Notre Dame flips UCLA LB commit one week before early signing period

Notre Dame flipped yet another recruit in the weeks leading up to December’s early signing period with Devin Aupiu spurning his UCLA pledge on Wednesday. A consensus three-star linebacker, Aupiu (Pacifica High School; Oxnard, Calif.) had been committed to the Bruins since late April, but now joins the Irish class with only one week remaining until he can sign on the dotted line.

Notre Dame has flipped four recruits from Power Five programs in the last month, including three from the Pac 12, all part of a surge that has grown this class to 24 prospects, all expected to officially join the program on Dec. 16.

The majority of the Pac 12 originally sought Aupiu, who held offers from Utah and USC when he initially committed to UCLA. Aupiu makes good use of his 6-foot-5 frame by playing assignment-correct football, a discipline that could allow him to see situational playing time early on in his Irish career despite Notre Dame having considerable linebacker depth in the short-term.

For that matter, his length may make defensive end a future possibility, as well. Aupiu told Irish Sports Daily‘s Matt Freeman he expects to follow in Daelin Hayes‘ and Isaiah Foskey‘s footsteps.

He also told Freeman that YouTube was a crucial part of this pandemic-era recruitment.

“Everything about the [Notre Dame] is televised and on YouTube, so I’ve done my own research,” Aupiu said. “I’ve done a lot of research on YouTube. The best way to get to know something is to see it. If you can’t be there in person, so I’ve seen the pep rallies, filling up the stands and stuff like that.”

He joins three-star linebackers Prince Kollie (David Crockett H.S.; Jonesborough, Tenn.) and Kahanu Kia (Punahou; Honolulu) as the third linebacker in the class, a trio needed to make up for the Irish not taking any linebackers last cycle. Among defensive ends, Aupiu joins three-stars Jason Onye and Will Schweitzer, needed pieces as the Irish continue to develop defensive line depth as a foundational piece of this four-year resurgence.

With the ACC canceling Notre Dame’s trip to Wake Forest on Dec. 12, the Irish coaching staff can more easily split its time between game-planning for the conference championship game on Dec. 19, and dotting its i’s and crossing its t’s with this recruiting class before the Dec. 16 early signing period.

Suffice it to say, as with everything in 2020, that will be a chaotic week.

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