SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Brian Kelly went through each of the 17 new Notre Dame players, one by one, listing their credentials and his expectations for them for the 2012 season and beyond.
Still, the biggest noise came from more than 1,100 miles South, the site of the biggest beneficiary from perhaps the biggest surprise on national signing day.
Four-star wide receiver Deontay Greenberry (Fresno, Calif./Washington Union) chose Houston over Notre Dame on Wednesday, more than eight months after verbally committing to the Irish.
"Again, I think we painted the picture being clear about what we were about, and we made sure this is what you're gonna get at Notre Dame," Kelly said when asked what happened with Greenberry. "And for me it's hard to be disappointed about something you never had or you never coached. I'm more excited about the guys that signed because they are the right kind of guys."
Kelly said he had some conversations with Greenberry on Tuesday night and found out from his high school coach Wednesday that Greenberry had signed with Houston.
Greenberry's cousin, Tee Shepard (Fresno, Calif./Washington Union), is a four-star cornerback who had already enrolled at Notre Dame in January. It was widely believed that the two would commit to a school as a package deal.
National signing day was supposed to be a day of few surprises for the Irish, whose class appeared set entering the date. Still, Kelly said he knows better than to be caught off-guard when dealing with high school kids in these situations.
"I don't know that anybody would think differently when 17- and 18-year-olds are making decisions for the next five years," Kelly said. "It's arguably the biggest decision they've ever made and they're putting themselves in that position for the first time, many of them. So I don't think you ever go into signing day and say, 'Ah, this thing's over with.'
"I've been doing it now 23 years, and I've had surprises every single recruiting day. And some are good, some are not so good. As it relates to this one, I'm happy about the guys that signed with us because they know why they're here, and that's really the most important thing."