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December 8, 2012Notre Dame finally landed the fourth commitment in its recruiting class of 2014.
Word leaked earlier this week that four-star offensive lineman Jimmy Byrne had verbally committed to the Irish. The 6-foot-4, 280-pounder from St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio, declined to confirm or deny that commitment.
But he confirmed it on Saturday shortly after speaking with Irish head coach Brian Kelly.
"Basically, I committed on Monday but Notre Dame asked me not to make it public until I talked to coach Kelly," Byrne said. "I talked to him this morning before he went to practice."
Byrne had narrowed his list of favorites down to Ohio State and Notre Dame but waited until after he visited Columbus for the Buckeyes' game against Michigan to make his pick.
"I think the past couple of weeks I've kind of known Notre Dame was where I wanted to go," he said. "I just had to go see a game at Ohio State and really evaluate all my options. I think at the end of the day Notre Dame is the best fit for me on the field and off the field, plus I'll get to play for coach Kelly and (Irish offensive line coach Harry) Hiestand."
Kelly invited Byrne and his family to visit Notre Dame. That trip likely will occur shortly after Christmas during the Irish's BCS championship game preparation.
"He said he was really excited to have me and wants me to be a part of the tradition at Notre Dame," Byrne said.
Byrne plays left tackle at St. Ignatius and helped lead the Cardinals to the Division I, Region 1 championship game.
He could move to guard at Notre Dame.
"Coach Hiestand said that's where their needs are," Byrne said. "He'll probably try me out at tackle but I could slide inside to guard. I've really only played tackle my whole life but I think it would be a good fit for me. In pass protection guards don't have to do as much as the tackles, but they are really involved in run blocking."
With his commitment out of the way, Byrne will focus on off-season training to improve his overall conditioning and technique.
"Now that I'm committed I can just focus on football," he said. "I'm not one of those kids out there looking for attention and that's what the recruiting process is, a bunch of people giving you attention. Being done with that, I can concentrate on school and football. It will be smooth sailing from here on out."
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