Friday, July 8, 2011

Recruiting Buzz Gets Down to Crunch Time

Boy what a difference a year can make recruiting-wise. Last year at this time, Charlie Weis and company set it on cruise control before National Signing Day only to be stiffed at the altar from a few recruits. This time around, Weis is pulling out all the guns to land what will be his best class so far, and quite possibly one of the best in the nation.

First it was getting a reversal of fortune by previous Texas A&M verbal commit Kapron Lewis-Moore to decommit from the Aggies and pledge his intentions to the Irish. Now it looks promising on another defensive gem, Keith Wells.

South Bend and Notre Dame’s campus made lasting impressions on Wells. He was on campus this past weekend and took in the sights and sounds of Notre Dame, including the 89-80 Irish basketball victory over DePaul. Wells will announce at 11:30 a.m. today if he will play college football at Notre Dame, Ohio State or Tennessee.

It does look good for the Irish after luring him to even visit the campus so late in the game. Adding new Assistant Head Coach for Defense, John Tenuta, didn’t hurt the Irish chances either.

“Notre Dame made a lot of leeway this weekend,” Wells said. “Right now, they’re all even.”

Last week, the Irish looked to be a longshot to sign Wells. Now, Weis and company appear to have a legitimate chance.

“The visit to Notre Dame was nice,” Wells said. “I had heard about the campus, but I wasn’t expecting it to be that beautiful. You could just feel the tradition.”

The Irish quite possibly could end up with 25 recruits if speedster Milton Knox signs with Notre Dame. Knox was also in town this past weekend and also came away pleased with his visit.

“I definitely can see myself in South Bend for the next four years. It would be awesome to run out of that tunnel with Dayne wearing the Blue and Gold.”

Even though this over a week old, but I have a problem with these recruiting services, particularly everyone’s favorite, ESPN. So-called “HS recruiting guru”, Tom Luginbill, receives the Jackass quote of the week by saying this on recruiting page:

“Notre Dame noticeably drops No. 3 to No. 7; it has compiled a very good class with multiple needs being addressed but doesn't have as many elite or impact guys as the classes ranked ahead of them.”

Okay, let me stop Tommy in his tracks. The Irish have 10 top 150 players according to your poll. Only one other school (Florida) has more, while Miami has the same amount as Notre Dame. Below is ESPN current class rankings with how many current verbals and how many ESPN 150 recruits they have:

1. Florida 23 verbal commits, 11 ESPN 150 recruits
2. Miami 26 verbal commits, 10 ESPN 150 recruits
3. Georgia 20 verbal commits, 7 ESPN 150 recruits
4. Clemson 20 verbal commits, 7 ESPN 150 recruits
5. Ohio State 18 verbal commits, 8 ESPN 150 recruits
6. Oklahoma 19 verbal commits, 8 ESPN 150 recruits
7. Notre Dame 23 verbal commits, 10 ESPN 150 recruits
8. USC 16 verbal commits, 8 ESPN 150 recruits
9. Alabama 26 verbal commits, 4 ESPN 150 recruits
10. Texas 20 verbal commits, 9 ESPN 150 recruits

What is Luginbill’s logic in this? Is he going by who has the most recruits, or is he going by who has the most Top 150 players? Either way you slice it, Notre Dame is a legitimate Top 3 recruiting class. If the Irish do in fact, land both Wells and Knox; watch out, the ranking could be higher according to other recruiting services.

Whatever the case may be, Notre Dame is going to have one heckeva a class!

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