BEAVERTON, Ore. - Alex Anzalone arrived at The Opening ready to make a verbal commitment.
Without giving much away the Rivals100 linebacker from Wyomissing, Pa., answered questions all weekend about his finalists. Florida, Notre Dame and Penn State all appeared possible landing spots until the four-star prospect made his intentions known on Sunday.
Anzalone picked Notre Dame, becoming the program's 17th commitment in the Class of 2013. The pledge pushes the Irish class to No. 5 in the Rivals.com team rankings, jumping Florida, USC, Georgia, Texas and Ohio State.
"The academics really tipped the iceberg for me," Anzalone said while holding a Notre Dame hat during his nationally televised announcement. "They took me in like family on my last visit."
Landing Anzalone brought the Irish full circle in their relationship with the four-star prospect, who projects at Mike linebacker, currently occupied by Manti Te'o. Anzalone, who plans to enroll early, said he'll take over the No. 5 jersey worn by Te'o.
Anzalone visited Notre Dame for junior day in late March but later committed to Ohio State. After reopening his recruitment Anzalone visited again and moved the Irish into the lead group on the strength of relationships with some of the committed players, including four-star tight end Mike Heuerman.
Florida and Penn State gave pursuit, hosting Anzalone on visits as well. The Nittany Lions got the final look in late June, with the in-state program making a late charge.
But that wasn't enough knock Notre Dame out of the lead spot.
Anzalone's commitment gives the Irish four linebacker commitments in barely one month. He followed five-star Jaylon Smith, Florida product Michael Deeb and two-way prospect Danny Mattingly. The Irish targeted four linebackers in this class, all but wrapping up the position.
Large selection without the Bookstore sticker shock