CoachSpeak: Commit Mahone "A Great Athlete"

Notre Dame secured its first running back pledge of the 2012 class when four-star William Mahone of Fitch High (Youngstown, Ohio) announced he committed to the Irish. So, what is Notre Dame getting? His coach spoke to IrishEyes.com to give his thoughts on what Notre Dame fans can expect.

All it takes is a step or two and Fitch High (Youngstown, Ohio) running back William Mahone will be at full speed, he catches the ball out of the backfield and is tough to tackle in space.

Those are some of the key attributes Mahone will be bringing to Notre Dame, according to his coach, Phil Annarella.

"As far as physical ability, he's just a great athlete," Annarella said. "Again, because of that desire and competitiveness, he's the kind of kid that's going to break tackles, he's not going to go down easy. He's a hard runner, and he runs down hill, but he's talented enough to catch the ball out of the backfield. He's got great hands.

"Notre Dame is getting a good one, all the way around."

The 6-foot, 205-pound Mahone announced his verbal commitment Friday after Fitch High dropped a heart-breaking 42-41 decision to Jackson.

Mahone did not play because of a high ankle sprain, and his availability to play this week against Hoover is uncertain.

However, by the time Mahone gets to South Bend, Ind., the injury will be a thing of the past and the Irish will be getting a multi-purpose running back.

"He's everything that a Division I running back should be," Annarella said. "I know some people have questioned his speed a little bit, but he's got that burst. He's got football speed. There's a difference, and I've said that to everyone that's recruited him.

"It's one thing to be able to line up and run a 4.2 or something, and it's another thing to make plays and bust tackles and make big runs on the football field. Some kids can't do both, and Will's got enough speed to absolutely go the distance every time."

Most of Mahone's runs in Fitch's offense are between the tackles, but Annarella said he has the ability to get to the perimeter.

"That's the scheme of our offense. That's the way we run the spread," Annarella said. "We don't get outside with him much, but we've gotten him the ball on the outside throwing to him. He's very capable of doing that. I'm sure (Notre Dame) coach (Brian)) Kelly will find the right way to utilize him.

"He's got great hands. He's made some great catches for us offensively."

In addition to being a tremendous on-field talent, Mahone is a genuine, hard-working person off it.

"I think, first of all, (Notre Dame) is getting a tremendous young man," Annarella said. "I think he's a young man who's a competitor, a winner, tremendous desire. Forget about the physical aspect, if you don't have those things, you're not going to be a success at the collegiate level in Division I and he's got all those intangibles."

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