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August 2, 2013
Richard Yeargin III came to Notre Dame in June and left with the Irish standing out as his leader. But when the four-star linebacker made a trip to Florida last month the in-state Gators appeared to wipe out that advantage during their Friday Night Lights camp.
Turns out, Notre Dame made a comeback without another visit.
On Friday night the 6-foot-3, 216-pound athlete from the University School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., committed to the Irish over Florida, Michigan, Clemson and USC. He becomes Notre Dame's 16th commitment and third linebacker prospect.
The addition jumped Notre Dame to sixth in the Rivals.com team rankings as the Irish moved past Ohio State, Georgia and Texas.
"With Notre Dame you can't go wrong," Yeargin told Irish Illustrated following his commitment. "They've proven to be a BCS contending team again ? the education speaks for itself."
Yeargin called in his commitment to recruiting coach Tony Alford early Friday evening, then spoke with head coach Brian Kelly. Notre Dame's last two commitments have come from Alford's region in Florida, following Corey Holmes' decision on July 17.
"(Alford) was ecstatic, everybody was through the roof, very excited," Yeargin said. "The world is evolving and you need to take advantage of every opportunity or you'll miss out. This was an opportunity you can't pass up.
"I had to make a business decision."
Other offers on the table for Yeargin were Arkansas, Auburn, Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville, Missouri, North Carolina, N.C. State, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers, South Carolina, USF, Stanford, Syracuse, Tennessee, TCU, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wake Forest, Washington State and Wisconsin.
Yeargin gives Notre Dame a critical piece to its recruiting class as the Irish staff has worked to identify capable linebacker targets. Yeargin follows Greer Martini and Jonathan Bonner at the position but brings perhaps more position flexibility than those future teammates as an inside or outside linebacker the Irish scheme.
But for Yeargin, the decision had less to do with defensive alignments and more to do with the opportunity and fit at Notre Dame. That trip to South Bend in June won't be his last, as the Irish made an impression so strong that it was able to pull the four-star athlete out of his home state.
"It was a very unique visit," Yeargin said. "I got to spend three days with the players and that's more than on an official visit."
For Yeargin, that will likely be his next look at Notre Dame, a place he'll now call home.