First this month there was quarterback Gunner Kiel earlier this month. Then came wide receiver Davonte’ Neal late last night. Now comes word that yet another member of Notre Dame’s 2012 recruiting class has left the building.
The father of wide receiver Justin Ferguson (pictured, No. 82) confirmed to BlueandGold.com that his son has decided to leave the Irish. Neal’s father told the same website that fatherhood and not anything to do with the school or the program led to his son’s decision to transfer.
In Ferguson’s case, Jason Ferguson said some level of discomfort on the part of his son was the driving force behind the receiver’s decision, although no specifics were given.
“It’s more of a level of comfort,” the dad explained to the website. “He didn’t provide specific reasons like playing time or anything because he hasn’t even come home yet since deciding, but I’ve been working with him through his feelings as well. I’m not pressuring him to stay. He talked to Coach (Brian) Kelly and he says he’s sure of his decision and Coach Kelly knows of his intentions.”
Shortly after the 247Sports.com website’s story was posted, head coach Brian Kelly confirmed that both Ferguson and Neal “are no longer part of the football program,” adding that he and his staff “wish them the best in future endeavors.”
There’s no word on where Ferguson, who attended Pembroke Pines (Fla.) Flanagan High School, may head to next. He held offers from, among others, Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Miami, West Virginia and Wisconsin coming out of high school.
Ferguson played in 11 games last season as a true freshman, catching one pass for nine yards. He was a three-star member of last year’s class, rated as the No. 58 receiver in the country.
In addition to Ferguson, Neal and Kiel, a fourth member of the Irish’s 2012 class rated No. 20 in the nation had previously left the program. Cornerback Tee Shepard signed with Notre Dame in January of last year as an early enrollee but left two months later.
Shepard, Ferguson and Kiel were the three highest-rated players signed by the Irish in that recruiting class.