Top linebacker Anzalone picks Irish

Brian Kelly is reloading. With linebacker Manti Te’o set to play his last season in an Irish uniform, Kelly landed another top linebacker recruit in Alex Anzalone Sunday night.

Anzalone announced his verbal commitment during ESPNU’s “The Opening.”

“The academics really tipped the iceberg for me,” Anzalone said on the nationally televised broadcast. “I mean they really took me in like a family my last visit. I had a really good time with them, and that's when I knew."

Anzalone, standing at 6-feet, 3-inches and weighing 220 pounds, is the 49th-overall recruit in the country according and the seventh-ranked outside linebacker.

Moments after putting on the Notre Dame cap during halftime of the televised 7-on-7 game, Anzalone also announced his intention to fill the void left by Te’o. He projects as the “Mike” linebacker, like Te’o, and plans to wear the no. 5 jersey Te’o has made famous.

The decision comes after an adventuresome recruiting experience for Anzalone. After originally committing to Ohio State, Anzalone backtracked and mulled offers from Penn State, Florida, and Notre Dame.

The commitment is Notre Dame’s 17th for 2013, and the third pure linebacker. Anzalone’s verbal now gives the Irish a top-five recruiting class.

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