Deion Walker has graduated and is now joining Hafis Williams to go play for Charlie Molnar at UMass.
Article linked, if you really care.
I would like to draw your attention now to Gerell Robinson.
Gerell wanted to sign with Notre Dame in January of 2008. When Deion Walker committed, the picture got very muddy for Gerell as far as whether he would truly get the opportunity to play WR. Gerell reluctantly chose ASU. Fast forward almost two years to December of 2009... it's clear that Walker is not making any impact, and Gerell considers transferring to Notre Dame. I did not hear anything definitive as to how and why it never happened.
Gerell Robinson goes on to 135 career receptions for 2,071 yards and 12 touchdowns, including 77 catches for 1397 yards and 7 TDs his senior year.
I point this out because I'm hoping to turn the tide and help everyone grasp the epic disadvantage we are putting ourselves in when we PITCH to 17 year old kids the 400-year commitment and the 99.99999999% graduation rate.
A. We attract the wrong kid. Gerell was never interested in ND for the degree, he wanted to play football, so he made a football decision. Walker made an academic decision, and it worked out great for both kids. Just not so good for ND football.
B. When you don't put at least a little bit of fear in people that the might get fired you get... the post office. It's human nature. Now how do you think that works with teenagers? Walker was never threatened that he might get his scholarship cut, so I doubt he ever worked as hard in the weight room or on the practice field as Gerell Robinson.
This is anecdotal evidence to be sure, and by all accounts Deion Walker has made the most of his opportunity and is a good example as such. But I believe it's time for ND fans to stop pretending that it doesn't hurt our football team. Quite frankly, I don't care about Deion Walker, and I don't much care how things work out for him at UMass, or anywhere for that matter. Do you? Really?
Assuming that under the current circumstances we cannot win a national championship, why not accept the following if it could?
1. 80% grad rate as a target - Run off 4-5 kids a year who aren't cutting it, allowing 4-5 new recruits and transfers a year.
2. A shift in the pitch from the 40-year commitment to the "it's a football decision" pitch. It was famously for Jimmy, but also for Manti and Kyle. Find the best football players you can find who are interested in the best chance to play football for a living. I believe that the next successful coach at Notre Dame will pitch that and that alone.
I'd like to see Notre Dame football return to dominance. I'd like to see people hate us for winning and not hate us for thinking that we're special. We can't keep doing the same thing we've been doing for twenty years and just expect that we can overcome the obvious because we are special.