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Top Class of 2012 recruit leaves Notre Dame

Departure leaves a major void in the secondary. Dave Miller

Print This March 15, 2012, 03:40 PM EST

One of the most important players in Notre Dame's Class of 2012 has left South Bend.

Tee Shepard, who enrolled at the school early and was one of the higher-rated defensive backs brought in by the Fighting Irish in recent years, left campus to return to his hometown of Fresno, California. He is no longer enrolled at the school.

Because ND has depth problems in the secondary, Shepard had a chance to start in the fall if he performed well in spring and fall camp. The Fighting Irish lost both of their starting cornerbacks from 2011, and most of the returnees don't have significant experience. He was among the early enrollee freshmen who I thought had a chance to make an instant impact in 2012.

Head coach Brian Kelly and defensive coordinator Bob Diaco may ask Davonte Neal, another highly recruited player in the Class of 2012, to play cornerback instead of receiver in light of Shepard's departure.

It will be interesting to see now where Shepard ultimately ends up. His cousin, Deontay Greenberry, was a receiver commit to ND before shocking the Irish on National Signing Day and faxing his letter to Houston. Could Shepard be on his way to becoming a Cougar?

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

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