Greenberry, Prosise join Irish class

May 27, 2011|By BOB WIENEKE, Tribune Staff Writer

With Michael Floyd entering his senior season, landing a top-flight wide receiver in the recruiting class of 2012 stood as a high priority for the Notre Dame football staff.

Done deal.

Deontay Greenberry, a standout at Washington Union High in Fresno, Calif., on Friday announced that he will play at ND. Greenberry became the ninth high school player to verbally commit to the class currently being assembled.

"At first I was a little bit confused about what I was going to do, but it all came together," Greenberry said Friday via cell phone. "I just pulled the trigger."

And the Irish pulled in a big-time recruit, beating Alabama for the top receiver in receiver-rich California. Greenberry’s commitment came not long after that of Woodberry Forest (Va.) safety CJ Prosise, who committed to the Irish late Thursday.

Greenberry joins cousin Tee Shepard, a defensive back, in the Irish recruiting class. He also joins Justin Ferguson of the Miami area in a class that is looking to add receivers. The top receiver target remains the top player in the country, Dorial Green-Beckham of Springfield, Mo.


Shepard is ranked as the 35th-best player nationally by CBS College Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming while Greenberry checks in at No. 74.

"Physically," Lemming said of the 6-foot-3, 187-pound Greenberry, "he already looks like a major college wide receiver. He’s a go-to receiver."

Lemming termed it a great year in California for receivers, and put Greenberry, a four-plus star prospect, at the top of the list. There doesn’t seem to be a lot that Greenberry, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds, can’t do.

"I’m good at all of it," he said. "Oh man, you’re gonna see a lot of amazing grabs."

Less than 24 hours earlier, the Irish grabbed safety Prosise, the fourth defensive back to pledge to the class. For Woodberry Forest School coach Clint Alexander, the news came as a bit of a surprise.

Many of his e-mails Friday morning were about the "bad news about CJ," causing Alexander to think there was an injury he didn’t know about.

"And then I go, Oh, OK, he committed," Alexander said later Friday. "He’s pretty excited."

So is Notre Dame, which beat out Penn State, Wisconsin and Virginia for Prosise’s services.

Prosise has nice size at 6-2, 206 pounds, and his seven interceptions show he has good ball skills, but it’s his vertical leap that, well, jumps out.

At an impromptu dunking contest recently, Prosise stood with his feet on the baseline. From there, he bounced the basketball off the back of the backboard, grabbed it and performed a reverse dunk.

"I don’t know how," Alexander marveled. "I looked at the other coaches. I go, have you ever seen that before? One of them said, ‘Yeah, in the NBA contest.’"

Prosise’s other measurables include a time of 4.55 seconds in the 40-yard dash and he recently finished second in the state in the 100 meters, running it in 10.9 seconds.

"He’s a tall, athletic safety," said Lemming, who rates Prosise as a three-star prospect. "He’s got good size and he’s physical. Possibly could grow into a linebacker."

"The one thing the Notre Dame coaches loved is how much ground he covers off the hash (mark)," Alexander said. "He can line up on the hash and get to the fade on the sideline. And he can go up over people and get it."

Prosise becomes the fourth defensive back to commit in the current cycle. He joins cornerback Shepard, who also could line up at safety, athlete Ron Darby, who projects as a corner, and high school quarterback Nicky Baratti, who is expected to play safety for ND.

Prosise, who recently turned 17-years old, was recruited by Irish offensive coordinator Charley Molnar with help from safeties coach Chuck Martin.

A June 5 unofficial visit to South Bend is in the works for Prosise, and it was during that visit when Alexander expected a commitment to arrive.

"(The other schools) have done a great job with him," Alexander said, "but I’ll be honest, once his mom and CJ started looking at Notre Dame on the web site and talking to people, I think it was a one-horse race."

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