Jan 27, 2013, 6:58 PM EDT
Notre Dame’s big recruiting weekend wasn’t even over before it began reaping rewards. Texas tight end Durham Smythe, who was set to play for the home state Longhorns until December, pledged his commitment to the Irish on Sunday.
Smythe is the 23rd commitment in the 2013 class, with five freshman already enrolled. He’ll join Mike Heuerman at tight end, giving Notre Dame two capable replacements for All-American Tyler Eifert and reserve Jake Golic.
At a reported 6-foot-6, 235-pounds, Smythe is another big target at a position where the Irish continue to recruit impressive players. As the top tight end in Texas, Smythe played both connected to the line and flexed out wide, a versatility Brian Kelly has utilized with both Eifert and Kyle Rudolph.
While Smythe is the first to pull the trigger, early reports out of South Bend are promising. Fellow visitor Kylie Fitts raved to Irish Illustrated about his trip, telling them he had “an awesome time,” while finding a great fit spiritually.
UCLA commit Deon Hollins also was given something to think about, telling Blue & Gold that he was “blown away.” Hollins talked about where the Irish see him slotting into the defense, with no preference between inside and outside linebacker.
“I told them whichever line is the shortest,” Hollins told B&G. “They like me as an inside and outside linebacker. Football players are able to adjust. It doesn’t really matter to me where I play. I just want to play.”
The highest profile visitor of the weekend, defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes, reportedly won’t talk to the media until after Signing Day. But talking to people inside the program, the Irish coaching staff feels good about their chances with the five-star talent, who will spend next weekend at Alabama before choosing between the Irish, USC, where he was once committed, and the Crimson Tide.