The recruiting process has reached the time of year where there can be up and downs, and unfortunately for the Irish the most recent occurrences have been the latter.
Following a decommitment from five-star cornerback Ronald Darby after returning home from the Under Armour All-America Game, the Irish have suffered another casualty in their 2012 recruiting class – four-star offensive tackle Taylor Decker of Vandalia, Ohio.
The 6-8, 315-pound Butler High player was the second verbal commitment in the group and didn't budge on his pledge for the majority of the process. In fact, he didn't even entertain interest from in-state traditional powerhouse Ohio State when newly appointed head coach Urban Meyer came calling.
The moment that caused Decker to slightly nudge that window of opportunity ajar for the Buckeyes was when he learned that his future position coach, Ed Warinner, was leaving Notre Dame. It was a two-pronged blow when adding the point that his recruiter, Tim Hinton, was no longer on Notre Dame's coaching staff as well.
A visit from Irish offensive coordinator Chuck Martin allowed Notre Dame to regain a commitment from the Ohio native, but Hinton's and Warinner's hiring at Ohio State prompted an official visit from Decker this past weekend. Notre Dame wasn't confident in its chances of holding onto the nation's No. 30 offensive tackle heading into the trip and his telling quote of not having made any moves early in his visit "as of now" following a report that he already switched turned out to be that case in the end.
"I have committed to OSU," he confirmed with BlueandGold.com after his official visit on Sunday afternoon.
Decker wasn't prepared to comment on why he felt the need to change the school he is attending, but did address whether Notre Dame would remain in the mix.
"Probably not, which is not to be rude at all," he replied. "I just have figured everything out."
Defensive lineman Jarron Jones could switch to the offensive line after getting his start at the collegiate level, as could the nation's No. 4 player Arik Armstead, who will be choosing from Auburn (took an official visit there this weekend), Cal and Notre Dame soon. Oregon has also received a mention as of late.
As first reported by AuburnUndercover.com's Bryan Matt, Armstead's brother, Armond, who is looking for a transfer from USC, joined him on his visit to Auburn this past weekend and flew to South Bend with his father, Guss, on Sunday night to see Notre Dame.
The remaining target on the radar is offensive lineman Joshua Garnett from Puyallup, Wash., who will announce his decision on Jan. 26 from Michigan, Notre Dame and Stanford.
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