Thursday, January 03, 2008

Man Overboard | by Jay

Noseguard recruit Omar Hunter finally, officially decommited. Here's the money quote:

"Just watching Notre Dame, their style and how they played," Hunter said as reasons for making the switch. "It doesn't really fit with the way I play. I am not really sure about the coaching staff there, I know they are good guys and I love them, but I am not comfortable with the decision I made. I am officially decommitting from Notre Dame."
This rumor's been a shark in the water for some time now. We heard from a source (in Gainesville, no less) who said he committed to the Gators about a month ago, but has been trying (unsuccessfully) to keep it on the down-low, even going so far as to-- I won't say lie, but maybe dissemble-- to Notre Dame coaches about the solidity of his commitment.

(A troubling line sticks in the craw: I am not really sure about the coaching staff there. Does he mean the coaching strategies, like say, the 3-4 defense, or something else, like the poor season these coaches just turned in?)

His coach said one thing about the reasons for switching:
"His decommitment has been a real tough thing on him. He was sold on Notre Dame and they did an awesome job of recruiting him. The thing that he told me was that he wanted to be closer to home and a place where his parents can watch him. In the end he just thought in the South was going to be a better fit for him."
But then Omar said this:
"I am definitely looking at USC, Florida, and Auburn, those schools that have kept in touch with me," Hunter said. "Those are the schools I am looking at. This dead time I have been looking around and see what I like."
Okay, you want to play close to Southern Cal is in your top three? Frankly, the listing of three finalists looks like a bit of a charade, given all we've heard about him being solidly in the Gators' camp.

Not so fast my friend
A couple of thoughts on all this. First off, any way you slice it, losing Omar definitely stinks. He was a perfect fit as a 3-4 noseguard, and by all accounts was one of the best defensive line recruits in the country this year. Among recruitnik Irish fans he was a real favorite, representing the kind of exceptional interior defensive line prospect that we seem to rarely land. If you recall, when he first committed back in June, it was a real surprise (as we remarked at the time); he was supposed to go to Michigan, but visited ND on a whim and committed almost immediately. However, the fact that Hunter was somewhat of a "bonus" recruit doesn't take the sting out of losing him. With a better season for Notre Dame, who knows what might have been. I think it's safe to say we would have had a better chance of retaining his commitment with a better season on the field, especially in the game that he attended in person, the record-breaking loss to Navy.

All is not lost. This is the second year in a row Urban took a commit from ND, and as with Justin Trattou, there are rumors afloat that Hunter was encouraged to-- I won't say lie, again, but misrepresent-- his commitment to Notre Dame. Unlike last year, however, we've still got some time to firm up the DL. We've also got two other solid noseguard commitments in the fold: Hafis Williams and Brandon Newman.

Here's what Dayne Crist said when asked about Omar down at the camp for the recruit game this Saturday:
"All 20-some-odd of us have all our numbers stored in our phones," Irish quarterback recruit Dayne Crist said. "We're always picking up the phone. Truthfully, it's a daily thing. We've got great chemistry, and I'm not surprised on how we're reacting on the field or in this event at all. I mean, I saw that coming for months.

"Everyone was saying, 'Are you surprised this class stayed together?' We're more surprised that we lost one. This is an extremely tight-knit class. You could ask any one of these guys the same question, and they'll give you the exact same answer verbatim. We don't want any loose ends in the family. That's how we feel. We are a family and we feel very strongly about that. We're now brothers. That's what we are."