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Thursday, March 15, 2012
Wanted: Cornerback help

By Matt Fortuna

Pretty prescient with the Bennett Jackson spotlight today, no?

Jackson's -- and every other defensive back's -- responsibilities just grew significantly in light of the news today that four-star cornerback Tee Shepard, an early enrollee, has left Notre Dame. (And yes, the Jackson post was a complete coincidence.)

Brian Kelly said during national signing day that the focus for the 2012 recruiting class was on wide receivers and players in the secondary. While the Irish notched a number of safety prospects, the loss of Shepard gives them zero cornerbacks for this class, and they now have just four on scholarship. None of those four -- Jackson, Lo Wood, Josh Atkinson and Jalen Brown -- have started a college game.

Once Shepard decides on a new school, he will need a waiver just to play this fall. And this comes after he sat out his entire senior season of high school at Washington (Calif.) Union after transferring from Central East.

The late commitment of Davonte Neal is all the more important now, as cornerback will likely provide the quicker route for the athlete to get on the field, over receiver.

Regardless, following the national signing day de-commitment of Deontay Greenberry, Shepard's cousin, this is one blow Notre Dame will have to recover from quickly with spring practices less than a week away.