Mbakagu Looking To Expand His Horizons

Tomorrow, Notre Dame will open its 2003 season against Washington State, but behind the scenes, California's highly touted lineman, Phillip Mbakagu(pronounced ba-kahg), will be making one of his official recruiting visits to South Bend, Ind. to see what the Irish have to offer. Irish Eyes discussed with him his upcoming trip to discover what he expects and how the recruiting process has been going for him.

Calling Phillip Thursday evening, I was nicely greeted by Mr. Mbakagu, whom I had spoken earlier seeking permission to speak with her son. She immediately gave the phone to Phillip, who was washing dishes at the time. I was quickly greeted by a polite, open young man amid the clang and clatter of dishes and pans. So we proceeded to talk as he finished up his chores.

Being recruited by Coach McDonnell, the Student Sports Junior All-American from last year has been in close contact with. "They've been talking about grades and S.A.T. scores and try to see how interested in the school I am, which I am very interested in," he said. I wouldn't be visiting if I wasn't. They're just trying to see what kind of person I am."

With all the attention he is getting from Notre Dame, we wondered how much Phillip knows about The Fighting Irish. "I had a little childhood dream about going to Notre Dame after watching the movie, Rudy," he confided.

Not one to limit himself, Phillip is a bit of his own person and looks to expand his horizons, especially with how the weather conditions can get in South Bend at times. "Oh the weather isn't going to be a factor," he said. "I'm looking to change my whole climate."

With all the attention, Irish Eyes wondered if the recruiting process has been getting crazy for him. "A little bit," he said. Coaches are calling me every ten minutes and I'm trying to my homework and all. I'm just trying to make myself a smart guy and make sure I get my grades."

Comments: Phillip is definitely a great young man. His mom is very sweet and you can just tell they as a family are incredibly good people. Currently he is wide open and just looking to play in any of the major conferences. Although the fact that Notre Dame is his first one speaks volumes. He doesn't plan to commit till the end, but we'll see how it goes when he gets back. I told him that I'd be calling back. Top Stories