NCF On The Trail: Matt Dickerson

Notre Dame had long been searching to add another defensive tackle in the 2014 class. With the Irish losing four-star tackle Matt Dickerson (San Mateo, Calif./Junipero Serra) to UCLA in January, adding another lineman to the class became a priority.

After targeting a few prospects -- including Matt Elam (Elizabethtown, Ky./John Hardin) and Daniel Cage (Cincinnati/Winton Woods) -- the Irish got their man on Friday when tackle Peter Mokwuah (Staten Island, N.Y./St. Joseph-By-The-Sea) flipped his commitment from Rutgers to Notre Dame.

The three-star lineman gives the Irish seven defensive linemen in this class.

That number might seem high, but Notre Dame only ended up with one defensive lineman in the 2013 class after ESPN 300 prospect Eddie Vanderdoes transferred to UCLA.

While coach Brian Kelly and his staff gained a commitment from Mokwuah, they also lost a commitment on Friday from linebacker Richard Yeargin III (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./University School). There are still four linebackers committed in this class, but losing a four-star commit this late in the game is never a good thing.

A big reason for the high numbers is that Notre Dame loses some big names from the roster, including Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt. With a new defensive coordinator on board as well, the Irish have some retooling to do heading into next season.

Defense was a main focus for this class as the Irish have 12 of the 22 commitments on the defensive side. Notre Dame now has the No. 11-ranked class with 10 ESPN 300 commits.

Shifting power: Los Angeles 

January, 23, 2014
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It's tough to imagine one college football player changing the fortunes of his program and its closest rival over the course of more than a decade.

But that might just be the case with Reggie Bush, whose on-field actions helped USC become the dominant recruiting force in Southern California between 2006 and 2012, and whose off-field actions largely led to the NCAA taking 30 scholarships away from USC for the 2012-2014 seasons and creating a hole in the Southern California recruiting scene large enough for UCLA to climb through.

When the heavy sanctions were brought down upon USC in the summer of 2010, it was thought to be a now-or-never situation for UCLA. The Trojans were 10-1 in the previous 11 games against the Bruins and had the virtual first pick of just about any recruit in the region.

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Pac-12 class rankings analysis 

January, 15, 2014
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video Not only are there six Pac-12 programs in the updated class rankings, all six are among the top 30 in the country. Arizona State still has the conference's top class at No. 16 overall, while Arizona checks in at No. 20. Oregon and USC are back-to-back at Nos. 23 and 24, after the Ducks rose two places and the Trojans three. UCLA is a close No. 5 in the conference at No. 26 overall. The Bruins were the biggest risers among all schools this week, jumping seven places to overtake Stanford, which checks in at No. 6 in the Pac-12 and No. 29 overall.

Trending up: UCLA


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Dickerson stays close to home 

January, 9, 2014
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Defensive tackle Matt Dickerson (San Mateo, Calif./Junipero Serra) made a difficult call when he committed to Notre Dame in early August, selecting it over a long list of programs that extended offers. He made an even more difficult one on Thursday, as the four-star defender pulled back from his pledge to the Fighting Irish and instead committed to UCLA.

Usually in the case of a decommitment, either one school has dropped the ball in recruiting the committed player or another has done such a good job in recruiting him that he can no longer say no. But Dickerson's situation was different.

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ESPN 300 TE Luatua picks Notre Dame

December, 16, 2013
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With four tight ends making significant contributions to NFL rosters, Notre Dame is doing everything it can to chase down Stanford as the present day Tight End U.

The Fighting Irish took another step toward that goal on Monday, grabbing a commitment from ESPN 300 tight end Tyler Luatua (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada).

[+] EnlargeTyler Luatua
Tom Hauck for Student SportsTyler Luatua, the No. 1 tight end in the ESPN 300, is a big commitment for Notre Dame.
Luatua, the nation's No. 76 overall prospect and No. 1 recruit at his position, whittled his choices down to Alabama and Notre Dame, before announcing for the Fighting Irish on Twitter on Monday morning.

Early on in his recruitment, Luatua was split between Alabama -- the school where his older brother, Isaac, attends and plays football -- and USC -- the hometown favorite. But even before the Trojans faded in their recruitment of Luatua, Notre Dame made a significant impression and grabbed virtually all of his attention. He took an official visit to see the Fighting Irish beat the Trojans in mid-October, and though he also attended Alabama's big recruiting weekend in early November, it wasn't enough to unseat Notre Dame, which built a solid relationship with the 6-foot-3, 243-pound tight end and had been his leader for a significant amount of time.

Luatua's commitment doesn't only give Notre Dame a big-time player at a position in which they continue to build strength, it's also another outstanding California prospect making their way to South Bend, Ind. In the 2013 class, Notre Dame was able to swoop in and grab four-star safety Max Redfield away from several Pac-12 programs. In 2014, Luatua joins four-star defensive tackle Matt Dickerson (San Mateo, Calif./Junipero Serra), who held offers from Oregon, UCLA, USC and Washington.

He joins a tight end group that is getting a significant influx of talent. Four-star tight end Nic Weishar (Chicago/Marist) is part of the 2014 class, and four-stars Mike Heuerman and Durham Smythe signed with Notre Dame in the 2013 class.

Luatua is commitment No. 23 for Notre Dame. He is the eighth ESPN 300 prospect and the 15th four-star commitment. He is also the No. 2 prospect in the class, behind only offensive tackle Alex Bars (Nashville, Tenn./Montgomery Bell Academy), who is ranked No. 51.
Notre Dame is going to recruit nationally, but it can be argued no two states are more important to the Fighting Irish’s success on the trail than California and Florida. Within the last 24 hours, they have scored major wins in each state with the addition of four-star products.

Shortly after Richard Yeargin III out of south Florida committed on Friday, four-star defensive lineman Matt Dickerson (San Mateo, Calif./Junipero) pledged Saturday afternoon.


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ESPN 300 analysis: USC Trojans 

June, 17, 2013
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The USC recruiting class might not be high in numbers yet, but the quality appears to be on par with what the coaching staff landed last signing day.


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Tales From The Road: USC 

May, 29, 2013
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Every Wednesday, the WeAreSC staff will take a quick-hit look at some of the top recruits and storylines facing USC recruiting for the week.

This week’s targets: A few USC scholarship offers went out early this week as coaches wrapped up the spring evaluation period. It took a while – and perhaps a bit longer than expected -- but ESPN 150 offensive lineman Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial) finally joined some local peers on the Trojans’ offer list Tuesday. Fast-rising defensive tackle Matt Dickerson (San Mateo, Calif./Junipero Serra) also entered the fray, becoming the sixth defensive lineman from the West Coast to land a coveted USC offer. Four-star receiver Austin Roberts (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) is the latest Midwest-based prospect to gain serious interest from USC, as he received an offer from the Trojans on Monday.


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Heading into spring ball, defensive tackle Matt Dickerson (San Mateo, Calif./Junipero Serra) was looking for his first offer. Heading into his summer vacation, he's one of the West region's hottest prospects.

It happened quickly for the 6-foot-5, 250-pound lineman. He hadn't heard from many schools during a junior season in which he posted 42 tackles and 1.5 sacks, but everything changed once the calendar flipped to March.


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