The Coaching Effect: Defensive Commitments

Another day and another flurry of rumors concerning Notre Dame's pursuit of various candidates to fill its head coaching vacancy. Although the Irish remain without a head coach, the program does have nine defensive players committed to join the squad in 2010. Will the new coach be able to secure these commitments once he takes control of the program?

The first thing that needs to be made clear is that Notre Dame will stand behind the scholarship offers that were extended to the prospects that committed to Charlie Weis regardless of who is hired. The question now is whether the committed players are going to stand behind their commitment to attend Notre Dame. The answer to that at this time appears to be yes.

Notre Dame had three defensive end commitments prior to Charlie Weis being fired, but lost Chris Martin shortly afterward. Luckily the Irish have two outstanding prospects that appear to be sticking with their commitments in Justin Utupo of Lakewood High School (Calif.) and Blake Lueders from Zionsville High School (Ind.) As most recruiting fans know, Utupo (6-foot-3, 260-pounds) committed to Notre Dame without seeing the campus, so it isn't a stretch to believe that he'll sign with the Irish come February. Lueders (6-foot-5, 250-pounds) has had several schools inquire about his status, but he has gone on record saying that the coaching change would not chance his decision.

Louis Nix from William M. Raines High School (Jacksonville, Fla.) could possibly be considered Notre Dame's strongest commitment. The 6-foot-3, 315-pound defensive tackle committed to the Irish after he found out Weis had been let go. There will certainly be schools that will attempt to flip Nix, but I'm going to guess a guy that commits to a school without a head coach is going to be around when the new guy takes over.

Notre Dame would like to add at least one, if not two more defensive tackles to the 2010 class. Despite the shakeup with the coaching staff the Irish are holding strong with Bruce Gaston of St. Rita High School (Chicago, Ill.) and Beau Allen of .With the right hire, the Irish could land both prospects.

At linebacker the Irish have two North Carolina products, Prince Shembo from Ardrey Kell High School (Charlotte) and Kendall Moore of Southeast Raleigh High School. Both prospects have talked about visiting other schools, but only as a backup plan. Shembo (6-foot-2, 225-pounds) hasn't made any plans to take visits, but Moore (6-foot-2.5, 229-pounds) has already taken a visit to N.C. State and is looking to schedule a few additional trips. This week Moore told's Pack Pride, "Basically what I'm going to do ... I'm not going to jump ship or anything as far as Notre Dame goes. I don't know what's going to happen with the new coach. Me and my dad are setting up a couple of visits, that way we have a backup plan in case everything doesn't work out with Notre Dame."

Notre Dame is still working on landing Anthony Barr from Loyola High School (Los Angles, Calif.) and Christian Jones of Lake Howell High School (Winter Park, Fla), with Barr the more likely to choose the Irish.

At cornerback Notre Dame has three committed prospects and all three appear to be solidly behind the Irish. Lo Wood for Apopka High School (Fla.) and Spencer Boyd from Cape Coral High School (Cape Coral, Fla.) are two of the athletes that are planning on graduating early. Both have stated that they are moving forward with those plans, so expect them to arrive on campus in early January. Toney Hurd (5-foot-9, 185-pounds)is the third name is this group and the standout athlete from Marshall High School (Missouri City, Texas) recently confirmed his commitment with IrishEyes, "I'm going to trust that we're going to get a good coach. I'm optimistic about the process and as of right now I'm still committed to Notre Dame… that's where I want to go."

Chris Badger from Timpview High School (Provo, Utah) is another recruit that intends on graduating in December, and enrolling at Notre Dame for January classes. The 6-foot-1, 192-pound safety prospect told IrishEyes, "I think the biggest thing right now is seeing who they hire and building a relationship with them the best that I can. I'm still going to Notre Dame. The biggest thing is to fit in with the new coaches and see what happens and then go from there."

The Irish would definitely like to add an additional safety to this class if they can. Corey Cooper from Proviso East High School (Maywood, Ill.), Marquis Flowers from Millennium High School (Goodyear, Az.), Sean Parker from Narbonne High School (Harbor City, Calif.) and Dietrich Riley from St. Francis High School (La Canada, Calif.) are the prospects that the new head coach will attempt to lure. Top Stories