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Hegarty not enrolling early, but commitment solid

Interesting update on recruiting from the guys at

Resident ISD coach Bryan Driskell has a report on blue-chip offensive tackle Matt Hegarty from New Mexico, who received a visit from head coach Brian Kelly, offensive line coach Ed Warinner, and outside linebackers coach Kerry Cooks on Sunday after the Irish’s big win in Southern California.

“I was honored to have him drive into our little town of 700 people,” Hegarty told ISD of the coaches pilgrimage to Aztec, New Mexico. “He was sitting at our table eating cheese and crackers. It was a good experience.”

While Hegarty and the coaches caught up, he also broke a bit of bad news to the staff: Hegarty won’t be enrolling early.

While many Irish fans might see that as reason to worry, Hegarty assured the coaching staff and Driskell that he’s still committed to Notre Dame.

“It wasn’t so much about being worried to get there,” Hegarty told Driskell. “By no means was it me pulling back at all. What I really wanted to convey to them, especially with all the recent decommits, was that it was not me pulling back at all. I am definitely still committed.”

While an extra six months with Paul Longo’s strength team and 15 spring practices would kick-start Hegarty’s development, it really isn’t that big of a blow, considering the only starter on the offensive line that needs replacing is Chris Stewart. Hegarty doesn’t profile as a guard, and Chris Watt is already waiting in the wings at the position.

If all goes to plan, and Hegarty’s as good as the recruiting websites and his offer list believe, you could see Hegarty sliding into Taylor Dever’s right tackle position after next season and book-ending with Zack Martin, one of the better (hypothetical) one-two tackle punches at ND in a while.

Hegarty’s a big-time basketball player for his high school and a lot of people don’t consider that these kids are sometimes cutting away from their senior year of high school to get a jump-start on a college career that’ll likely not get started in 2011 anyway. While the move paid dividends for a guy like Tommy Rees who immediately worked his way into the two-deep depth chart, the Irish can hopefully bring Hegarty along a bit slower, and save a year of eligibility at the same time.