Notre Dame suffered it’s first decommitment of the year on Thursday when Matt Dickerson abruptly decommitted from Notre Dame and switched his pledge to UCLA. Dickerson was one of just two defensive tackle recruits in Notre Dame’s current recruiting class.
In what is becoming an unfortunate yearly tradition for Notre Dame, the Irish have lost another key member of its recruiting class in the final month of recruiting. Last year Notre Dame lost Alex Anzalone at inside linebacker creating an even bigger need for the position this year. Two years ago it was Ronald Darby who decommitted from Notre Dame in favor of Florida State creating a hole at corner that was only compounded when Tee Shepard left Notre Dame before ever taking part in a single spring practice.
If there was one position Notre Dame could afford to lose a player the least in this class, it was defensive tackle. With a lack of bodies along the line – specifically at tackle – Notre Dame needed both of the defensive tackles it had in this year’s class badly. Notre Dame still has a commitment from 4-star prospect Jay Hayes, but the loss of Dickerson is going to sting. Dickerson was a very under rated recruit in this year’s class with a lot of upside.
Notre Dame is no stranger to losing defensive line commitments down the home stretch of recruiting. Over the last few years Notre Dame has lost the likes of Justin Trattou, Omar Hunter, and Chris Martin just to name a few. Last year Notre Dame pulled a recruiting coup on Signing Day by securing a signed letter of intent from the nation’s #1 ranked DT Eddie Vanderdoes, but Vanderdoes never enrolled at Notre Dame and will be playing his college football along with Dickerson at UCLA.
Dickerson originally committed to Notre Dame in August after unofficially visiting. He did not play a single down as a senior though due to injuries. Dickerson reportedly decided to switch his commitment due to a tough personal matter that caused he and his family to consider him attending school closer to home.
Update: MaxPreps reported tonight that Dickerson’s decision to commit from Notre Dame came after his father was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer prompting him to want to remain closer to home.
Look for Notre Dame to spend most of January turning over every rock looking for another defensive tackle in this class. Notre Dame could also put on the full court press for Thomas Holley. The New York native is friends with Jay Hayes, but is currently committed to Penn State. The coaching change in Happy Valley though could get Holley to open his recruiting back up if defensive line coach Larry Johnson, Sr. is not retained by newly named head coach James Franklin according to reports.
With the loss of Dickerson and George Atkinson heading to the NFL in favor of a senior season, Notre Dame suddenly finds itself with more scholarships than it thought it would have for this year’s class just a few weeks back.