Notre Dame Recruiting Impact: Decommitment of Markese Stepp

After getting some potentially great news earlier this weekend when Houston Griffith decommitted from Florida State shortly after an in-home visit from Notre Dame DB coach Todd Lyght, the Irish got some bad news on Saturday.  Markese Stepp, the first commitment in the class of 2018 and one of the most prolific recruit recruiters Notre Dame has had, has decided to decommit from Notre Dame and reconsider his options.

Stepp announced his decision over Twitter on Saturday night.

Given Stepp’s recruiting efforts over the last 18 months, the news probably came as a shock to most Notre Dame fans.  Tom Loy of 24Sports then tweeted the following which also probably came as a surprise to most Notre Dame fans.

We had heard some rumblings about Stepp’s commitment back in the summer, but given how much Stepp was still recruiting for Notre Dame, it seemed very out of left field and surprising. We won’t add to any speculation here, but given Loy’s tweet it doesn’t sound like this news was all that surprising to the Notre Dame coaching staff given it was a mutual decision.  Another tweet from Irish Sports Daily’s Matt Freeman with quotes from Stepp reflect the feelings of a kid who is pretty broken up about the development.

Again, adding all of that up and reading between all of the tea leaves doesn’t seen too difficult, but let’s leave any of that speculation.  Still, it leaves Notre Dame at 18 commitments just two months out from National Signing Day.

The good news here is that Notre Dame should still be pretty set at the running back position in the fall regardless of what Josh Adams ends up deciding with regards to the NFL.  Even if Adams were to leave early, Notre Dame will have five scholarship running backs on the roster next fall.

  • Dexter Williams – Will be a senior and maybe, just maybe the Notre Dame staff will finally decide to use him prominently next fall after using him sparingly despite dynamic results whenever he’s touched the ball.
  • Tony Jones Jr – Will be a junior after his sophomore season didn’t really live up to the pre-season hype due to numerous nagging injuries.  When healthy, Jones is an every down back type of player.
  • Deon McIntosh – After being over shadowed coming into the season, the sophomore had played better than anyone could have expected.  His opportunities dwindled as Notre Dame’s November crash unfolded, but he showed many times this year he can make plays.
  • CJ Holmes – Ended up burning a redshirt for some meaningless snaps midway through the season, but will still only be a sophomore next year.  Holmes is a very exciting young runner for the Irish.
  • Jahmir Smith – With the loss of Stepp, Smith is the only other running back in the class of 2018 for Notre Dame.

Now, add in Josh Adams into that group – I know, I know probably a pipe dream – and the running back stable still looks pretty well stocked for 2018.  So stocked in fact, that it will be interesting to see if Notre Dame really pushes for another running back in the class or if they will use the scholarship elsewhere such as either of the lines.

Notre Dame could still use another offensive lineman, two more corners, another defensive end, and another linebacker.  Notre Dame looks like they very well could land a second tight end in Tommy Tremble as well.  Finishing the class out strong in those areas would be more beneficial long term than trying to recruit a number of backs cold at this point.

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  1. The news just got even better gang ?? Hot off the press!!! I just read that Braden Lenzy is doing an official visit to South Bend this very weekend. ?? I was shocked that it is all happening so quickly! Speaking of quickly, just wait until you see this kid’s speed. He is just what the doctor ordered for our team!!!! Let’s roll out the red carpet for this kid this weekend. Go Irish!!!!

  2. I just read that Braden Lenzy is no longer committed to Oregon. He is back looking at ND. This kid is a speed demon like Will Fuller!!!! I think we can get him (Let’s all cross our fingers). I am giddy with excitement on this one my friends 🙂 🙂 🙂 Go Irish!!!!!!

  3. I would never blame anything on you. At least you’ve cleaned up your language. Glad to see you’re not relying on your old standby ” kelly” crutch. Keep up the good work.

  4. Although I wholeheartedly disagree with most of Davids positions, that’s what makes UHND a legitimate site to air it all out. I wish He would get rid of His “kelly” crutch. Very weak arguement.

  5. They will be rejoicing on Baker St. when Baker takes home the Heisman. Temple vs. Navy, I’m sure you are right. Who would ever have picked Temple. Sorry to announce next years date in LA, it will be reverse score. Caveat, only if Darnold returns, and I’ll be gosh darned if The ” private one” doesn’t end up running the ball out west. Earthquakes do strike twice.

  6. Southside, it gets worse than that, Duranko ” Wishing for a Samoan Christmas ” dreaming of Solomon Tuliaupupu joining the ranks. Lightning doesn’t strike twice. ( Te’o)

  7. Markese Stepp went from ND peer recruiter to “I’m outta here”.

    I can see how he didn’t figure Kelly out until the end of the season….he’s just a high school kid. The world only began a couple years ago for him.

    But the rest of you?!

    1. David, you seem to struggle with this.

      Brian Kelly is the coach of the team I root for, come hell or high water. This year was not my first rodeo.

      Brian Kelly brought me and my family nine wins, including a squeaker over SC, and comfortable wins over NC State, Michigan State and Boston College.

      What do you bring, David? The grating annoyance of a high colonic.

      The day I ever, EVER think of apologizing to you will be shortly after little animals with weird snout noses and pointed ears fly past your window.

      I root for the Notre Dame players. I root for the coach and his staff.

      You can choose not to.

      And whatever ails you in the workplace, or frustration with family and children, will not be cured with your incessant one note wail on this board.

      Rooting for Notre Dame is a voluntary activity. I choose to do it.

      What you choose to do, and I’m no psychoanalyst, may well be a voluntary activity, or not………………..

      are you peaceful or content about anything, any one single thing, in your life?

      1. My question is have we gotten to the point that ND is content with 10-4, 9-3 seasons now? I’ve said before, after 8 years BK is probably an above average coach. He’ll get you to bowl games most years, and maybe every few years a NY Day 6 bowl. But I no longer believe he’s capable of being an elite coach. Not every coach can be. Is ND happy with that? Have they decided we just can’t make it at the next level, a NC level team?

        That is my fear. That the real powers that be at ND are ok with just being at best above average. That deep down they feel we just can’t compete with the Alabamas of the world.

        I’m a fan, I’m proud of what ND stands for and actually believe they are capable of being elite with the right coach. I don’t have any personal animus for BK, for me I just believe he’s reached his potential, that this is probably the best we can hope for out of him.

        I’ll root for ND for every game, but I will be a Doubting Thomas next year. I won’t be drinking the Kool-Aid if they start 8-1q or even 8-0 again. If they go 11-1, or 12-0, then I might re-evaluate at that point, but no more buying in until the season is over.

      2. Here’s what you “struggle” with: the idea that other people are entitled to have their own opinion.
        Get over yourself.

  8. Recruiting update: Coveted wide out Amon- Ra St. Brown seen with cross town rival of UCLA receiving gloves in last Saturday’s championship game. Another that slipped away. Guaranteed He will be burning the Irish for years to come.

    1. Outstanding work, Inspector Clouseau.

      After your Pink Panther sleuthing of your “prediction” or “guarantee” about the Navy-Temple game, a prediction which, mysteriously, you did not repost, you promised 90 degree gametime temperature for ND-Stanford. Then you had a severe triple braincramp as you blanked on the ND Cotton Bowls.

      Ever since Daniels committed to USC, Amon-Ra has been crystal balled by those with sense (a grouping you find both alien and terrifying!) to USC.

      And, given your other gaps, you may have missed this small fact:

      2017 result Notre Dame 49-SC 14

      Most experts (again, this is a group that speaks of version of truth that is mystical to you) believe that the game was not so close as the final score indicated.

      Is it shame or sloth that prevents you from reposting your prediction on Navy-Temple?

      1. Again..a win is the only reality that matters. That’s some serious football knowledge on display there.

        A completely unpredictable team, often lacking in basic skill and technique, sometimes even basic gameday effort, managed to not give back one game that USC handed to them.
        Excellence my @ss.

  9. This staff, aided and abetted by Bill Rees (I surmise that it was he who shepherded identifying Langham, the big DE from Alabama) is ferocious in their intensity. They are relentless, in every good sense of the word.

    Southside below talked about his predilection for defense, a bias I share.

    We have a nice group coming in already, but were the staff to add Griffith, Kyler Gordon, Solomon Tuliaupupu and Langham (doubtful now that Bama has been jolted out of its torpor -by ND?????) it would be the best defensive recruiting class of this millennium.

    Sure the Big Three of Tuitt, Williams and Lynch in 2011 was stellar, but that class lacked the overall fit and depth of this potential ’18 class.

    But Southside may find that his defensive dreams are on the way.

    It will take until 2019 for this defense to have the correct personnel, fit and depth at all positions, but the destination seems clearer and more vivid each passing month.

    On Mr. Markese Stepp, I wish him well, and incorporate, in their entirety, the comments of poster Keith earlier in this thread.

    1. Duranko , lot’s of potentials –yet don’t see D- line potentials in 2018 class. I’m concerned about war in the trenches now–not some dream of potential in 2019. You say we have a nice group coming in — but I want a nasty group–guys that eat BBQ wild boar at the training table like they do down south. Oh yeah , wild boar run in packs down in southern states. Positive Pete wants Yoga/Meditation lnto the culture of ND program —next thing ya know tail gating will be turned into wine tasting events with crackers & cheese. Hey , just having some fun here ranting — nothi’n else going on till the real deal –opening day versus Michigan Sept. 2018.

      1. Tell ya what though–I”ll be rooting for Irish as always. I see a similar start to 2018 –as like 2017. Irish could be 4-1 , 5-0 by the time of Stanford game in October in South Bend. Go Irish.

      2. Southside, while I may have drunk the Kool-Aid, I am impressed by Jamion Franklin and both of the Ademiloloas.
        For whatever worth frame of references are, I am more excited by the bigger Ademilola and Franklin than I was by Ewell, Hinish and Myron Tagavailoa a year ago. And from the look of things, while the Ademilolas and Franklin might participate in yoga, I don’t see them as quinoa and tofu eaters. Perhaps your view of Jamion and the Ademilolas differs. And, reading Coach Kelly’s T-leaves, he thought that Ewell could be a force in 2018.

        I mentioned 2019 because it takes a full year, and Simon, The LBS, the DLS, the CBS and the safeties will have had a year in the system by 2019.

        We have a solid cadre at DE with 2 Hayes, Okwara, Kareem and a chomping at the bit Ogundeji.

        There is a large Louisiana fly in the Michigan ointment. This Shea Patterson, a potential transfer from Ole Miss, is no gimmee. He can really spin it. And with Ole Miss’ probation, he may be immediately eligible. It is yet premature, but he could be the Jarrett Stidham of 2018. There’s one big difference. Stidham sat out 2016 and was rusty in
        Patterson played a lot and well this year.

        Let’s keep the dialogue going, Southside, and let’s keep talking football.

        Go Irish!

      3. It’s interesting that Michigan is in our time slot (I think) for the Citrus Bowl. To me, the ratings result in that time slot will be interesting.

        BGC ’77 ’82

      1. Well, Wisconsin, Michigan, the Academies, and a half dozen other strong programs seem to get them. Maybe they all quit HS and earned GED’s…that must be why there are none to recruit in HS, right? The real problem is that the “fullback” is perceived to be a threat to “the spread”…but who cares when we have a 45% completion rate? Hell, if you are only completing 45% of your passes, do you really even need to send 4 or 5 guys out on every down?

        BGC ’77 ’82

  10. ND in the Citrus Bowl against LSU. I say ND versus LSPoo 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 ND wins big!!!! As my Pappy would say ” Look out for number one but don’t step in number two!” Go IRISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Oh my goodness, I forgot the Positive Pete Fan of the Week!!!! Sorry brothers! it is none other than Southside!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He just took it to another notch this week>. thank you Southside 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. Great point Damian!!! These high school ratings me nothing to me 🙁 🙁 🙁 As Kelly has said for years, it has to be the right kind of guys (RKG’s). What makes Josh special is he is the hardest working guy on the team and his heart!!! Positive Pete’s Fun Fact of the Week is that two of the three Heisman Finalist were 3 star recruits. Only Bryce Love was a four star recruit 😉 😉 😉 Both Jackson and Mayfield were three star recruits :O :O :O How did that work out? You Betcha it worked our great for those teams and it will work out well for ND!!! Jahmir Smith will have the better career. A superstar in the making 🙂 🙂 As Paula Abdul said, Markese Stepp made one STEPP forward but two STEPPS back!!!! Indeed!!!! Go Irish!!!!!!

      1. A big whoopski on my part!!! I meant Jamie not Damian. Though Mr Damian has made some great comments 🙂 🙂 🙂

    2. Very good point Jamie. Now if we just get more three stars to produce like Josh the Irish could make that next move up the ladder.

  11. Hurls, welcome back. You’re telling me the staff didn’t know about this kids academic past? All the build up for naught. Something rotten in Denmark.

  12. Well, it looks like ND managed to get into a NY Day 6 bowl after all, probably thanks to a number of “upsets” this past weekend. We’ll see what they can do against LSU in the Citrus Bowl come NY Day. I guess they’ll have a chance to win a NY Day 6 bowl after all. LSU should be a favorable matchup for ND if they can get it together by then. I’m not saying it will be an easy game by any stretch, but if ND can get back it’s mojo it is a winnable game for them (as opposed to facing an Alabama or Clemson type team).

    1. Citrus is not one of the New Year 6…but it is the next best thing and this year it is on New Year’s Day. It looks like a good matchup to me. We could still have 10 wins this season, and against some ranked teams. We blew a couple of opportunities in November, but we still have a nice time slot on New Year’s Day to finish the turnaround job right.

      BGC ’77 ’82

  13. Sorry to see a good recruit decommit from Notre Dame. It’s not the first time a recruit changed his mind. Sometimes the Irish benefit from recruits coming to Notre Dame after decomitting from other schools. It goes both ways. The recruiting so far for 2018 is going well in the secondary positions–of CB’s and Safety’s. Always need a stockpile of these guys for a strong D. What I notice on 2018 commits is lack of D-linemen and coupled that is lack of headliners from 2017 class. Amosa and Hinish got playing time–and prospect Ewell did not play because of injury. Who else is part of that class following a 4-8 season ? Irish are loaded though with 2016 talent following the 2015 10-3 finish. In the secondary and D-line — these guys got an abundance of playing time as sophs and will be returning. We all know who they are. Let’s hope Tillery comes back too.

    1. My emphasis is on the defense more so than offense. It’s the unit that eventually will get team to compete for playoffs or at least knocking on the door on a consitant basis. Once that is on going — better D recruits will come—like the Clemsons, Georgia , Alabama teams and others. It’s been a disappointing finish in 2017 — and followed by a 4-8 season — one has to wonder how this affected the 2018 class of recruits. I hope not and hopefully a minor bowl game win will help before signing day in February.

  14. To bad we don’t take juco transfers. A variance comes to mind once in a while, “Moriarity” . Academics not involved.

      1. While I didn’t imply that it “makes it all better” surely you can appreciate there are 3 things you need to have to be able to go to Notre Dame – academics, character, and be able to play. If any of those are missing you’re not getting a scholarship. There’s a Charlie Weis interview with Colin Cowherd on youtube that you should watch. Likely what happened was this kid was on the bubble and with an outstanding academic year would have got in – obviously that wasn’t going to happen. This is all speculation but you see it quite a bit.

      2. I need to watch a Charlie Weis interview with Colin Cowerd?? HAHAHA! I’m already well aware of the situation and realize that there is no emphasis on winning football games at this university. Now go away.

      3. Lol based on all your exhilarating responses over the article I’m going to assume you’re a very butt hurt key board coward. So maybe you should find somewhere else to post your negativity.

      4. I’m beginning to see why Kendall makes such an effort to justify and tolerate losing. Sure, we lose by games by 3 and 5 TD’s, but look at that “character!” Hey, whatever helps you sleep at night, pal.
        Overall nice try with your response though. Keep it up. You’ll get there someday.

      5. we never once talked about winning or losing – in fact our little blurb here has nothing to do with W/L’s you’ve just gone on some sort of hate rant on the 8th ranked recruiting class. I mean if you disagree with the way Notre Dame separates itself from other D1 schools you’ll really have to find a new team there Jimmy.

      6. Sorry bud, I just don’t subscribe to Charlie Weis, and I am all out of excuses for this team. But you just keep clinging onto whatever makes you feel good. Can’t tackle because the players excel in the classroom. Can’t throw the ball because the QB is of high character. It’s just asinine.
        You haven’t really made a point anyway. I guess you just think it’s a good thing that Notre Dame pulled this player’s scholarship. He apparently wasnt worhty. Good for you.

  15. Touched some nerves. ” His decision” Well, that’s why our program is bust. Kids from The SEC powers are thrilled to be SELECTED to play. Ain’t their decision.

    1. The article strongly implies that ND reneged on the player/offer (basically pulled the scholarship) and not the other way around. Either way, this is just par for the course. Nothing to get worked up about. I promise you he won’t be the last to decomit.

    2. Players decommit from SEC schools all the time. According to 247Sports, Alabama had several decommits last year, and they just had a lineman change his mind a few weeks ago.

      And Notre Dame shouldn’t want players who are happy to “be selected.” They should want players who make their own decisions and pick the place that fits them and their goals best. We want leaders and achievers who take control of their futures.

  16. Let’s all take a step back, shut our mouths, and have some respect for whatever caused this decision. It was obviously a painful and difficult one.
    Markise was an active recruiter and promoter of ND. As for me, I won’t be a part of any second-guessing and back-biting commentary and give this kid and his family the benefit of the doubt.
    Here’s hoping he and his family find peace during this Advent season, and beyond.

    1. I agree, Michael. People on these boards gotta just shut-up and move-on. One person does not a team make. ND’s had too many “can’t miss” recruits who have not produced for us. If Markise is not “all-in” then ket him go. Appreciate what he’s done for us (recruiting) and move-on.

  17. Not for nothing, and I apologize for posting something irrelevant to the main article.

    Happy Advent

    It is a potent season, and for this moment in time, I will divert my gaze from Christ and think about the others in the dramatis personae:

    Mary, young, innocent, confused, betrothed, a teenager in every measure

    Joseph, older, but an apparent cuckold, until he breaks the code

    Elizabeth, wise, older yet, aware of her little cousin and the blessed fruit of her womb

    John, still a newborn, later to be a Baptist, an Essene, an Immerser, who glimpsed the savior when leaping in Elizabeth’s womb

    Shepherds, duh! herding sheep, “tabula rasa” (clean slate) on which would be etched a birth narrative like no other.

    Innkeepers in Bethlehem yearning for the census, when at last they could put up the Aramaic version of a “No Occupancy” sign

    Thinkers in the East, contemplating ancient teachings, writings and traditions yet filled with a yearning, an arrow of longing for another shore, like true “Wise men” , lifting their eyes to the heavens

    waiting for a sign-or something.

    Each, like US, waiting. “The most important thing about each of us is that we are waiting.” W. H. Auden

    Each, like US, full of doubt and imperfection.

    Our doubt, our spiritual incompetence and bungling, our imperfections are not disqualifications from serving; on the contrary, it is those gaps,which when filled, qualify us for the

    Divine, Sacred Drama.

    Advent! Enjoy the Potent Season!

  18. One of the reasons I don’t pay a lot of attention to recruiting until signing day these days. I think ND is fine at depths at RB so this isn’t devastating news.

    The problem I have with ND under BK these days isn’t really their ability to recruit. We compete well enough for recruits. The problem is development. A lot of times they start off well, show a lot of promise, then the wheels come off come November. It seems under BK the players get worse as they get more experience within the season.

  19. “”Second coming” Musta thought he and his buddies were gonna take over incoming. Sorry, gotta wait in line like all the rest. It’s a union Shop.

  20. This might work out well for both parties. He’ll find a friendlier depth chart elsewhere and we can use the scholarship at a position where we are in greater need (as Frank mentioned).

    We’re bringing back a lot of people next year, so Kelly and Co have time to develop this year’s recruits before they’re thrown in the fire.

  21. Glad to see primas, head cases decommitt, they are a distraction to the program anyway, everythings about ” my decision” . Take it elsewhere.

    1. Greg,

      Stepp is a good kid, a class act, and it IS his decision. I’ve seen him in person and he carries himself well. He’s a young man facing down a 40 year decision and taking it seriously–not a head case or a “prima.”

    2. Wow, from what I’ve read this kid doesn’t seem like a prima or head case. He probably said it was his decision to save face. Give a 17 yo some space. It wasn’t like he decomitted on signing day.

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