A Signing Day that started with a commitment before 8:00 AM ET ended with disappointment when JuJu Smith selected USC over Notre Dame and Oregon marking the fourth straight recruit to spur the Irish on Signing Day 2014.
Things had not been looking good for Notre Dame on the Smith front for a while, but the eternal optimist Notre Dame looking at the situation with gold tinted glasses was thinking, “well, things looked lost with Manti Te’o five years ago too” and he surprised us all so maybe there is hope.
In the end though, the California native stuck with the home-state Trojans giving USC an incredibly impressive Signing Day haul and ending a disappointing day for the Irish that will overshadow what should be a celebrated class for Notre Dame.
Instead of celebrating the wins Notre Dame had along the way, most will remember Terrence Alexander picking Stanford, Courtney Garnett and Michiah Quick selecting Oklahoma, and Smith sticking with USC.
Not all was lost for Notre Dame on Signing Day though. Daniel Cage started the day off for Notre Dame by signing a letter of intent for the Irish over Michigan State giving Notre Dame a total of 23 members of the #GoldenArmy14 – 13 of which are on the defensive side of the ball where the Irish restocked the front seven.
Smith would have been an excellent addition to an Irish secondary that could have used a playmaker of Smith’s caliber. In fact, given the play of Notre Dame’s safeties in 2013, there is a good reason to believe that Smith could have challenged for a prominent role in the 2014 Irish secondary. Notre Dame has capable candidates to man the safety positions, but having Smith line up next to Max Redfield would have given Notre Dane a pair of dynamic safeties unlike they’ve had in a long, long time.
We will have much more on Notre Dame’s Class of 2014 now that it is officially in the books over the next few days before starting to dive right into the Class of 2015 as we track the #ShamrockSoldiers15 on their path to Signing Day a year from today.