Irish lose two promising receivers

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Rising Notre Dame sophomore wide receivers Davonte' Neal and Justin Ferguson have decided to transfer, coach Brian Kelly said Wednesday, meaning the Fighting Irish will have lost their top-four signees from a 2012 recruiting class that was ranked No. 9 nationally.

Neal, who was the Irish's primary punt returner last season, was the school's highest-rated prospect from the recruiting class of 2012, receiving five stars from ESPN and ranking as the No. 1 overall athlete in his class. Ferguson was a four-star prospect and the school's third-highest rated signee in the 2012 class.

Kelly announced at the beginning of the spring that quarterback Gunner Kiel, the second-highest rated player from Notre Dame's 2012 class, had left the program and would transfer at semester's end.

Cornerback Tee Shepard, the fourth-highest rated class of 2012 prospect to commit to Notre Dame, had left school for undisclosed reasons just two months after enrolling, before the last spring season even began.

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