The plot thickens in the recruitment of the 6’3” 229 lbs Linebacker from Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. Alex Anzalone canceled his trip to Notre Dame this weekend because of a conflict in his father’s work schedule.
It is easily to speculate about whether this cancellation means more than what the Anzalone’s say it is. Recently, Anzalone took an unofficial visit to Florida for their match-up with LSU. Many people believed Anzalone would flip to a Florida commitment at that time. However, he has yet to do that.
But, it seems extremely likely that an official decommitment will come soon. This, of course, will be followed by a commitment to Florida. It is not that Anzalone does not like Notre Dame. He is probably genuinely conflicted between the two schools. Furthermore, it is not like Anzalone will be reopening his recruitment. It is either Notre Dame or Florida.
Anzalone seems likely to choose Florida at this point. His commitment would only improve the Gator’s 6th ranked recruiting class. Anzalone is one of the top ranked recruits in the country by all services. According to Rivals.com, he is the 6th best Outside Linebacker and the 48 best recruit in the country. 247Sports.com has Anzalone ranked 43rd in the country. Both of these services have him as the second best recruit in Notre Dame’s class this year.
If, and more likely when, Anzalone decommits, Notre Dame will need to replace him with another top Linebacker Recruit. The top target, at this point, is Punahou’s latest star Issac Savaiinaea. Could he be the next Manti Te’o? Savaiinaea is ranked 79th in the country by 247Sports.com. This would be a good fix to Notre Dame’s Linebacker problem.
Savaiinaea may not want to follow in Manti Te’o's footsteps. Being from the same High School, Savaiinaea is very aware of Te’o's career and upbringing in Hawaii. This seems to be a “double-edged” recruiting sword. Savaiinaea is probably attracted to Notre Dame because of Manti Te’o and Robby Toma. However, this may also be the reason why he chooses not to go to Notre Dame. It would be reasonable to believe that Savaiinaea knows exactly what he is getting into by choosing the University of Notre Dame.
Overall, Anzalone will likely decommit from Notre Dame in the near future. His father is a Florida University Alumni. His grandparents live in Gainesville. His actions and the surrounding facts add up to a Florida commitment in the near future. It is definitely a big loss for Notre Dame but their quick start in recruiting will cushion the blow for Brian Kelly and his coaching staff. With over 20 commitments already, Notre Dame can focus on replacing Anzalone if he decommits. Kelly, Notre Dame and the commitments of the 2013 class are still holding out hope that they will not need to deal with these issues.