Notre Dame Lands No. 11

Notre Dame has experienced recruiting's ups and downs over the past couple of weeks, but today the Irish received outstanding news when cornerback Eilar Hardy from Pickerington High School (Pickerington, Ohio) became the 11th member of the 2011 recruiting class.

For the second straight Friday Notre Dame received a big verbal commitment. Last Friday it was Clay Burton, and today cornerback Eilar Hardy (6-foot-0, 170-pounds) called the Notre Dame coaching staff and told them he wanted to be a part of their football program.

"I committed to Notre Dame. I had a great time on my visit and I just feel that it is the best choice for me academically and for football. Talking to the players, the coaches and talking to all the people involved with the Notre Dame football program, they have so much to offer. It's ridiculous to even think about passing this opportunity up. Outside of football, when I get my degree from there, I'll be so successful even if I don't get to the NFL. I'll be fine just having graduated from Notre Dame. I'll be able to get a job anywhere in the country. That's one of the main things that I looked at.

"Another thing is that Notre Dame probably isn't the best fit for me (socially) right now, but it's definitely the best choice for me. Notre Dame is by far the best choice for me. I feel I have to do this for myself, my family, my brothers, my sisters, uncles, aunts, my football coaches. I think is what I think I need to do.

"Notre Dame isn't my comfort zone, but sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone to be successful. Just because you want to be somewhere that you're comfortable doesn't mean that it's the best place for you. That's how I feel about Michigan State and Notre Dame. Patrick White is one of my greatest friends and I love him to death, and I'd love to play with him at the next level, but I kind of feel that I want to do my own thing in college and not follow in his footsteps. Just because he's my friend and came from the same high school and we're both defensive backs, I think me going to Notre Dame will kind of separate that and I'll be able to go my way and I'll be able to make my own name."

First impressions are important, but in this case the second impression was what made the difference. After making his second unofficial visit to South Bend, Hardy felt he had found the right place.

"Things definitely have changed," he explained. "A week or two ago, Michigan State was probably my top school, but being up at Notre Dame, and talking to the coaches and seeing how much Notre Dame has to offer it's hard to pass up that deal. A lot of people don't get the opportunity in a lifetime. I'm truly blessed and I'm excited about what Notre Dame has to offer.

"After my first visit up there, I really didn't like it too much at all. So, my parents wanted me to check it out again. They were pretty shocked about my reaction to the (second) visit. My mom didn't go with me, it was just me and my dad, but when I got home and told my mom, how I felt about it, she was so shocked. She was proud of my decision, and she's going to support me…she was just so proud. "They want me to play corner," he said. "With their scheme, with the way they run their defense, coach Diaco was telling me that they like big, fast corners that can go up and get the ball. They said that I'm the guy that they need and they wanted me really badly. They've said that since they were recruiting me at Cincinnati and they've been telling me that since they've been at Notre Dame. I got to talk to coach Kelly and he's really fired up about me." Top Stories