Notre Dame football recruiting: Mattingly commitment helps Irish reload at linebacker
Danny Mattingly (4)
2:00 pm, June 27, 2012
Early this month, Notre Dame made huge recruiting waves when coveted linebacker Jaylon Smith picked the Irish over a host of schools.
On Tuesday, ND coach Brian Kelly added linebacker Danny Mattingly to his 2013 group and, while Mattingly isn't ranked as highly as Smith, he's another big piece to a position group that is coming together quite nicely.
"He's kind of in that same mold as Jaylon Smith," was 247Sports.com national recruiting writer Steve Wiltfong's assessment of the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Mattingly, who plays at Mead Senior High School in Spokane, Wash.
"There's no question he's a physical football player and he's a well-rounded linebacker. He can cover, he can come off the edge. He may not be as athletic as Jaylon, but he's bigger than Jaylon."
In terms of big gets, there will likely be no bigger one than Smith, a five-star recruit who rates as the nation's top linebacker. But Mattingly, a three-star prospect according to 247Sports, had offers from plenty of big-time programs, including Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon and Nebraska.
"Notre Dame beat out good ones to get him," said Wiltfong, who projects Mattingly as an outside linebacker in ND's scheme.
Notre Dame will lose star inside linebacker Manti Te'o following the 2012 season, and Wiltfong believes the Irish would like to add two more linebackers in the class currently being assembled.
"Notre Dame's getting more athletic at that position, where I think we've all seen them lack the athleticism they needed to compete with the top-echelon programs on their schedule," Wiltfong said. "Good get."
Mattingly's commitment moved Notre Dame into the No. 6 spot in the 247Sports rankings. The Irish trail Alabama, Michigan, Texas, Florida and Georgia.
In terms of average star ranking, however, ND sits in the No. 4 spot, behind USC, Texas and Alabama.
Cool down period
With camps soon wrapping up and coaches going on vacation, the number of players making unofficial visits will slow down.
"This is really it," Wiltfong said. "All the visits are pretty much wrapping up. They'll have some guys trickle in and out of course over the summer, but I think you'll see things quiet down a little bit heading into the fall, outside of maybe a couple guys."
Wiltfong said coaches are now in the process of lining up players for official visits, with the Sept. 22 prime-time matchup with Michigan looming as a game in which the guest list could be vast.
"I expect that Michigan game to be a big one," he said.
Staff writer Bob Wieneke: