Not even a week after getting blown out in the BCS Championship game, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly is the center of fierce NFL rumors. While most were surprised to hear this after Kelly himself said he wasn’t interested in NFL jobs, one specific player form his upcoming recruiting class is even less pleased with his antics and has switched schools because of it.
Linebacker recruit Alex Anzalone had committed to Notre Dame almost a month ago, but he was so enraged and felt so betrayed over hearing news that Kelly had interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles, that he upped and retracted his commitment to the Irish and instead will be playing for the Florida Gators next year.
Anzalone had been set to commit to Ohio State before a picture of him with a convicted sex offender surfaced on the internet. Reaction from Anzalone’s teammates varies from understanding, to dumbfounded all the way to rant worthy enraged.
Devin Butler, a Washington D.C. area cornerback who is still committed to the Irish and a part of Anzalone’s recruiting class, falls into basically all those categories. He took to Twitter to vent his frustration over news that his friend has switched to Gator Nation.
Many other Notre Dame recruits had the same to say, with fellow linebacker and five-star recruit Jaylon Smith sounding more shocked than heartbroken and wide receiver Corey Robinson taking taking the high road and wishing Anzalone nothing but the best at Florida.
Nevertheless, the unfairness to these recruits, who are being forgotten in all the Kelly-to-the-NFL rumors, is hard to ignore. Kelly notably angered his locker room and incoming recruiting class when he abruptly left Cincinnati in 2009 right before they were set to play No. 3 Florida in the BCS Sugar Bowl.
Should Kelly leave Notre Dame, he’d be the first coach in 70 years to voluntarily leave the program for another job. Since Ed McKeever in 1944, every single head coach of the Irish has either been fired or retired from the job.
Kelly’s recruits and Irish fans everywhere are hoping he doesn’t make history, but as was demonstrated by Anzalone, some just can’t take the uncertainty of the situation.