Friday, February 3, 2012
Defections the story for ND's class
By Matt Fortuna
Gunner Kiel landed at Notre Dame after pledging to LSU and Indiana and now Deontay Greenberry is Houston-bound, after initially pledging to the Irish. The reverberations from both flips will likely be felt more in the years to come than the immediate future, but that didn't stop pettiness from reigning supreme Wednesday.
The video has gone viral, LSU coach Les Miles questioning the heart of Kiel at the Tiger Gridiron Club's annual national signing day "Bayou Bash" in Baton Rouge, La.
"There was a gentleman from Indiana that thought about coming to the Bayou state," Miles said. "He did not necessarily have the chest and the ability to lead a program, so you know."
And here Notre Dame fans were thinking they landed the upset of the 2012 recruiting class.
Adding to the sting of Miles' comments was the fact the coach said it to an audience, one that responded with a roar of approval to the millionaire coach's shot at a high-school kid for changing his mind.
No wonder fans spew so much vitriol to prospects who don't sign with their favorite schools.
If Kiel did not have the chest and the ability to lead a program, Miles sure did a lousy job of recognizing that, too. The performance of his quarterbacks suggest as much, as do his comments the day Kiel enrolled at Notre Dame, which offered a much more reasoned take on the Indiana native's decision to stay in Indiana.
"There's a point in time where young people make a variety of decisions, and for a variety of reasons," Miles said at the time. "The only thing I can tell you is there is a guy in the Midwest who felt staying close to home was the right thing."
Fortunately for the Irish, Miles' foolishness has in some ways overshadowed the lack of momentum Notre Dame had in this class, the Irish losing three commitments in the last month, Greenberry's defection to Houston coming at the very last minute.
But for now, they can take solace in the fact that much of that was salvaged by the last-minute landing of Kiel, chest and ability issues aside.
Greenberry's 11th-hour switch from the Irish to Houston may have been the biggest shocker on national signing day, but Kiel's 11th-hour de-commitment from the Tigers and ensuing early enrollment at Notre Dame served among the biggest shockers of this recruiting season.
Just look at others' reactions.