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September 12, 2010
Notre Dame lost a game this weekend, but the Irish gained a pair of commitments.
Twin brothers George and Josh Atkinson committed to Notre Dame on Sunday, giving the Irish help at the offensive skill positions and cornerback. George, a 6-foot-2, 194-pound athlete, could help at running back or receiver. Josh, a 6-foot, 180-pound cornerback, will help the Irish rebuild their depleted secondary.
Both brothers confirmed their commitments with Irish Illustrated, with their official visits continuing through the weekend into Monday. Look for more on Notre Dame's 17th and 18th verbal commitments once their visits conclude.
George committed to Notre Dame over offers from Alabama, USC, Miami and Oregon, flashing some of his multi-skilled talents the night before his official visit to South Bend. In a 56-42 win over Sierra, the Granada High School star scored on pass plays of 71 and 82 yards. In the second half he scored on runs of 14 and 62 yards.
The U.S. Army All-American had been high on the Irish since receiving his offer in March and had hoped to see Notre Dame during the summer. When the Irish offered Josh two months later the urgency for that trip intensified as Notre Dame became one of three schools alongside Oregon and Washington to seriously pursue the brothers in tandem.
Josh initially favored Oregon in his recruitment, but when Notre Dame lost E.J. Banks and Spencer Boyd this off-season the cornerback saw a strong opportunity for playing time in South Bend. That's when the Irish rose up his list, with Josh calling Notre Dame a "perfect place" to continue his football career.
The convergence of events pushed Notre Dame from contender to favorite status with the brothers, prompting a change in plans for George, who had wanted to announce his college choice at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January.
That timetable moved up a few months thanks to the weekend's official visits. The pair watched Notre Dame's 28-24 loss to Michigan from the stands and spent part of Sunday checking out the campus bookstore alongside four-star safety Wayne Lyons.
The afternoon fieldtrip won't be the last time these brothers walk the Notre Dame campus.