Deeb gives Irish more depth at LB

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

After making an unofficial visit to Notre Dame that stretched to parts of three days, class of 2013 linebacker Michael Deeb talked with his dad for the entire three-hour flight home from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The two were looking for a reason that Deeb shouldn’t commit to Notre Dame, but they couldn’t find one.

On Friday, Deeb told his teammates and coaches at morning workouts at American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla., that he was ready to commit and then called Notre Dame. Deeb announced his commitment to the world on Twitter at 12:18 p.m. EDT.

“Thankful and blessed to make the decision to commit to THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME!!! #ND #IrishMob13,” Deeb tweeted.

With that, Deeb became the 16th commitment to the 2013 class and the third linebacker commit in the month of June. The 16 verbal commitments to the class equal the number of freshmen currently enrolled at Notre Dame from the 2012 recruiting class.

At Notre Dame, Deeb found a school that he felt he fit in at.

"Overall, it's just so dominant in all areas - whether it's academics, the spiritual side of it, and the football tradition is unmatched at Notre Dame," Deeb said. "I really like the coaching staff, the way they envision how to get their team better and win a national championship."

Deeb started his visit on Monday evening after visiting Northwestern. He remained on campus until Wednesday morning when he returned to Chicago.

"Everywhere we went on campus, I really could envision myself being a part of that family and joining the Notre Dame family," Deeb said. "Ultimately, I think I was ready to pull the trigger while I was there. It was just that I needed to make sure and go home, talk it over with my parents, and make sure that as a family, this was the best decision for me and them."

Deeb, a 6-foot-2, 238-pound inside linebacker prospect, was offered by Notre Dame in May after recruiting coordinator Tony Alford and defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Bob Diaco evaluated him in person at American Heritage this spring. His relationships with Alford and Diaco played a large role in his decision.

"I think coach Alford is really like a father figure to many of the guys on the team," Deeb said. "I've built a really good relationship with him and he's a very straightforward person and that's what I like about him. He'll tell you what you need to hear and not necessarily what you want to hear all the time. But he's definitely going to get you better day in and day out."

"Coach Diaco, he brings a ton of energy," Deeb said. "That's what I look for in a coach. I camped Tuesday morning and was able to get on the field with him. I learned a ton from him just in those few hours."

Deeb joins outside linebacker prospects Jaylon Smith and Danny Mattingly as three committed linebacker prospects for Diaco's 3-4 defensive scheme. Deeb said the coaching staff hopes he can play the middle linebacker position that Manti Te'o currently fills.

"He's a great player and he brings a lot of intensity and a lot of leadership," Deeb said of Te'o. "Just being able to watch the film on him and see him, I think I can learn a ton from him before I step on campus and I can physically and mentally prepare myself to the best of my ability."

Playing middle linebacker at American Heritage, Deeb totaled 90 tackles, three interceptions and three sacks last season as a junior. ranks Deeb as the No. 26 inside linebacker in the 2013 class. ranks him as the No. 48 inside linebacker. Deeb's other scholarship offers include Florida State, Penn State, Cincinnati, Vanderbilt and West Virginia among others.

Deeb's commitment brings the Irish coaching staff another step closer to their goal for the linebacker position this recruiting cycle. 247Sports national recruiting writer Steve Wiltfong said Notre Dame would like to take two inside linebackers this year.

"They've got Michael Deeb in the fold and they'd love to add Alex Anzalone and then complement those two with Jaylon Smith and Danny Mattingly," Wiltfong said. "With that, Notre Dame would hit a home run at the linebacker position."

High school teammate Sony Michel, a 2014 running back, also joined Deeb on his visit to Notre Dame. Wiltfong said commitments from recruits that just visited campus show how big of an impression the coaching staff can make on a player when they reach South Bend.

"As always when you're talking about Notre Dame and kids coming up to visit, you know right away where you stand with them when they leave, because normally Notre Dame is a lot different of a school than the other places that they're considering," Wiltfong said.

Deeb said once he made the decision that he could handle going to college away from his family that Notre Dame really stood out.

"Notre Dame has something that some Florida schools can't add up to when it comes to being well-rounded in all areas and providing a great tradition for 125 years now," Deeb said, "and on top of that, you know that the academics are ridiculously amazing."

Staff writer Tyler James: 574-235-6214