Prentice McKinney flips commitment to UNC

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One of Notre Dame’s long-time verbal commitments is no longer planning on joining the Irish’s 2015 recruiting class. Texas safety Prentice McKinney took an official visit to North Carolina last weekend and flipped his commitment to Larry Fedora’s Tar Heels on Wednesday, dropping Notre Dame’s recruiting class down to 22 players and just two safeties.

McKinney took to Twitter to announce the news.

“I want to thank everybody that helped me throughout my recruiting process and appreciate your support. I’ve officially decided to flip my commitment to the University of North Carolina,” McKinney said (before using a few interesting emoticons).

For much of the past month, McKinney’s commitment was being questioned, with multiple outlets reporting that there was an admissions snag at Notre Dame. While those surrounding the safety denied it — and McKinney looked the part of a totally committed Irish recruit as recently as the Semper Fi All-Star game — the idea that he was visiting North Carolina and would eventually be a part of another school’s 2015 haul seemed to be an assumption the Irish coaching staff worked from as they’ve been in pursuit of another safety.

What the Irish lose in McKinney will be interesting to see. A large, physical presence in the middle of the field, Notre Dame plucked the Dallas safety from relative obscurity, offering and accepting his commitment before he had arrived on the national scene. He’s seen his profile rise since then, with offers from Oklahoma, TCU and Arizona State among others before ultimately picking North Carolina.

McKinney’s flip pushes the Irish back to 22 commitments with just under two weeks to go before Signing Day.