Notre Dame football recruiting: Tranquill flips commitment to join Irish, end winding process

TYLER JAMES
South Bend Tribune

The chronicles of Drue Tranquill's recruitment appear to have come to a close.

On Tuesday, the 2014 prospect from Fort Wayne announced a verbal commitment to Notre Dame, ending a process littered with twists and turns since August.

"I’ve decided to play my next 4 years at the University of Notre Dame!” Tranquill said in part of a text message sent to multiple reporters.

The recruitment of Tranquill, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound linebacker/safety prospect, possessed many of the dramatic steps that have made recruiting a staple of college media coverage. Two programs, Purdue and Notre Dame, squared off vying for his athletic abilities.

What appeared to be the end of Tranquill's journey, a verbal commitment to Purdue on July 23, really only marked the beginning. Ten days later, Notre Dame offered Tranquill.

With prior interest in the Irish — he camped at Notre Dame in June but did not receive an offer at the time — Tranquill started to weigh the two options.

In the midst of his senior season and a run to the state semifinals for Class 6-A (largest school) Carroll High School, Tranquill made multiple visits to each school.

He attended Purdue's home game against Notre Dame in September then traveled to South Bend the following week when the Irish hosted Michigan State. He returned to Notre Dame in October for its victory against USC, then finished his string of visits with Purdue's home loss to Ohio State on Nov. 2.

With public perception putting Tranquill as an eventual Notre Dame commitment, Purdue raised the ante on Nov. 6 by offering younger brother Justin. The 2015 athlete prospect previously held offers only from Eastern Michigan and Toledo. Drue Tranquill saw two Notre Dame victories and two Purdue losses in person, but now Purdue had a potential family tie pulling him back.

The Boilermaker efforts proved fruitless on Tuesday, when Tranquill officially flipped his verbal commitment to the Irish. A two-way playmaker in high school, Tranquill projects as a line-backer or safety at Notre Dame. He joins a 2014 Irish recruiting class now with 18 verbal commitments.

A three-star prospect, Tranquill could bring the type of athleticism to the linebacker position that defensive coordinator Bob Diaco covets.

"I've heard Zeke Motta comparisons, but he could go and grow into an inside linebacker for them and play sideline to sideline," said 247Sports national recruiting writer Steve Wiltfong. "He's going to come in physically ready to play safety. He's a good looking kid on the hoof. He's an absolute competitor."

On Monday, Tranquill re-ported times of 4.43 and 4.5 in the 40-yard dash on his first day of offseason workouts.

"He's a no reps off, high motor, confident kid," Wiltfong said. "He plays with a lot of swagger. He did a whole bunch of things in high school. He's a guy that I think will come in and play special teams as a true freshman. I don't think he's going to red-shirt."

The Irish coaching staff re-turned to the same area for Tranquill that recently produced record-setting tight end Tyler Eifert and freshman phenom linebacker Jaylon Smith.

"He's a very good athlete," said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lem-ming. "He's the best player in Fort Wayne for sure. Not as publicized as Jaylon Smith but very productive. Defensively, he had about as good of production as Jaylon did last year."

In 12 games as a senior, Tranquill totaled 75 tackles, 62 of them solo, 18 tackles for a loss, four sacks and an interception.

On offense, his numbers were even more prolific as he played all over the field. He tallied 1,403 yards rushing on 114 carries with 28 touch-downs. He caught 16 passes for 348 yards and five TDs and he also threw a 29-yard touchdown pass.

Tranquill could not be reached for further comment Tuesday night, but his text message to reporters included a little bit more information.

“Man, this was the hardest decision I’ve made in my life, so much respect for both programs! ... I have so much respect for (Purdue head) Coach (Darrell) Hazell. I’ve never met someone with such high character. However, I’m ecstatic to go play for (head) coach (Brian) Kelly at the university of Notre Dame! Go Irish!”

The saga appears to have concluded, but February's signing day still awaits.

TJames1@SBTinfo.com | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Drue Tranquill, a 2014 prospect from Fort Wayne Carroll High, switched his commitment from Purdue to Notre Dame on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel