.com’s Josh Helmholdt expecting him to be one of the region’s best receiving prospect, even if he’s understandably raw.

One interesting trend starting to emerge is Kelly and the current coaching staff’s ability to keep elite local talent at Notre Dame. In Charlie Weis’ era with the Irish, he signed eight Indiana natives to scholarships, with the best talents being Tyler Eifert, Braxston Cave, and Zack Martin. Kelly has already equaled that number, with high profile players like Gunner Kiel, Sheldon Day, and Jaylon Smith potentially elite recruits, and guys like Nick Martin having plenty of potential as well. After only signing Martin and Kuntz out of Indianapolis, Kelly has done a great job locking down players from the area, one of the talent-rich metropolitan areas that is actually in Notre Dame’s backyard.

Brent will begin his junior football season for Speedway this fall, and is eligible to sign with Notre Dame in 2014.

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  1. dickasman - Jul 9, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    I don’t know where speedway is from shell but I hope that “speedway” is his nick name not the name of his high school he attends!

  2. godcountrynotredame - Jul 9, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    Reblogged this on God Country Notre Dame and commented:
    2nd 2014 verbal

  3. ccad05 - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    Speedway is where they run Indy 500 and yes it is the name of the hs. Speedway sparkplugs

  4. 9irish - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    You know, that’s good news. Those coaches are doing their forward planning and that’s good. But I’m not ringing the church bell or anything yet….that’s a long time from now. I’m just worried about 3 months from now and then 2013 recruits. A lot of things change, so I’ll just leave things that far ahead on the coaches’ radar screens and not get all excited about it.

  5. georgegipp - Jul 10, 2012 at 12:55 AM

    Keith – Love that the Irish are defending their home turf and getting the top Indiana players. Any idea why the Irish are so successful in Indiana whilst only having mixed success in their other traditional backyard, Chicago?

    Thanks for your great work.

    • nudeman - Jul 10, 2012 at 11:15 AM

      Keith doe not answer questions

      • turknd - Jul 10, 2012 at 9:29 PM

        does

      • nudeman - Jul 11, 2012 at 10:39 AM

        Does not

    • papadec - Jul 10, 2012 at 4:42 PM

      george – ND isn’t always successful protecting the backyard – last year (2012 class) David Perkins, South Bend, jumped ship for tOSU. I have no insight regarding recruiting Chicago. But, I do remember that any Catholic HS in & around Chicago was a pipeline to ND – seems like that was quite awhile ago.

      • penick44 - Jul 11, 2012 at 7:09 AM

        Actually Perkins was “pushed” overboard more than he jumped ship. I think grades were a factor.

  6. papadec - Jul 10, 2012 at 2:26 AM

    I can’t remember when ND had a commit two years out, let alone two commits. I guess it reflects the changing landscape of football recruiting. I saw an item @ ESPNFB regarding Jack Swarbrick having conversations with the ACC regarding the Orange Bowl. Basically, it would be a Bowl for the Irish if they qualified for a major Bowl but didn’t make the Final Four (starting with the new NC format in 2014). So much for the people who reflect negatively on ND’s relevance. ND has plenty of relevance where it matters – Bowl selection committees.

  7. norcalirish - Jul 10, 2012 at 5:18 AM

    Quite frankly I’m worried about this Orange Bowl thing… doesn’t sit right with me.

    • bernhtp - Jul 10, 2012 at 9:46 AM

      So what worries you about gaining access to a top-tier bowl? ND football is not joining the ACC, at least not anytime soon.

    • papadec - Jul 10, 2012 at 4:45 PM

      I have complete confidence in Jack Swarbrick – if he’s having discussions with the ACC and/or Orange Bowl people regarding ND, I trust it is in ND’s best interest.

      • bernhtp - Jul 10, 2012 at 5:44 PM

        Swarbrick is brilliant and is doing an amazing job. I have no fears with him at the helm.

    • 9irish - Jul 10, 2012 at 9:21 PM

      I agree….if they’re good and don’t make the top four, they’ll go to a top bowl anyway. I don’t know, college football is such a mad scramble for position right now. I wonder if the other Irish sports going to the ACC isn’t an issue in this. (South Bend is very Atlantic Coast, of course)

  8. pjm79nd - Jul 10, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    I’m delighted to see ND attract talented players and flattered they would consider making ND their home for the next few years.

    I guess the recruiting game has truly changed, but something just doesn’t seem right with big-time college football programs offering scholarships to kids who are barely 16 years old.

    There’s nothing unethical or under the table about it. I simply wonder if money and the lure of a professional career, which have damaged college athletics and the schools that support them, have now worked their way too far down into high school athletics as well.

    I also wonder how solid a commitment from a high school sophomore can be. He has no downside from accepting our offer and changing his mind anytime during the next two years.

    • bernhtp - Jul 10, 2012 at 6:23 PM

      We’ve certainly seen that any verbal commit can flip at the last minute, but this group – self-named IrishMob13 – seems different than what I’ve seen before. They’ve bonded and banded together, and each seems to love Notre Dame for exactly the right reasons. I don’t expect them to flip absent some terrible event.

    • paiten34 - Jul 13, 2012 at 5:07 AM

      PJM -

      It’s not a big deal for someone to agree by giving a verbal commitment so it shouldn’t matter how young or old this kid is. USC two years ago accepted a verbal commitment from a 12 year old California QB. All a verbal commitment does is say that a player and a college have a high interest in each other.

      A college team like ND will send out a few hundred interest papers to players like this in hopes of landing 10% returns of interest. It means nothing in the scheme of things. If either party doesn’t like what they see from each other over the next two football seasons all they have to do is remove the verbal agreement.

      If ND wants to keep Indiana’s top college prospects they need to strike early and often. If Kelly can lock up several top players in their own back yard it opens up so many other options later for recruits all over the US. Verbal commits like this with little action taken by ND saves time and money that can be used to pluck players from other regions.

  9. norcalirish - Jul 11, 2012 at 3:36 AM

    My concern is becoming regionalized in the bowl season, as well as secret ACC talks. I agree about Swarbrick tho, seems like he has a good head on his shoulders. Time will tell, but something just seems fishy.

  10. 1trojanlove - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    @paiten34-
    the 12 year old kid is from Delaware, not California… Close enough I guess…

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