Irish Targeting Top Backs for 2003

<P>The running back position will be one of the biggest needs in recruiting for 2003. Julius Jones will return for his final year and the Irish will hopefully have a healthy Ryan Grant back for 2003. Looking past these two solid performers, the Irish are thin on numbers, speed and experience. Look for the Irish to target at least two top prospects this recruiting season and hopefully one will have home run speed. </P>

Besides Grant and Jones, the Irish do have Marcus Wilson listed as a tailback. Nate Schiccatano and Rashon Powers-Neal will likely be headed for the fullback/blocking back position. Notre Dame does have freshman Travis Thomas reporting in August and Isaiah Gardner could move here as well. The Irish will need to add some quality depth for the future.

The 2003 recruiting season has just begun and the Irish staff is out finding the top prospects in the country during their May evaluation period. Expect this list to change in the near future as new names start to surface.

Darius Walker is obviously on the list and very high on the wish list. Walker is the only player who has been offered as a tailback. The Buford, GA prospect is listed at 5-11, 185 pounds with 4.38 speed. Walker rushed for 1,986 yards and 26 touchdowns last year. Walker has already received offers from teams like Nebraska, Stanford and Maryland besides his offer from Notre Dame. Expect many more to come for Walker.

The Irish also appear interested in Samson Taylor. Taylor is listed as 6-0, 205 pounds with 4.3 speed. The Woodlands, TX prospect had to share the ball last year with another back but still rushed for 750 yards, also had 475 yards receiving for a total of 19 touchdowns. Taylor has offers from Texas A&M, Houston, Colorado and Northwestern. The Irish have been recruiting him and he appears interested in Notre Dame.

Another Texas prospect the Irish appear to be excited about is Parrish Fisher. The Richardson, TX prospect rushed for 1,700 yards and 17 touchdowns last year. Fisher is listed as 5-10, 205 pounds with 4.4 speed. He has offers from Colorado, Duke, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Kansas and SMU so far. The Irish are rumored to be very interested in Fisher.

The state of Michigan has produced some fine backs in the past and Justin Hoskins could be the next great one. Hoskins is listed at 5-11, 190 pounds with 4.3 speed. He rushed for 1,800 yards and 23 touchdowns as a junior. When Irish Eyes last spoke to him, he hadn't received any offers but they were surely coming. Hoskins is interested in the BIG 10 area and the Irish are on his list. Michigan will likely be the team to beat for this speedster.

Tyler Campbell is the son of Hall-of-Famer Earl Campbell. The Austin, TX back is listed as 6-1, 190 pounds with 4.52 speed. Campbell appears very interested in Notre Dame and plans to attend their camp this summer in June. Campbell rushed for 1,296 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior.

Another top target appears to be Greenville, NC prospect Andre Brown. Brown is listed at 6-2, 211 pounds with 4.48 speed. Brown rushed for 2, 198 yards and 16 touchdowns on only 159 carries. He mentions the Irish often and the Irish have been recruiting him pretty heavily. If the Irish offer, expect them to be in the race.

Terrell Jackson is another back they will likely recruit. The Corona, CA prospect is 5-8, 185 pounds with 4.46 speed. Jackson rushed for 2, 344 yards and 44 touchdowns as a junior. The Irish don't appear to be high on his list at this point but Notre Dame will likely recruit him.

One player Irish fans hope the Irish can recruit is Tony Temple. Temple is 5-10, 195 pounds with 4.35 speed. He rushed for 2, 035 yards and 35 touchdowns last year. They only question regarding Temple will be qualifying for Notre Dame academically. He is close but it's possible he might not be able to qualify for Notre Dame to recruit him. Keep an eye on him.

Other names to keep an eye on are Kaysonne Anderson, Dwayne Jones and Jay Lucas. Irish Eyes has spoken to Anderson and he appears interested. We haven't been able to speak to Jones or Lucas yet but hear they could be prospects the Irish target.

Expect the names to change on this list. It's still very early in the process and names will be added and removed from the wish list. Hopefully the Irish can land two quality running backs because they need the depth and talent after Julius Jones puts the final stamp on his career at Notre Dame.


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