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Last updated: Tue. Jan. 28, 2014 - 03:27 am EDT

Notre Dame on recruiting roller coaster over last few weeks

Prospects shuffling around as National Signing Day approaches

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For more Notre Dame recruiting coverage, follow Justin Kenny on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/jkenny_ns

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The only constant in college football recruiting is the unpredictability of teenagers deciding which school they will attend.

Notre Dame has found that out firsthand over the last few weeks.

With national signing day looming Feb. 5, the Fighting Irish are dealing with a few decommitments and scrambling to find talent to replace them.

The drama began Jan. 9 when four-star defensive line recruit Matt Dickerson flipped his commitment from Notre Dame to UCLA because of a family illness.

It is the second time in as many cycles that a top-flight defensive lineman has switched from the Fighting Irish to the Bruins after five-star prospect Eddie Vanderdoes backed out of his signed national letter of intent early last year.

The Notre Dame coaching staff expanded its search for an interior defensive lineman, with the only other commit at that position being four-star Jay Hayes out of Brooklyn.

The persistence paid off for the Fighting Irish last Friday as 6-foot-5, 305-pound space-eating defensive tackle Pete Mokwuah flipped his commitment from Rutgers to Notre Dame. The three-star line anchor from Staten Island also had offers from UConn and Pittsburgh and is ranked the No. 6 player in the state of New York.

Unfortunately, that same day coach Brian Kelly's program lost three-star linebacker commit Richard Yeargin III out of Florida. He fit into Notre Dame's 3-4 hybrid defense perfectly and was expected to compete for immediate playing time.

Yeargin III is still on the open market, but all indications are he will end up at Clemson.

Then inside linebacker commit Kolin Hill out of Texas picked up a scholarship offer from the Longhorns over the weekend and may visit Austin before national signing day. Hill is a three-star prospect and the No. 21 inside linebacker in the country according to Rivals.com, a national Internet recruiting service.

The drama will likely continue right up to signing day, as programs throughout the country make one final push for committed and uncommitted prospects alike.

Despite the latest setbacks, Notre Dame still has 22 verbal commitments, good for No. 9 in the Rivals.com Team Rankings. That group includes one five-star verbal and 10 four-star commitments.

The top three classes as of Monday were Alabama, Ohio State and Texas A&M.

jkenny@news-sentinel.com


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