"Coach Weis, he's a winner," said Asaph Schwapp of his new coach. "There is no other way to put it. He hates losing and that's the type of coach I like to play for."
Losing is something Schwapp didn't experience a lot of in high school. While playing fullback and serving as a team captain, he helped guide his team to a 9-1 mark. Unfortunately, unlike the preceding two years, his team missed the playoffs.
"We went 9-1, but we missed the playoffs," he said. "It was the first time we haven't made the playoffs in about three years."
Though missing the playoffs was disheartening, Schwapp hasn't let this misfortune sour his desire to improve himself as a football player. Presently he is running and lifting, and he will soon start a Notre Dame workout
"After I sign, Notre Dame will send me a workout," Schwapp said. "Right now I am just running and lifting. I need to improve my forty time, my lower body strength, and balance. I want to improve my balance so I can have better leverage during contact."
Motivating Schwapp to become a better football player is also his desire to play as a true freshman next year. He recognizes the transition from high school to college will be difficult, but knowing he will have the opportunity to compete fuels his hunger to play.
"I realize that it's going to be a hard transition going from high school to college, and that it will involve a lot of hard work, but I will be trying to compete next year," Schwapp said. "I want to start, and the coaches say the spot [fullback position] is going to be open; whoever works will get it."
Schwapp's high school football coach, Robert Fleeting, knows about Schwapp's work ethic. He coached Schwapp for four years and has seen him grow as a football player under his tutelage. Schwapp used his devastating blocking techniques to help two teammates become all-state running backs. Coach Fleeting recognized Schwapp's natural football talent as a freshman.
"Asaph came in as a freshman with a natural frame. He played a couple of games and as sophomore I began to see that he was good at blocking," said Fleeting. "He would go against seniors and just knock them on their backs"
"He really enjoys blocking and likes knocking people down. He manhandles opposing players and he has a really great work ethic. Even now you see him grabbing kids in the hallway and getting them in to the gym."
Possessing an imposing physique and the ideal fullback frame, Coach Fleeting believes, physically, Schwapp is perhaps ready to play right now.
"He is dominating, excels in the weight room, and is an excellent blocker," Fleeting said. "I would say that he is physically ready to play right now. He's like a boy in a man's body, but I really can't call him a boy because he's more mature than that."
A sign of Schwapp's maturity is his reasons for signing with Notre Dame. The value of the Notre Dame degree, as well as the level of comfort he felt with the both players and new Irish offensive coordinator, Mike Haywood, prevented Schwapp from wavering in his commitment during the firing of Tyrone Willingham.
"I felt more comfortable at Notre Dame, and I felt in the long run a degree from Notre Dame was better than another university," Schwapp said. "Notre Dame is up there with the Ivy league schools.
"Mike Haywood recruited me. He's real fun. He's easy to talk to and he's younger than some of the other coaches so he is easy to talk to. Plus, he's developed some great running backs like Cedric Benson and Kevin Faulk."
Haywood's tutelage will certainly help Schwapp meet his full potential. Add Schwapp's work ethic, drive, and natural fullback ability to the mixture and perhaps next year Notre Dame fans will see glimpses what coach Fleeting recognized as a physically dominating and imposing player. For now, fans can only salivate on the notion of what could be.