Irish Have Their Defensive Tackle

Irish Have Their Defensive Tackle

With signing day three weeks away, Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis isn't taking anything for granted. Coach Weis is on the road making his in-home visits to players that have already given him their verbal commitment. Yesterday he made a trip to Virginia to see Andrew Nuss of Stone Bridge high school.

Despite an enormous need for defensive tackles, Notre Dame has struggled to find top prospects to join this recruiting class. The Irish are counting on Ian Williams to help solidify the defensive front, but when Will Blackwell committed to LSU this week it looked like the Irish were out of options. That was when Andrew Nuss (6-foot-5, 290 pounds) stepped forward.

"Coach Weis was here today. We talked about where I'm going to play," Nuss said of his conversation with the Irish head coach. "They knew from day one when I committed that I could play either offense or defense, so he told me he wanted me to choose a side.

"We were sitting down and he asked what I wanted to play, offense or defense." Nuss wasn't about to make a recommendation to a coach with four Super Bowl rings, but Weis wasn't going to let him off the hook. "He said that I had to pick one, because he wanted to see what my passion was and he wanted to see what I wanted to play."

"I did pick defense," Nuss announced. "He wants to get me on the field the fastest. They're getting a new defensive coordinator and it's going to be a whole new defense."

Nuss did play both sides of the ball throughout his career, but by the end of last season there just wasn't the need for Nuss to play every down. Andrew finished his senior season with approximately 30 tackles.

If Nuss does stick on the defensive, his last moments as an offensive lineman were played a couple weeks ago at the Rivals.com Offense-Defense All-American game.

"It took some time to adjust, and go full speed," Nuss said of his experience. "I did pretty good against guys in practice. The guys I played against in high school aren't as good as these guys and you're used to dominating them. You're just not use to playing against guys this high of caliber, so you have to adjust and just go full speed.

"My footwork is pretty good, but I have to work on my pass blocking. In our offense we really didn't pass the ball that much. We ran the ball all the time because we had an amazing running back."

Andrew not only had to adjust to the speed of the athletes he was competing against, but he was also playing offensive guard for the first time.

"I had always played tackle and at guard you have to be worried about all the inside stuff," Nuss said. "At tackle all you have to worry about it your guy. Working at guard or center you have more responsibility and you're working with double-teams It was pretty fun playing guard."

A large part of the all-star week is getting to know players from around the country. Andrew took the time to get to know one of his future teammates.

"Golden Tate is a great guy. He's really a Notre Dame type of guy." Nuss said of his future teammate. "During the week of practice he was asking all the coaches what he could do to get better and he was just flying all over the field. Unfortunately during the game they couldn't get him the ball, but in practice he was lighting it up."

Irish fans are hoping both players have a bright future in an Irish uniform. Nuss is excited about his future and he's anxious to make his commitment official.

"Two or three weeks will be signing day and I'm really excited about that because I can finally call myself an official Fighting Irishman," Nuss said. "After that I'll hit the weight room and work on my speed and agility and do everything that I can so that I an be ready for June 19, or whenever summer school starts. Once August comes around I hope to be in the best shape that I can for training camp.

"I'm really looking forward to that first game and getting dressed and coming out of the tunnel and experiencing all that. I called up and reserved my number today. I'm going to be No. 76."

Nuss will also be a great addition to the University of Notre Dame.

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