That each of these first three coaches head programs that are consistently in the top ten of team recruiting serves as no surprise. Of course it helps that each leads football programs in the three richest talent areas in the United States, Bowden in Florida, Brown in Texas and Carroll in California.
Charlie Weis appears poised to join the very elite ranks of these top closers. Notre Dame may be on the brink of following up last year’s top five class with another just as good or better. In order for that to happen, though, Weis is going to need to close well with several top-rated recruits still on the Irish board. Still, that Weis and his staff have Notre Dame poised to reel in yet another highly ranked class is amazing given the fact that Indiana, though improving, isn’t exactly a hotbed of Division I talent. In order for the Irish staff to put together outstanding classes they must roam far afield. One area that has been increasingly productive for the Irish has been Florida. Notre Dame’s coaching staff had visits with two key recruits from the Sunshine State, and one of them planned to follow up with an unofficial visit to South Bend. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes?
No recruit appears to be more important to the Notre Dame coaching staff than Lorenzo Edwards, the Scout.com top-rated weak side linebacker prospect in the nation. Edwards, LB, 6-2, 220, Edgewater High School, Orlando FL received an in-home visit for Charlie Weis and Rob Ianello on Friday.
“Coach Weis and coach Ianello were in today,” said Edwards. “Everything went great. We stood around at school and talked for thirty minutes. Then coach Weis reminded me that I had an appointment with my trainer. During my workout they were talking to my parents and afterward we sat down and talked one-on-one for about fifteen minutes. We talked about the same basic things but he was reassuring me that he wants me to be part of the program.”
Edwards wants to study architecture. The drawback to that for football players is that the program requires one year of study in Rome. Weis reassured Edwards that would not be a problem.
“That’s one of the things [the year in Rome] that me and coach Weis talked about today,” explained Edwards. “He told me once before that he wanted me to pursue my career goal and that he wouldn’t want to interrupt something that I wanted. He was reassuring me that if I went off for that year I could come back and play for two more years. It’s something that I love doing and something that I enjoy doing. I think that it would be a great experience.”
Edwards made it clear that distance would not be a factor. Four of his five top schools, Notre Dame, Michigan, Georgia Tech and Clemson are all out of state. His fifth school is Florida. He plans to announce at the Army All-American game in January.
Not only did Weis and Ianello visit with Ian Williams, DT, 6-2, 300, Lyman High School, Longwood, FL at school, but he also reciprocated by taking an unofficial visit to South Bend this last weekend.
“It went real well,” said Williams of his meeting with the Notre Dame coaches. “Coach Weis and coach Ianello came to my school around 12:00 p.m. I think we were in there for about an hour and a half. We talked about the upcoming visit, different matters about the school, when I could come in and play, when I could come up for school, what the freshmen generally do, what classes I’d take and stuff like that.”
Notre Dame has huge opportunities for defensive tackles to come in and play right away. Williams has definitely noticed.
“It’s actually quite big,” said Williams of the opportunity to come in and play right away. “I don’t want to go somewhere and end up sitting for two or three years, and then only have one year to play. I actually want to go somewhere that I get to play for a few years and have fun playing.”
While modest, Williams possesses the confidence that great players have.
“I don’t know how good I am on the college ranks, but I believe that I can come in an challenge for a second string, and maybe get some playing time,” said Williams.
Williams has been especially appreciative of the approach that Weis has taken in recruiting.
“They told me straightforward what they want,” explained Williams. “They don’t put stuff off on other schools. They tell me the pros and cons about their school. He [Weis] hasn’t put any pressure on me to commit. That’s the cool thing about him. If you want to go to Notre Dame, go. If you don’t, you don’t. He doesn’t put any pressure on you.”
Williams is also considering Florida, Auburn and Clemson. He has planned an announcement for Tuesday, December 12.
These two summaries are just samples of the recruiting information available each week on Irish Eyes.