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Big recruiting weekend begins home stretch

Jan 25, 2013, 3:21 PM EST

Eddie Vanderdoes

It’s a winter wonderland in South Bend. With the first big snowfall of the new year falling earlier this week, Notre Dame will welcome four important guests to a very picturesque campus. For the four warm weather state recruits, a January weekend with temperatures in the 20s will pull no punches, giving kids a true picture of winter at its finest. But with less than two weeks to go before Signing Day, there’s good reason for highly touted players to give Notre Dame one of their last looks.

With 22 current commitments, there’s not a ton of room left on the bus. Earlier this week, one more prospective player took himself out of contention, with California wideout Sebastian Larue declaring the Irish out of the running. Multiple reports had Larue’s offer still contingent on some work in the classroom, and many believe the parting was mutual.

Let’s take a closer look at the four targets making their way to South Bend this weekend.

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Kylie Fitts, DE: 6-4, 260 lbs.

Fitts was long committed to USC until earlier this month, when Fitts was reportedly told he no longer had a spot to early enroll. After graduating early from high school, the Southern California native opened up his recruitment and Notre Dame was there from then on.

A USC Army All-American, Fitts looks like a prototype defensive end for the Irish, though he’ll need to continue to put on weight. Fitts is still considering UCLA, Oregon and Washington, with staying on the West Coast seemingly likely, but all bets are off until he finally visits Notre Dame’s campus.

Fitts might not be a huge need in the recruiting class, but Brian Kelly and Bob Diaco seem happy to stockpile big bodies. With Kapron Lewis-Moore moving on and Stephon Tuitt likely with a tough decision to make after next season, adding another defensive end — especially a top 150 player in the country — would be a good move.

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Deon Hollins, LB: 6-2, 225 lbs.

Hollins received a visit from Bob Diaco and Kerry Cooks this week, with the result an official visit set for the weekend. In Hollins, they have a player that’s a little bit outside profile, but he’s got pass rush skills that would immediately make an impact for the Irish.

Hollins is committed to UCLA, but taking visits the next two weekends. “Me and my dad and my family thought it’d be smart to weigh our options, visit other places, just make sure that UCLA is the right place for us,” Hollins said earlier this week.

Getting Hollins away from UCLA would be a major feat for the Irish coaching staff, especially with the Bruins recruiting class looking stronger by the day. But when the Irish staff fawns over Hollins’ pass rush skills and opportunity to thrive in the Irish defense, it won’t be lip service. He’s an elite athlete that’s got true difference making speed.

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Durham Smythe, TE: 6-6, 235 lbs.

Smythe is a guy that’s come onto Notre Dame’s radar late, with the Irish thought to be closed at the position once Mike Heuerman committed to the 2013 class. But Smythe’s de-commitment from Texas and reopening of his recruitment gave the Irish another opportunity to reconsider, and he’s built a ton of fans inside the program.

A quick look at Smythe’s offers gives you an idea of the type of prospect that he is. Michigan, Stanford, Florida, Georgia, Miami, Nebraska, Oregon, and Texas join a flock of others. Smythe may not be ranked in the final Rivals250, but he’s got elite recruiting cohorts, and that certainly says something.

Many think this is down to Stanford, Michigan and the Irish, but reading the tea leaves, Notre Dame could be in very good shape. The admissions process still isn’t finished at Stanford, and Michigan’s recruiting class already features two tight ends. Smythe has to see the Irish’s recent success with tight ends, and a favorable depth chart as reasons to give Notre Dame a very close look this weekend.

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Eddie Vanderdoes, DL: 6-3, 310 lbs.

There’s no bigger target left on Notre Dame’s radar than Vanderdoes. He’s an elite talent, a consensus top 25 players in the country, a five-star prospect, and the heir apparent to Louis Nix if he decides to come to South Bend. With the size to play inside and the speed to play outside, Vanderdoes’ versatility makes him a key weapon to any defensive front at the college level.

Vanderdoes visited USC again last weekend, spending time with Trojan players and commits as they tried desperately to get him back into the fold. Even athletic director Pat Haden was seen putting in work with the prized lineman, and the Trojans offered Vanderdoes’ 13-year old sister a basketball scholarship, hoping that’d help keep him in California (that move was also reportedly done by Alabama).

Vanderdoes will be visiting campus with both his parents, a key towards securing the commitment of one of the nation’s top players. But there’s still road to cover, with Vanderdoes tripping down to see Nick Saban next weekend as well. The Irish will put their best foot forward this weekend, with none other than Louis Nix hosting the recruit this weekend.

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  1. bernhtp - Jan 25, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    There are a number of good players here, but the success of the weekend ultimately begins and ends with Vanderdoes.

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Jan 25, 2013 at 7:00 PM

      USC offering a 13 yr old a scholarship to gEt her big brother is so beyond the pale that Haden should hide his face for that. What a wannabe classy guy who is really just a mutt.

      • brianjack13 - Jan 26, 2013 at 11:21 AM

        Yeah, I read on some other boards that Alabama quietly, did the same thing. Pretty pathetic.

      • 4horsemenrideagain - Jan 26, 2013 at 2:20 PM

        Not a far cry from buying a recruit’s folks a house or just a suitcase full of cash. Makes you wonder whether the NCAA really cares that it looks like it doesn’t give a sh!t.

  2. bostonjan - Jan 25, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    I’m willing to wager that we’ll not see a U of VA replay in South Bend….no way does any of these recruits end up arrested for underage possession of alcohol and behaving like a tool in the middle of some downtown street.

  3. irish2011 - Jan 25, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    I’m just thankful it’s not another article about …..

    • papadec - Jan 26, 2013 at 1:06 AM

      yeah me too – but did you see what the next article is?

      • 1historian - Jan 26, 2013 at 10:13 PM

        if we the loyal readers don’t make any comments about you-know-who/what maybe we can help it go away faster.

  4. papadec - Jan 26, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    I thought Pat Haden was brought in to clean-up & provide class to usc athletics – looks like he got sucked into the cesspool, instead. I’m disappointed in him.

  5. mungman69 - Jan 26, 2013 at 7:46 AM

    We are loaded. Now it is up to Coach to put it together. Anything less than a BCS bowl would be a huge downer,

  6. iamjimmyjack - Jan 26, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Fight on with us Eddie! Become a Trojan and help us win. The defense we are bringing in has the potential to be very special under Clancys leadership. Fight on!

  7. fnc111 - Jan 26, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    ND will strike out on all of these recruits and at least one decommitment will take place on signing day. Will be lucky to sign 20. There will be a stockpile of fifth year guys back. Not a good idea to host recruits in zero degree weather.

    • gtizzo - Jan 27, 2013 at 2:17 AM

      I think we have our next closet ND fan. Normally ND haters are just fans who don’t understand what a great program with a rich tradition is. Just remember ND haters our schedule is manageable and you ND haters will get to hear ESPN talk ND football all preseason long. Just so you can keep up with your favorite team!! GO IRISH!!

  8. fnc111 - Jan 26, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    Kelly ever think to recruit some three star players so you aren’t left at the alter by the big time recruits come February? See the size of the 2012 class? Last recruiting class proved Kelly was clueless about ND. A couple more will bounce on ND at the last minute like they do every year since 2007. Start recruiting RKGs and stop offering people that will never play here. Get back to playing in your league, going 9-3, and winning some average bowl games. The embarrassments like Jan. 7 are a annoying.

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Jan 26, 2013 at 8:22 PM

      Hey Debbie downer, why don’t you go back to yelling at the young kids for their loud music and complain about your taxes some more, that way the rest of u can enjoy ourselves.

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Jan 26, 2013 at 8:23 PM

      Hey Debbie downer, why don’t you go back to yelling at the young kids for their loud music and complain about your taxes some more, that way the rest of u can enjoy ourselves.o

    • gtizzo - Jan 27, 2013 at 2:19 AM

      More three star recruits like Tyler Eifert would be great for ND football. Kelly could recruit more guys like Eifert and should use him as a model for the future. I’m sure coach Kelly was glad to inherit a player of his caliber. Great point.

  9. irishpuma - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    EV4 can handle some cold weather they get a little of it in his neck of the woods. We need Eddie to put this class into the stratosphere! Hollins is a beast too but we need to add 35 pounds to him. He could be 2 years out. I am hoping the recruits like the place and program but had I gone to visit south bend in winter I probably would have never went either. And its hard to turn down 250k for you and your little sister. The NCAA is just a sham of an organization with no proactive positions. They just wait until a scandal is uncovered and they impose semi meaningless penalties and vacate wins way after the fact when it is too late to do anything. Did we win the USC game the year of the Bush push because they had to vacate it? Sure does not feel like it.

  10. peopletrains - Jan 27, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    “Prospective”, not “perspective”.

    • Keith Arnold - Jan 27, 2013 at 6:17 PM

      Thanks. Typo fixed.

  11. islandsdomer - Jan 27, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Smythe committed?

    • irishpuma - Jan 27, 2013 at 4:09 PM

      Yep Yep another big Irish TE great fit. Texas decomit and we got him away from Michigan and Stanford. Go irish. Hopefully more to follow. I don’t know where we are going to get the space but thats why I am not in the front office. Just keep brining more in BK!

  12. vstar1us - Jan 31, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    Maybe they can get another M.T. Or what ever

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