On National Signing Day 2012, Notre Dame fans were quite happy. Coach Brian Kelly's third recruiting class looked very strong. It included 17 players -- one a five-star, and another eight of whom were rated a consensus four-stars.
But now, just 13 months after signing, almost half of those star recruits are gone, including the top three signees from its 2012 recruiting class.
Gone is Gunner Kiel, who sat behind three other quarterbacks in 2012. He announced in early March that he would transfer after the semester. According to numerous sources, Kiel seemed to bristle at having to compete for a job. He was, after all, a five-star recruit and the No. 1 rated pro-style passer in the country. Kiel, an Indiana native, had previously committed to Indiana and to LSU. He is the recruit LSU head coach Les Miles famously described as lacking "the chest and ability to lead a program."
Tee Shepard is also gone, having lasted less than three months. The four-star cornerback transferred back to a community college in California, and will soon enroll at Oklahoma.
Wednesday, the school lost two more transfers, Kelly announced.
Davonte' Neal, an undersized offensive skill player who mostly contributed on punt returns, plans to transfer. He was Notre Dame's third-rated signee in the class, and originally from Arizona. And Justin Ferguson, a four-star receiver from Florida, will also transfer.
It is interesting to note that three of the high profile transfers are originally from warm weather states, with climates vastly different than South Bend, Ind.
Notre Dame also lost two star members from its 2011 class to transfers, in five-star defensive end Aaron Lynch, and four-star offensive tackle Jordan Prestwood, both originally from Florida.
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