As reported by ESPN on Sunday, Omar Hunter has officially decommited from Notre Dame and it appears as though the Irish are now completely out of the picture for the five star defensive tackle.
“I committed to Notre Dame four or five months ago,” Hunter said. “I went there on my visit and my intentions were to commit to Michigan. I fell in love with Notre Dame when I was there and I liked the coaching staff and facilities and that won me over.”
It was a little more than distance that weighed into his decision, but he is certain he will not be playing for Notre Dame next season.
“Just watching Notre Dame, their style and how they played,” Hunter said as reasons for making the switch. “It doesn’t really fit with the way I play. I am not really sure about the coaching staff there, I know they are good guys and I love them, but I am not comfortable with the decision I made. I am officially decommitting from Notre Dame.”
For now there are three schools in the race, two which are geographically close to Buford.
“I am definitely looking at USC, Florida, and Auburn, those schools that have kept in touch with me,” Hunter said. “Those are the schools I am looking at. This dead time I have been looking around and see what I like.”
The loss of Hunter is no doubt a huge blow to Notre Dame’s and the whole saga which has been unraveling over the last couple weeks has tested Weis’s policy of “If they’re looking, we’re looking,” that he instituted last year after the defections of Justin Trattou, Greg Little, and Chris Little all in January. According to Jeff Carroll of the South Bend Tribune, citing two different sources including Tom Lemming, Notre Dame informed Hunter that his Notre Dame offer would be off the table if he visited elsewhere.
According to an Internet report earlier this week by Rivals.com’s Mike Farrell, the Notre Dame coaching staff had informed Hunter that if he chose to take other official visits like he was talking about, then the Notre Dame offer would be withdrawn.
“That’s a fact,” competing recruiting analyst Tom Lemming confirmed Tuesday from the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. “You can print that.”
Many will debate whether or not this was the best course of action over the month and it will be very interesting to see what Weis has to say on the matter at his Signing Day press conference next month.
Regardless, the only silver lining in this mess is that it happened in the beginning of the month and not the middle to end of January as last year’s defections did. The most likely replacement for Hunter in this class seems like it may be current Michigan commit Mike Martin according to NBCSports.com.
With committed nose tackle Omar Hunter now looking at Florida and USC, one name to keep in mind for the Irish is Novi (Mich.) Catholic Central’s Michael Martin. The 6-2, 290-pound Martin committed to Michigan but could be open to switching because of the coaching changes in Ann Arbor.
Martin is a four star DT from both Rivals and Scout and ranked as the #12 DT by both. ESPN has Martin as the #9 DT in the country. Look for Martin to visit Notre Dame sometime this month and decide whether or not he is sticking with Michigan or joining the Irish.
Martin would be much, much more than just a plan B type recruit should he land at Notre Dame . Martin likely would have been very heavily pursued by the Irish staff all along had Hunter not committed to the Irish so early which in essence ended Notre Dame’s recruiting at the position. The Irish staff, however, thought they were done recruiting DT’s and didn’t pursue any others at the time.