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September 27, 2012

Irish get their man

Three years ago the Notre Dame basketball program reached out to a local point guard, beginning a recruitment and an evaluation process.

Since then Demetrius Jackson has gone from developing freshman to elite national prospect. Now Irish head coach Mike Brey can count him as a commitment. Jackson publicly announced for the Irish on Thursday at about 5:30 p.m.

"It's a blessing. Never in a million years did I think 'd be in this position," Jackson said. "I will be attending Notre Dame because I feel like I can develop as a person and a player."

The four-star prospect from Mishawaka, Ind., privately decided earlier Thursday, as first reported by Dave Telep of ESPN.com. The network was scheduled to carry Jackson's afternoon announcement , but a video appeared on ESPN.com earlier in the day as the network essentially scooped itself. The video was then removed.

Rivals.com analyst Eric Bossi also confirmed the commitment through multiple sources.

Illinois finished runner-up.

Other programs that extended scholarship offers during the recruiting process include Butler, Florida State, Kansas, Louisville, Memphis, Michigan, Michigan State and Xavier. Only Notre Dame and Illinois received official visits. Jackson took that visit to Notre Dame last weekend as the football program hosted Michigan.

Jackson first started receiving interest from the Irish during his freshman season at Marian Catholic High School when assistant coach Anthony Solomon made contact.

Brey followed through with a scholarship offer just over a year ago as Jackson began his junior season. While more suitors lined, Notre Dame stayed the course. Jackson made several unofficial visits to campus and Brey attended many high school and AAU games along with his assistants.

Rivals.com rates Jackson the No. 27 prospect overall in the latest Rivals150 and the sixth-best point guard in the country. He joins small forward V.J. Beachem and shooting guard Steve Vasturia as Notre Dame commitments in the Class of 2013.

Beachem, a product of Ft. Wayne, Ind., checks in at No. 82 in the Rivals150.

Notre Dame has now landed a top 30 commitment in consecutive recruiting cycles. Small forward Cameron Biedscheid, a freshman, was ranked No. 28 overall last year.

The only eventual Irish signee ranked higher than Jackson in the last decade was former five-star center Torin Francis in the Class of 2002. Rivals.com rated him No. 3 in the country coming out of Tabor Academy in Massachusetts.

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