DaVaris Daniels makes 20 for the Irish recruiting class

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One thing that a slow start to the Brian Kelly era hasn’t done is hurt the Irish recruiting efforts. Kelly and company have systematically gone out and put together an incredible first recruiting class, which just landed another key piece in Illinois blue-chipper DaVaris Daniels.

Rated as one of the top players in the state of Illinois and one of the top wide receivers in the country, Daniels committed to the Irish Tuesday evening after talking with head coach Brian Kelly.

“I’ve never been this excited in my life. I never pictured myself at a place like Notre Dame,” Daniels told IrishSportsDaily.com. “We were both ready to get it over with. Plus they are running out of spots. I’m just happy to just get it in.”

While we’re only just into the senior season of Daniels and his Vernon Hills football team, his recruiting trail has taken a few twists and turns.

In June, it looked as if the Irish had missed on one of their top receiving targets, as Daniels had called a press conference and the Chicago Sun-Times announced that the wide receiver was giving a verbal commitment to Miami. The Sun-Times‘ veteran high school writer Taylor Bell cited academic issues for the reason that Daniels didn’t go with his first choice — Notre Dame — and the Daniels camp vehemently denied the article.

Fast-forward three months, and any academic issues Daniels had must have been resolved, as he joins George Atkinson as one of two wide receiver commitments for the 2011 Irish recruiting class. Credit goes to Daniels for resolving any deficiencies in the classroom he might have had, and working to get accepted at the school that was reportedly his first choice all along. Daniels has an elite list of scholarship offers, with Michigan, Illinois, Miami, Oklahoma, Iowa, Arkansas, Oregon and Wisconsin all offering.

There are some big fish the Irish are still chasing, but this recruiting class is pushing capacity. Later in the week we’ll take a look at who’s left on the board, who the Irish still have a shot with, and what it might mean for the roster next year.