Irish Commits Won't Wait For August

Coach Tyrone Willingham might have wanted everyone to report in August but many of his top players can't wait that long. Dwight Stephenson, Trevor Laws and Greg Olsen all plan to be in South Bend for at least part of the summer.

I kept trying to reach Dwight Stephenson last night but he was on the phone trying to find a hotel within walking distance of Notre Dame. Dwight finally found a room. "I've been trying to find a room and I finally found one," said Stephenson. "I'm leaving for South Bend tomorrow. I just can't sit around here and wait. I want to get up there and start working out with the team."

Stephenson said he plans to stay in South Bend for a couple of weeks. "I've been working for a construction company but I wanted to get up there and start working out with the team. I want to get an idea of what to expect and how hard they work out. I just think having other guys around motivates you. I've been doing their work out program and a little bit extra. I'm 230 pounds right now."

Stephenson says he is excited about reporting to Notre Dame and so is his family. "They gave me 57, that was my Dad's number. My family said they would be at about eight games this year so they are excited too. They told me I would start out at outside linebacker but I could be moved to defensive end."

Stephenson has set a few goals for himself in his first year. "I want to get a 3.5 in school. I want to maintain that average all through college. I also want to get on the field. I'm just going to learn the system as quickly as I can and hopefully my athletic ability will get me on the field.

Trevor Laws has been busy as well. "I graduated and we went to North Carolina along the Outer Banks for a family reuinion. A cousin got married and we also celebrated my graduation. It was a lot of fun seeing all my family together."

Laws also spent some time with current commit John Sullivan. "I flew out there for a few days. He is a great guy. We had a lot of fun."

Both players are outstanding wrestlers so I asked if a few battles were held? "Yeah, we had a few rumbles." So who won? "I did of course." But Trevor, what if I asked John the same question? "He'd probably say he won." Is it safe to say it was a draw? "Yeah probably, I don't think it's settled yet." Sullivan and Laws will likely line up against each other on the field too. "Yeah, it will continue on the field and probably elsewhere as well. He's a great guy and I love hanging out with him."

Laws has been taking the lifting serious however. "I've been lifting real hard. I'm 275 right now. I've been doing the running and I'm trying to get my body into running shape. They have a speed camp up here that I might sign up for too. I think Harris, Carlson and I are coming to South Bend in July. After the 4th of July we are going down there to work out."

Laws also attended the spring game and came away impressed. "It was awesome. Just thinking that in a few months these guys are going to be my teammates is exciting. We had about 10 guys in my class there and we all went out and hung out. I like all those guys."

Laws is one of the happiest big guys you could run into. He is always laughing and doesn't take himself too seriously. He said he is just going to go in and learn his first year. "I'm going to attach myself to Big Ced (Cedric Hilliard)and Darrell (Campbell). Those two are amazing players and I want to learn as much as I can from them. I'm sure I will get my butt kicked a few times but that is how you learn. I'm just going to work my butt off next year and learn as much as I can and hopefully I will have a chance next year to start." I'm betting Laws does just that--start next year.

Greg Olsen has been lucky to have his brother Chris around. "He's been here since school has been out. He just left yesterday. He knows the program and he knows what it takes so he helps me out with working out. We do the program and we do our own stuff. We work out together every day. We go out and throw and work on the things we need to work on."

Olsen participated in track this spring. "I placed second in state in the shot. I threw 59' 1 1/2" so I was happy about that."

Olsen also has a place to stay this summer and will be staying with his brother. I'm going out there (Notre Dame) July 6th to work out. I will be there until they have to go back home before the season starts. I want to get started right away and there is no use in me staying here. I will be working out with the team and learning the system working with the quarterbacks and tight ends."

Olsen has set a few goals for himself. "I'm going to come out and compete for the starting tight end position. If I don't compete for that, I'm not doing what I need to do. I'm just going to do as well as I can and see what happens. My goal is to start and that should always be my goal."

Coach Willingham might have wanted these players to enjoy their summer but their competitiveness is driving them to South Bend. They all know any little extra bit can go a long way. I would bet most of the current commitments stop by Notre Dame for a work out or two before the summer is over. Top Stories