This was supposed to be Notre Dame football’s biggest recruiting weekend of the spring.
Before Notre Dame suspended its spring football activities and the NCAA mandated a recruiting dead period through at least April 15 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Irish had long planned to host several of their top recruiting targets this weekend.
The news worsened for Notre Dame on Friday when four-star wide receiver Deion Colzie ditched his verbal commitment to the Irish. Colzie publicly shared his decision on Twitter.
“This was not an easy decision, and there were lots of thoughts and prayers that went into this decision,” Colzie wrote in part of his statement on Twitter.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound junior at Athens (Ga.) Academy visited Georgia a few weeks ago, according to Rivals. Recruiting analyst Chad Simmons reported Alabama, Florida and Tennessee also continued to recruit Colzie despite his commitment to Notre Dame.
Plucking Colzie out of Athens — where the University of Georgia is located — was a big recruiting victory for Notre Dame when he made his verbal pledge last October. That win lasted less than six months.
247Sports slates Colzie as the No. 3 wide receiver and No. 44 overall in 2021 class. Rivals ranks him as the No. 11 wide receiver and No. 71 overall.
The loss of Colzie leaves Notre Dame with six commitments in the 2021 class and only one wide receiver in Lorenzo Styles Jr. The Irish were looking to add three wide receivers in the class with four-star recruit Dont’e Thornton Jr. emerging as one of the top options to complete the trio.
Now the Irish will have to recalibrate its recruiting efforts at the wide receiver position while sorting out its future visit strategy for the entire class. Notre Dame did sign three wide receivers in the 2020 class — Jordan Johnson, Xavier Watts and Jay Brunelle — so the position isn’t a dire need. But the Irish were on track to secure consensus Top 100 wide receivers in back-to-back classes with Johnson and Colzie.
Notre Dame’s 2021 recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the country late last year and reached as many as eight commitments when three-star safety Justin Walters joined the class in early February.
Now the Irish sit at No. 5 on Rivals and No. 7 on 247Sports with six commitments following the expected departure of offensive lineman Greg Crippen in early March and Colzie on Friday. Ohio State leads both rankings with a 14-man class.