Sunday, January 27, 2013
Irish land four-star TE during visit
By Max Olson
Notre Dame beat out two of its top rivals for a four-star tight end on Sunday.
Durham Smythe (Belton, Texas/Belton) pulled the trigger on a verbal commitment to the Irish at the end of his official visit this weekend. Smythe is Notre Dame’s 23rd commit of 2013.
Long considered a Stanford lean, Smythe chose Notre Dame over the Cardinal and made his decision before taking an official visit to Michigan next weekend.
“Going into the visit, I felt like I had a pretty good relationship with the staff and I was really excited about visiting,” he said. “When I got out here and experienced everything first-hand, there really wasn’t a doubt in my mind.”
He made his commitment during a one-on-one meeting with coach Brian Kelly and offensive coordinator Chuck Martin at the end of his official visit.
“I told them there was no doubt this was where I’m coming,” he said. “They were extremely excited.”
Smythe originally committed to Texas in March, but he backed out of that pledge on Dec. 12 after deciding he didn’t think UT was the right fit for him.
He picked up serious interest from a handful of schools since reopening his commitment, but in the end Smythe went with the school he had never gotten a good chance to consider in the spring.
Notre Dame offered him a scholarship just as few days before he made his March 8 pledge to Texas. He didn’t have enough time to take an unofficial visit and went ahead with his plan to become a Longhorn.
“A lot of decisions in this process were very hard to make, especially decommitting. That was the hardest part of this process,” he said. “There was a lot of stress relieved knowing what my future is. I’m excited and definitely relieved.”
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound prospect has landed with a program that puts a high value on his position.
Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert led the team with 685 receiving yards and four touchdowns this season. Now he’s graduating, and Smythe could have a shot at early playing time.
Smythe is the third tight end in Notre Dame’s 2013 class, joining ESPN 300 prospect Mike Heuerman (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier) and Jacob Matuska (Columbus, Ohio/Bishop Hartley).
“I talked to the staff and they’re stacked with three junior tight ends and then I know they have me and Mike,” Smythe said. “They use a lot of tight ends in a way I’m familiar with, so hopefully we can continue that tradition.”