Will Fuller needs to add weight and strength, but aside from that Notre Dame’s newest commit is getting a polished receiver with superb ball skills.
Fuller’s coach, Joe McCourt of Roman Catholic High (Philadelphia), said his star pupil and one-time Penn State commit is plenty skilled enough to excel with the Irish.
“His hands are impeccable,” McCourt said. “I don’t think I’ve seen him drop two balls that were right in his hands, whether it was in practice or a game, in the two years I coached him. He’s such a sure-handed receiver. He’s worked on his route-running. It’s almost impossible to cover him one-on-one.
“He’s so quick. He’s so smooth. He’s so long. He can get balls that look like they’re overthrown, he goes up and gets them. He’s just as effective from 20 (yard line) to 20 (yard line) as he is at the goal line. He’s not 6-4, but he’s 6-1 and he’s long and he’s got a good vertical. He’ll go up and get a fade over someone two inches taller than him.”
McCourt also said there were no discussions with Notre Dame about Fuller playing defense, although some schools originally recruited the 6-foot-1, 163-pounder to play cornerback.
But that was before Fuller caught 46 passes for 760 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior.
“They love him as receiver,” McCourt said. “Notre Dame came and worked him out and put him through different types of drills and they said to me, ‘He’s a receiver.’ They said he’s about as polished as you can possible get.
“His ball skills are the best I’ve ever seen from a player, at the high school level and I played Division I-AA, and he’s the best I’ve seen him as far as ball skills.”
The only knock on Fuller’s these days is his size, but he has the shoulder width and frame to become a 190-pound receiver. However, that will take time.
“He’s got the frame to put on some weight,” McCourt said. “The guys from Notre Dame, and even the guys from Penn State, they said don’t worry about overeating. Once you get him in a college weight room and a college eating program, you’re going to naturally put on weight.
“He’s got a skinny frame, but he’s worked on it. When he came as a freshman, he was probably 125 (pounds). He’s up to 163 pounds. He does everything he can. He just probably needs to eat a couple more cheeseburgers and get a little girth.”
Also, Fuller’s commitment to Notre Dame ended a dizzying two-week spell in which Penn State was hit hard by NCAA sanctions, including no bowl games for four years, Fuller visited campus and re-affirmed his commitment, then traveled to Notre Dame and committed to the Irish.
“It was unfortunate because Will really did like Penn State,” McCourt said. “He fell in love with the school when he first saw it and committed, but Notre Dame was always the school that was the other guy. Will really loved the coaches, the coaches really loved Will at Notre Dame.
“I think Will just wanted to go some place where he could get a good education, play football and have a chance to win a national championship. At Penn State, he would have gotten a good education, he would have played good football, but I think he got tired of questions about not playing in a bowl, the whole (Jerry) Sandusky (scandal). I think he wanted to get away from that, and that’s unfortunate because he loved Penn State.”