Notre Dame Football: Alex Anzalone Sticking with the Irish

Matt SmithCorrespondent IIINovember 5, 2012

The topsy-turvy recruitment of 2013 Wyomissing, Pa. linebacker Alex Anzalone has finally come to a close. Anzalone, who committed to Notre Dame in July at The Opening camp, reaffirmed his pledge to the Irish via a statement Monday night on Twitter after flirting with a switch to Florida over the past month. The full statement can be read here in a series of tweets.

“I have developed close relationships with many great coaches, but at the end of the day I had to choose one school,” said Anzalone. “I have been committed to [Notre Dame] since July. With that, I want to reaffirm my commitment to Notre Dame and shut down my recruitment completely with all other schools.”

The son of a Florida alumnus, Anzalone attended last month’s LSU-Florida game in Gainesville and was reportedly leaning towards becoming a Gator. Anzalone was initially committed to Ohio State, but reversed course in early May following a report that a registered sex offender was using social media to contact potential Buckeyes recruits. A photo was leaked of Anzalone and current Notre Dame commit Mike Heuerman with the man at the team’s spring game in April.

Anzalone projects as an inside linebacker at Notre Dame, the eventual successor to Manti Te’o. While he’ll be following a legend, he will get the benefit of going through spring practice, as he’ll enroll at Notre Dame in January.

An excellent student, Anzalone is a great fit both on and off of the field for Notre Dame.  Anzalone excels at closing gaps on ball carriers with a great understanding of angles of pursuit. At 6’3”, he has a bigger frame than Te’o and could turn into the next great Irish run stuffer. With Jaylon Smith, the No. 3 rated player in the country by Rivals, and Anzalone in the same linebacking corps, the potential for Notre Dame’s defense could exceed that of the current group that has led the Irish to a 9-0 start.

Notre Dame’s commitment count remains at 22 with National Signing Day exactly three months from Tuesday. A maximum of three spots remains, with one likely reserved for Ramsey, N.J. defensive end Alquadin Muhammad, who is expected to publicly announce his commitment in January.

Other targets include former USC commit Max Redfield, a safety from Mission Viejo, Calif., and wide receiver DeMarcus Robinson of Fort Valley, Ga., who spent this past weekend in South Bend on his official visit. Robinson is the nephew of former Chicago Bears wide receiver Marcus Robinson.

With Anzalone’s reaffirmation and the surprise commitment of cornerback Cole Luke last week, Notre Dame’s class continues to soar up the overall team rankings. ranks the Irish No. 2, trailing only USC, while 24/7 Sports has them at No. 6.

Notre Dame fans can finally rest easy with regard to Anzalone after feeling like the Irish could lose him at any minute since his initial commitment in July. It’s been awhile since Notre Dame has been unbeaten in November like it currently is, but with recruiting classes like the one it will sign in the coming months, expectations are that this may become the norm rather than the exception.