CoachSpeak: Irish Get Versatility in Onwualu

Notre Dame picked up its third commitment of the 2013 class when Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul, Minn.) receiver gave a non-binding oral commitment Wednesday. His coach, Mike Scanlan, spoke to IrishEyes.com about the type of player the Irish are getting.

Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul, Minn.) coach Mike Scanlan knew something was different Wednesday when standout player James Onwualu decided to visit Notre Dame and was absent from school.

It turned out by the time the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Onwualu left campus, he was the third member of the Irish's 2013 class.

"I think (Notre Dame is) getting a very good athlete," Scanlan said. "I think he can play running back, wide receiver or safety. I don't know what they have him slotted as, but I think he can play all-around. He plays very tough, very competitive, very focused. They're getting a good person in addition to being a good athlete."

While Scanlan believes Onwualu can play any of the aforementioned positions, Notre Dame recruited him to play receiver. But a selling point was Onwualu can be used in various roles, including lining up in the backfield in certain formations.

"He reminds me of Marcus Allen when he has the ball," Scanlan said. "So, whether they throw him the ball or hand him the ball, I think that's a moot point. He's demonstrated he has good hands, he runs good routes.

"You can just turn around and give him the ball because he has guys in front of him. You don't need to give him much of a hole. He'll take advantage of it."

One of the things that was key in the Irish securing the commitment over Stanford, Michigan and Minnesota was Notre Dame's history with Cretin-Derhham.

Ryan Harris, Rashon Powers-Neal, Marcus Freeman and Michael Floyd all went from Cretin-Derham to Notre Dame.

"We have a history of Notre Dame taking good care of our student-athletes," Scanlan said. "He's seen guys that have walked the hallowed halls of Cretin-Derham Hall do very well there. Once they get them in, they take care of them. All those guys walk out with their degree and I think in this day and age in a Division I football program, that says a lot about the school.

"You're not just a commodity. When they get you in, they make it worth your while."

The Irish are also getting a player with very high character and leadership skills on the field.

"He's vocal, but the deal is whatever he says, he can back up," Scanlan said. "I think he does most of his talking with his actions. I know that sounds cliché, but in James' case I think it's very true."


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