Three area players remain committed to Notre Dame
All was good with Touchdown Jesus and the ever faithful Golden Domers at the start of the new year.
Notre Dame entered 2013 with an undefeated record, the top ranking in the country, and was about to take a crack at its first Bowl Championship Series title. Talk about waking up the echoes!
But there would be no Rudy-like ending. First, there was the 42-14 shellacking at the hands of Alabama. That was followed by coach Brian Kelly's reported interview with the Philadelphia Eagles and his possible departure from South Bend. And then came the never-ending Manti Te'o scandal.
Still, three of Notre Dame's top recruits - Penn Charter's Mike McGlinchey, Roman Catholic's Will Fuller, and Absegami's Rashad Kinlaw - say they remain firm in their commitment to play for the Fighting Irish.
Kelly is happy to hear that, since National Signing Day is Wednesday. It marks the first day that a high school senior can sign a binding letter of intent to enroll and play a scholarship sport at an NCAA member school.
For this trio, the recent happenings, in particular Kelly's brief flirtation with the NFL, did not cause much consternation.
"Not really," said McGlinchey, a 6-foot-9, 275-pound offensive tackle and a four-star recruit. "I knew all along that Coach Kelly was staying. It's not something I worried about."
And what if Kelly had decided to replace Andy Reid? "It didn't cross my mind, but I don't think I would have gone anywhere else," McGlinchey said. "I chose Notre Dame for Notre Dame, not for Brian Kelly."
On Jan. 16, the same day it was announced that Chip Kelly would be the new head coach of the Eagles, Brian Kelly, joined by assistants Harry Hiestand and Chuck Martin, made the rounds to shore up things with the program's commits.
At Roman, Kelly and company met with the 6-foot, 168-pound Fuller, a high-leaping and sure-handed wideout, his mother, and Cahillites boss Joe McCourt. News of the coach's arrival quickly spread.
Kelly stayed for about an hour at South Jersey's Absegami. With Kinlaw, a 6-1, 175-pound QB who was recruited to play cornerback, he walked the halls, meeting with teachers and students.
"He was cool," Kinlaw, a four-star recruit, said of Kelly. "I was showing him around, introducing him to everybody. Our principal [Jeri-Lynn Gatto] insisted on getting a picture with him."
Later, Kelly was in Warrington having dinner with the McGlincheys.
"Obviously, it's something that makes you feel good," McGlinchey said. "It's not every day that Brian Kelly is in your living room and spending time with your family."
After first choosing Penn State, Fuller switched gears last August and gave an oral nod to Notre Dame.
"On top of the campus and football facilities, which are awesome, the education is great at Notre Dame," the Northeast Philly resident said.
One of Notre Dame's most anticipated recruiting classes includes two standout wide receivers, both sons of famous fathers. Corey Robinson is the son of David Robinson, who starred on the hardwood at Navy and in the NBA; and Torii Hunter Jr., is the son of the veteran major-league outfielder.
Could that leave Fuller, a three-star recruit, out in the cold when it comes to getting on the field?
"I don't think so," McCourt said. "Will has a high football IQ, he's impossible to jam off the line of scrimmage, and he can line up in the slot or outside."
Contact Rick O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @ozoneinq on Twitter.