(UHND.com) – Late Tuesday night, Rivals.com reported that linebacker Brian Smith out of Kansas committed to Notre Dame. Smith, who had previously been committed to Iowa, received and offer from the Irish last week and is scheduled to visit Notre Dame this weekend. Smith’s decision pushes Notre Dame back to 19 commitments after Justin Trattou’s departure last week.
Smith (6’2”, 220, 4.7), the son of former Notre Dame fullback Chris Smith, had shown a lot of early interest in the Irish, but did not receive an offer. Whether the staff felt comfortable with some of the bigger names at linebacker or whether they didn’t fell he best suited the 4-3 scheme used by former defensive coordinator Rick Minter is unknown. Whatever the case, Smith got his offer last week and his commitment is a nice boost for the defensive side of the ball in this class.
Rivals.com lists Smith as the 12th rated middle linebacker in this year’s class. Early in his recruitment he had mentioned some schools looking at him as a potential defensive end, but in a 3-4 system Smith projects as one of the inside linebackers.
Notre Dame is very lucky to be able to add someone like Smith to this class this late in the game. Not too many recruits are willing to listen to a school that slow played or didn’t offer them until late January, but Smith from the beginning of his recruitment, Smith had said Notre Dame was one of his dream schools.
After originally committing to Iowa back in August, Smith had been a pretty good recruiter for the Hawkeyes. Reports on multiple websites Tuesday afternoon speculated that Iowa pulled Smith’s scholarship when they were informed he would visit Notre Dame this weekend. These reports spread even more once word that linebacker Bruce Davis, who was previously committed to Ball State, received and accepted an offer from Iowa.
No matter how Smith ended up with Notre Dame, now that they have him, the Irish have another strong linebacker prospects. Some would argue that Smith should have been offered much sooner, especially considering his father’s ties to the university, but thankfully that is a moot point right now.
Gaining a commitment from a prospect like Smith this late in the game may teach Weis a valuable lesson in recruiting – it pays to have a backup plan. Because of Weis’s immediate success on the field and in recruiting, its easy to forget that Weis is still learning on the job when it comes to recruiting and at times it has shown.
Last year Notre Dame made plenty of offers early and as a result may have missed out on some top of the line talent late in the recruiting game. This year Weis was quite a bit more selective with the offers early on and when most of the top defensive recruits committed elsewhere, it didn’t seem like there was a viable backup in place.
It’s always great to see a kid who genuinely wants to come to Notre Dame for all the right reasons get that opportunity and Notre Dame fans should be very excited about adding Brian Smith to this year’s class.
Are You Ready for the Kicker?
Brandon Walker – a kicker out of Findlay, Ohio – visited Notre Dame this past weekend and could be making a decision as early as Wednesday. Walker committed to Louisville back in September, but with the coaching change, he opened his recruiting back up. Walker could kick and punt and would give Ryan Burkhart from last year’s class some good competition should he pick Notre Dame.