Irish land Dallas safety Prentice McKinney

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Gearing up for a big junior day weekend, Notre Dame got an early return from a recruit that’s yet to visit campus. Dallas safety Prentice McKinney committed to the Irish sight unseen, giving area recruiter Kerry Cooks another talented Texas product.

The jumbo-sized safety, who is somewhere in the 6-foot-2 range (some places have him listed at 6-3), became the team’s first defensive recruit in the class of 2015 and immediately brings an enforcer to the back of Brian VanGorder’s defense.

McKinney chose Notre Dame over Oklahoma, Michigan and Texas A&M, telling Irish Illustrated’s Jake Brown that he plans to see campus for the first time at the Blue-Gold game.

“I just talked it over with my parents and everything and they wanted me to go ahead and commit,” McKinney told Irish Illustrated. “I’m gonna try to get down there on April 12. I am gonna talk to them tomorrow. I just talked to coach Cooks tonight. He was very excited. Everybody is real excited. We’re gonna be one family man.”

McKinney is another piece of the Texas pipeline that Cooks has restored recently, with Grant Blankenship, Kolin Hill and Nick Watkins signing in the 2014 class. McKinney was honorable mention 4A All-State during his junior season, where he made eight interceptions and had 68 tackles for his South Oak Cliff high school.

A quick look at his highlight film gives you an immediate idea of the type of player the Irish have landed. Delivering bone crushing hits from the back of the defense, McKinney looks like the type of safety that can play both centerfield and deliver a knockout punch, something the Irish roster doesn’t currently have.

With the Irish staff targeting a limited recruiting class in 2015, McKinney becomes an anchor for the secondary, likely one of two safety targets the Irish will take in this class.

McKinney is the fourth member of the Irish recruiting class, joining Jerry Tillery, Tristen Hoge and Blake Barnett.