Irish add key DT recruit Mokwuah, lose OLB Yeargin

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Notre Dame’s recruiting class continues to take shape, with the Irish adding a key commitment on Friday in defensive tackle Peter Mokwuah. The Staten Island native flipped his commitment from Rutgers to Notre Dame on Friday after a visit from Brian Kelly to St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School.

At 6-foot-4, 315-pounds, Mokwuah gives the Irish a badly needed big body on the inside that can conceivably play in the Irish’s 3-4 scheme. Mokwuah was targeted by new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, and the Irish made quick work of adding a player at a position of need.

According to this report at SILive.com, the recruitment of Mokwuah came fast and furious. And it turns out to have been effective as well.

“They offered him,” said Clark. “He was going back and forth on it all week on what to do. I think once he met with coach Kelly, and obviously the school speaks for itself.”

Notre Dame’s interest in Mokwuah heated up recently, according to Clark.

“He’s only really been talking to them for about a week and a half, two weeks,” said Clark. “Definitely not more than two weeks.”

New defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder had his introductory press conference on Jan. 15, and the next day he was on Staten Island to visit Mokwuah. VanGorder spent the 2013 season as the New York Jets’ linebacker coach and was previously defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons.

“Coach VanGorder met with him for a while and was picking his brain to see him tick,” said Clark. “I guess they like what they heard.”

Mokwuah will take an official visit soon and sign with the Irish on February 5. His commitment comes the same day the Irish lost long-time commit Richard Yeargin III, who will likely sign with Clemson instead.

Yeargin was long thought of as a key piece of the puzzle at linebacker, the biggest position of need during this cycle. But the addition of several commitments in the last few months lessened the blow, and Yeargin is leaving things on good terms.

“I’m very thankful for the opportunity to have been selected by Notre Dame as one of their special kids that they decided to offer a scholarship to, but at this time I’ve decided to head in a different direction with my recruitment,” Yeargin told Blue and Gold Illustrated. I really do love Notre Dame and this wasn’t an easy decision, but it’s solely based on the best decision for me.”

Interestingly, Yeargin cites his relationship with Bob Diaco as one of the reasons for him departing, so the change at coordinator cuts both ways in this case.

With Justin Brent and Andrew Trumbetti already enrolled, the Irish recruiting class remains at 22.