Notre Dame and Brian Kelly picked up the first commitment for the recruiting class of 2012 on Wednesday and it came at a major position of need. Tee Shepard, a 4-star and top 100 caliber recruit, selected the Irish over a host of other elite programs to kick off the class of 2012 with a bang.
Shepard (6-1, 175 lbs) is considered to be one the nation’s top corner prospects and his early offer list of Alabama, Auburn, Miami, and USC back up that status. Shepard, a native of Fresno, California, also fits the profile that Brian Kelly is looking for at corner perfectly as a tall, physical, and athletic prospect.
Shepard has also already been selected to play in January’s US Army All American Bowl
Corner is a major area of need in this recruiting class. Notre Dame will lose Gary Gray and Robert Blanton at the end of the year when they exhaust their eligibility leaving the Irish with very little experienced depth. Sophomore Lo Wood figures to play a lot this year along with at least one of the incoming freshman. That lack of depth, however, should be a great selling point for Kelly and staff on the recruiting trail this year as two starting jobs will be up for grabs next spring.
Shepard will make his first visit to Notre Dame for the Blue-Gold game next month and does plan on taking his other official visits so there is some reason to be a little cautiously optimistic here. Regardless, this is a great start to the class of 2012.
After hosting a major junior recruiting weekend last week, look for the recruiting momentum to kick up a little for Notre Dame after a slow month of February.
In closing, here is some video of Sheppard.