Decommitments

Deion Colzie Decommit Massive Loss for Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Notre Dame suffered its second notable and far biggest loss for the class of 2021 on Friday when Deion Colzie announced that he was decommitting from Notre Dame and opening up his recruiting.  Colzie, one of the nation’s elite wide receiver prospects, had been committed to Notre Dame since the fall and was a huge component of what looked like it could be the best class of the Kelly era.

This is not an insignificant loss and it is very likely one that Notre Dame might not be able to completely recover from unless they are able to get Colzie to recommit to the Irish.  Colzie is a top-50 overall prospect who will flirt with 5-star status this season.  Those kinds of players don’t grow on trees – especially ones who also fit Notre Dame’s academic profile.  Incoming freshman Jordan Johnson was the first such wide receiver that Notre Dame signed since Michael Floyd.  Floyd signed with Notre Dame in 2007.

Notre Dame does have Lorenzo Styles committed as well and some services have him ranked higher than Colzie which lessens the blow a little as well.  The big loss here though is that Notre Dame needs multiple players like Syles and Colzie in the same class to close the gap with the Clemsons and Alabamas of the world.  They had that lined up for 2020 with this duo, but have lost it for now.

The only silver lining in this is that Colzie has NOT completely eliminated Notre Dame from his recruitment.  He is essentially starting his recruiting over though so Notre Dame has a major uphill battle on its hands – especially with the coronavirus pandemic having the nation on a virtual lockdown, recruiting included.

From that perspective, you have to give Colzie some credit for not doing what a lot of recruits do who are “committed” but are really still shopping around.  Out of respect for Notre Dame, Colzie let them know that he wasn’t fully committed anymore but was still considering them.  It’s hard to fault a kid for doing that though I’m sure he received some Twitter mentions from Notre Dame “fans” that will make us all cringe.

There is some precedent for Notre Dame landing an elite recruit from the South only to loss them before ultimately signing them.  Aaron Lynch and Stephon Tuitt both come to mind immediately although one of those ultimately ended up much better for Notre Dame than the other.  Both committed to Notre Dame, decommitted, and then ended up signing with Notre Dame all in the same recruiting cycle.  Lynch, however, transferred out after a year while Tuitt became a vital cog in Notre Dame’s run to the BCS Championship game in 2012.

There is a long way to go between now and the early signing period and how and when recruiting starts back up given the state we are living in right now is anyone’s guess, but Notre Dame can’t feel good about the offensive class they were building that had Colzie as one of the foundational pieces.  Notre Dame still has an elite quarterback in Tyler Buchner on board and that should help them still lure in talented offensive skill players, but it will be very tough for them to replace Colzie, if they can’t get him back in fold, with a comparable or better prospect.

Cade McNamara Talks Notre Dame Decommitment

When news broke on Friday that Cade McNamara, the first commitment for the class of 2019, was decommitting from Notre Dame it came as a surprise since just last week he had reaffirmed his commitment and was reported to be planning another visit to Notre Dame in the spring.  Over the weekend, McNamara gave more details on why he decommitted though and it sounds like the Irish are completely out of the running at this point.

Here’s what McNamara told local NBC affiliate KRNV:

“Over the course over the past couple of months some things have been said, some things haven’t been done. Notre Dame just isn’t the best fit for me.” He also added, “I believe they (ND) might still try to recruit me. As of right now, I cannot see myself playing for Notre Dame just because I feel it’s not the best fit for me. That’s where I stand right now.”

That is quite a bit different than what he told the same news outlet less than a week ago.  It also seems to insinuate that Notre Dame was not completely honest with him since his commitment.  That is also a stark contrast to his statement on Friday when he said “I have a huge amount of respect for their program and wish them all the best.”

But such is life in recruiting.

McNamara also told KRNV that he is looking for the most competitive situation possible so that even if he doesn’t start in college he has a chance to make it to the NFL.  Those comments are likely aimed at attempting to squash the notion that he did like how the Notre Dame depth chart developed with Phil Jurkovec’s monster senior season adding to Notre Dame’s QB depth.

McNamara has also said that the influx of new offers did not alter his decision to decommit from Notre Dame.   The optics there are hard to ignore though.  McNamara was not shy about talking about the new offers he received from USC, Michigan, Alabama, and Georgia.  Compare that with how Phil Jurkovec handled the offers he received post Notre Dame commitment and the writing was on the wall here.

Whatever the real reason behind the decommitment, Notre Dame is left without a quarterback in the class of 2019 after essentially shutting down their recruiting efforts at QB last July following McNamara’s original commitment.  With a depth chart featuring four quarterbacks who have a combined 13 years of eligibility remaining – Brandon Wimbush (2), Ian Book (3), Avery Davis (4), Phil Jurkovec (4) -though, Notre Dame doesn’t need to be in scramble mode here and can remain selective.

One thing to keep in mind here as well is that even though this appears to be a bit of a messy breakup, there is precedent for Notre Dame to get back in the mix.  Just last year Notre Dame secured a spring commitment from Braden Lenzy only to lose him to Oregon in the summer followed by quotes from Lenzy in the fall saying he was lied to by the Notre Dame coaching staff.  As we all know Lenzy eventually decommitted from Oregon after the season and is set to enroll at Notre Dame this summer with a chance to see the field early.

Lenzy was quick to tweet the now former Notre Dame commitment on Friday following the news.

Things can change in a hurry in recruiting so while the door with McNamara appears near shut right now, no door is ever completely closed until a letter of intent is signed.

Report: Cade McNamara Decommits from Notre Dame

Notre Dame’s class of 2019 has reportedly sprung its first leak.  Four star quarterback Cade McNamara has reportedly decommitted from Notre Dame according to 247Sports.  McNamara originally committed to Notre Dame last July and was the first commitment for the class of 2019.

McNamara had recently started to pile up offers from the nation’s elite programs.  Alabama, USC, Michigan, and Georgia had all recently offered the California native.  As those offers started coming in, you could feel a bit of a sense of unease among Notre Dame fans, but there were no indications that the offers were going to result in a decommitment at this time.

Despite the offers, McNamara had reaffirmed his commitment earlier this week in an interview with NBC affiliate KRNV.  “It’s still very solid,” McNamara said of his commitment to Notre Dame.  “I still listen to the other colleges coming in, but right now, Notre Dame is the place for me.”

If 247Sports’ report is accurate, apparently that is no longer the case. At the time of this posting, the following tweet is still pinned at the top of McNamara’s Twitter profile.

It is also unclear at this time if Notre Dame is out of the mix all together or if the influx of offers has just compelled McNamara to reopen his recruiting and rather than say he is “committed” but still looking at other schools like some recruits do, he is opening it back up.

In terms of how this impacts the class of 2019, it shouldn’t be a monumental loss even though McNamara’s offer list has become quite impressive.  After landing All-American Phil Jurkovec in the last recruiting cycle and having Ian Book (three years left) and Avery Davis (4 years left) already on campus in addition to Brandon Wimbush (2 years of eligibility), Notre Dame has plenty of depth and talent at the position.

What makes this decommitment pretty interesting, however, is that 1) McNamara knew all of this when he committed so the depth in front of him likely wasn’t a factor and 2) this is now the second year in a row in which Notre Dame’s first commitment of the year has decommited.  Markese Stepp holds that distinction from the class of 2018.  It wouldn’t be surprising at all, if McNamara ends up joining Stepp at USC considering he also told KRNV that he grew up rooting for USC.

Notre Dame’s class of 2019 is still off to a very strong start – especially along the defensive line – but this is obviously not the best news to hear at the start of a crucial junior day this weekend.