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Irish Insights

  • Irish get more watch list honors
    Three more Notre Dame players were named to watch lists.
  • Brindza on Lou Groza watch list
    Notre Dame's Kyle Brindza was named to the preseason watch list for the 2014 Lou Groza Award. The Lou Groza Award is given annually to the nation's best placekicker.
  • Two more Irish land on watch lists
    Notre Dame center Nick Martin was placed on the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, given annually to the nation's best player at that position.

Disturbing trend for Notre Dame?

CBS Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said Notre Dame's loss of cornerback Tee Shepard was horrible for the team.

Shepard, a four-star recruit, decided to leave the university and returned home to Fresno, Calif., after enrolling early at Notre Dame, the school announced Thursday.

"I had heard (Shepard) wasn't acclimating himself to Notre Dame very well academically and socially," Lemming said. "Sometimes that's a mistake you make with mid-term grads. They are sort of left out on an island by themselves. I'm not there, but I'm sure this has to be addressed in the future. They've lost too many of their commitments this year."

Shepard joined a list of four other 2012 recruits who decided not to play for the Irish.

Cornerback Ronald Darby decommitted from Notre Dame and instead went to Florida State. Offensive lineman Taylor Decker and linebacker David Perkins backed out of their pledges to join the Irish and instead signed with Ohio State. Receiver Deontay Greenberry spurned Notre Dame on Signing Day and signed with Houston on Feb. 1.

"I think their recruiting and maybe the (maintaining recruits) probably needs to be addressed a bit," Lemming said. "Every school has to do it. I think Notre Dame losing five real good players probably has to be more vigilant."

Lemming said Notre Dame needs to develop a better home base for recruiting and start locking up more top players from Indiana and the Chicago area.

"You can always afford one average recruiting year, but not two in a row. That's why 2013, they really need to step it up now," Lemming said. "They need to get (Bishop Luers linebacker) Jaylon Smith. He's their No. 1 target on defense, I think. They need to be much more proactive in Chicago. Chicago is loaded this year, and it should be their backyard. But they've struggled in Chicago over the past several years.

"They need a running back like Ty Isaac, a running back from Joliet Catholic in the Chicago area. They could use a left tackle since they lost Taylor Decker. They could use a go-to wide receiver. They got a kid yesterday out of Minnesota (James Onwualu of Cretin-Derham Hall), who is pretty good. But I'm sure they will look for an elite wide receiver. They need a great corner or two. I don't know if they've got that. They need an inside linebacker, because Manti Te'o is leaving. I mean an impact inside linebacker, not just an average one."