January 2, 2011

Atkinson solid with Notre Dame

SAN ANTONIO -- George Atkinson is solidly committed to Notre Dame, but USC has been recruiting him for so long the Livermore (Calif.) Granada athlete is considering a visit to see the Trojans -- but he said Irish fans shouldn't be too worried.

"I'm solid with Notre Dame," Atkinson said.

"I might take a visit to USC maybe, it's a possibility, but as of right now, it's Notre Dame all the way."

Earlier in the season, Atkinson said things got a little shaky with Notre Dame after a 1-3 start. And as things dragged along through the fall, there were some concerns.

But the Irish finished the season with four straight victories, including a win at USC and their Sun Bowl victory against Miami this past weekend. That success has more than firmed things up with his Notre Dame commitment.

"You see what a change (coach Brian) Kelly has put into the program," Atkinson said. "With the big win over Miami, that's huge, and in November, they played well.

"At the beginning of the season, it was kind of shaky and I was wondering what was going on, and then the injuries happened and you thought it was going to be worse. I guess the players followed the coaching staff, and it went great."

Oregon was one of the early favorites for Atkinson and his brother, Josh, but the two committed to Notre Dame in September, and the pledge has stuck.

Atkinson said the Ducks are no longer under consideration and that the only school he is still even slightly thinking about other than Notre Dame is USC, but he hasn't set a visit date yet.

"They really want me on a visit," Atkinson said of the Trojans. "I'm going to take it into consideration.

"They are good recruiters and they give you the sense that they really need you there. I'm going to take that into consideration and everything, and maybe take a visit to see."

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