UPDATE: Notre Dame football recruiting: Smythe commits to the Irish

TYLER JAMES - <a href="http:

Before making his official visit to Notre Dame this weekend, Durham Smythe had always had a connection to the Irish as a fan during his childhood.

On Sunday, Smythe used a verbal commitment to potentially connect himself with Notre Dame for the rest of his life.

Smythe announced his commitment on Twitter toward the tail end of his visit on Sunday.

“Officially committed to the University of Notre Dame! #IrishMob13 #ND,” Smythe tweeted.

Smythe, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound prospect from Belton, Texas, gives the Irish 23 commitments in the current class with five already enrolled at Notre Dame. He joins early enrollee Mike Heuerman as the second tight end in the class.

“The highlight of the trip was being able to spend time around the players and early enrollees,” Smythe said in a text message while boarding a plane headed to back to Houston. “It’s a great group of guys with a lot of talent, and I’m excited about being a part of it.”

The Irish increased their interest in Smythe after he decommitted from Texas in December, which led to him visiting campus this weekend. Smythe had already officially visited Stanford and planned to visit Michigan next weekend. But he said on Sunday that he will no longer be making the trip to Michigan or any other schools.

Smythe said it was hard to pinpoint exactly what sealed the deal for him, but he was confident that Notre Dame was the place for him.

“It’s hard to describe,” he said via text. “Beside the fact that I love the staff, the players and the atmosphere ... something just felt right about it.”

Playing tight end and wide receiver as a senior, Smythe caught 40 passes for roughly 611 yards and seven touchdowns. He ranks as the No. 6 tight end on and No. 15 on

Before the visit, Smythe said he likes the way Notre Dame’s offense uses multiple tight ends.

“In their offense, they need a lot of tight ends to be able to function,” Smythe said. “They got a good one earlier who’s already on campus. They also said they’re not too deep at the position.

“They do have several guys who have played and have some experience, but at the same time, they’re not a team that’s overly stocked at the position.”

The Irish likely have one or two more scholarships available for the 2013 class if all current verbal commitments remain intact. That number is dependent on the return of players eligible for fifth years, medical scholarships being applied, and any possible transfers.

James picks Texas State

Former Irish running back commit Jamel James verbally committed to Texas State on Sunday.

The 5-11, 220-pound recruit from Katy, Texas, confirmed his commitment in a text message to the South Bend Tribune.

James first committed to Arkansas in July 2011, then committed to Notre Dame in July 2012 before he and the Irish parted ways in December.

James ranks as three-star prospect according to Rivals and 247Sports. Texas State, a member of the Western Athletic Conference, played its first season as an FBS school in 2012.

Staff writer Tyler James: