Hendrix in, Prater likely out

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A little good news and a little bad news breaking today for Irish fans.

As first reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer, quarterback Andrew Hendrix has come back into the fold for the Irish, turning down a very attractive Florida offer to stick to his original Irish commitment. IrishSportsDaily.com, where Hendrix wrote a blog during the season, got Hendrix himself on the record about the decision-making process.

From Hendrix:

Before ND fired coach Weis, but many believed he was going to get the boot, I was unsure of the direction Notre Dame was going to take their program. I certainly did not want to be left out in the cold, so I started building a relationship with Florida’s coaches. I scheduled a visit and when Coach Kelly was hired, I went up to ND and talked with him for a long while. I really enjoyed visiting with him and discussing his plans for the program, but my Florida visit was scheduled and why not go visit to make sure I am not missing out on anything…

Leaving Florida, it looked to be set. I decided to let the wine and dine wear off a little, and when I was ready to pull the trigger but I couldn’t. My head was screaming Florida, but my gut was twisted…

I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again, Notre Dame is the best place for me academically, athletically, and spiritually, I just wanted to make sure that is what I wanted.

Keeping Hendrix on board is a good victory for Kelly and his new staff, and in the long run will likely be a good decision for Hendrix, who looks to be a perfect fit for the new Irish offense.

In the bad news category, it sounds like the hiring of Lane Kiffin means Kyle Prater will stick with his commitment to USC.

ISD’s Steve Wiltfong spoke with Prater’s high school coach, Proviso West’s Famous Hulbert, who sounded pretty sure that Prater is sticking with the Trojans.

“In all likelihood, that’s where he’s headed,” Hulbert told Wiltfong. “When you see someone’s face, you get a vibe. Kyle was very fond of him when he took a trip to Tennessee. A younger energetic guy, he was there at USC when Mike Williams set all those records, and they had their three Heisman Trophy winners. Kyle was excited about the hire and looking forward to talking with Lane Kiffin.

“It’s a better situation for Kyle now, then if Pete Carroll would’ve stayed. In terms of Coach Kiffin throwing the ball more than Jeremy Bates threw the ball in the past, and you add in the fact everyone is on an even playing field. With Kyle getting there next week, in spring ball, Kyle will be learning the plays the same as all the seniors. Everyone is going to be learning just like him. There are no previous relationships with the guys, everyone is starting square one on an even playing field.”

After reading that quote, it sounds like Hulbert considers this a done deal, and those quotes almost feel like a nudge west to his prized pupil.

Doing some research on Hulbert, it turns out he had similar options coming out of high school, when he chose the the Illini over offers from Notre Dame and USC, before a muscle-enzyme disease cut his collegiate career short. Hulbert has a powerful personality, no shortage of confidence, and his opinion probably holds quite a bit of sway on Prater.

Great get by Wiltfong, but it sounds like Prater will be a USC student by next week.