Aquinas has produced its fair share of quality football players over the years. For the old-timers, Brian Piccolo may be the most famous player to play at Aquinas (Central Catholic). For the young guys asking "Who is Brian Piccolo?," you cannot consider yourself a football fan without seeing "Brian Song". Go rent it--it's a classic.
The next Raider star in the making is offensive lineman Sam Young. When the Irish go down to St. Thomas Aquinas to recruit Young, it won't be Notre Dame's first stop at this south Florida power. In 2002, Notre Dame recruited Aquinas running back David Marrero. Marrero initially committed to the Irish in the summer of 2002, but he ended up signing with Stanford. The last player Notre Dame signed from St. Thomas Aquinas was wide receiver Bobby Brown (95'-99').
Last season, Young helped the Raiders rush for 2,276 yards (162.6 yards per game), and an appearance in the 5A state championship game. He was one of only five juniors to be named first team All Broward for Class 6A-4A. He also holds a number of scholarship offers already.
"Miami, Pittsburgh, Duke, Rutgers, Michigan, Ole Miss, Alabama, Penn St. have offered," said Young when asked which schools have offered him already. "I'm getting mail from all over. I am getting mail from Notre Dame, but they haven't offered."
The top prospect says he plans to take a few unofficial visits in the near future.
"I'm going to the Duke junior day this weekend," Yound said. "Then I might go visit Oregon. I've heard Oregon is a great place -- I'd just like to check it out. I'm really just trying to take things in. I'm going to look at a lot of schools and find the right fit."
Distance is something that is generally a factor when Notre Dame recruits from outside the Midwest, but since Young is considering Oregon that isn't the case.
"I've lived in Florida most of his life, but my family is originally from Pittsburgh area." Young said," Distance won't be a factor. Like I said, I'm going to check out a lot of schools."
Does Young have any plans to attended the Nike camp this spring?
"I'm not sure about that," he said. I'm talking to a couple people to see if it's something I should do so, right now it's up in the air.
"I'm not sure about other camps. I'd like to go to the "Down and Dirty" Offensive Lineman camp that's held in Tampa. It's just for offensive linemen -- you go up there and just get after it for a couple days.
"Miami's offensive line coach, coach Kehoe and the Miami Dolphins offensive line coach will be there. There will be a bunch of really good coaches up there." Young added.
Irish fans hoping that Young would be a Notre Dame fan because he attends a Catholic high school will be disappointed. Sam grew up rooting for Miami and Penn State. That doesn't mean he isn't interested in Notre Dame.
"I am very interested in Notre Dame." Young said, "I've heard a lot of great things about the school and the campus. I'd like to get a chance to see it.
"Notre Dame would be in my top five with Miami, Michigan, Penn State and Florida." Young added.
What does Young know about Notre Dame's new coaching staff?
"All I really know about Coach Weis is what I hear from ESPN," he said. "He seems like he's going to be a great coach. I mean he's won three of the last four super bowls -- that pretty much says it there."
Irish fans like to think everyone should be interested in Notre Dame, but Young isn't from the Midwest and he hasn't ever been to the Notre Dame campus. He didn't grow up rooting for Notre Dame, and he's about half my age, which means he probably doesn't recall the "glory days". So why does Notre Dame appeal to a prospect like Young?
"Notre Dame is college football. When you think college basketball, you think Duke. When you think college football you think Notre Dame." Young explained, "I read a lot on the history of football. I've read a lot about Notre Dame and I've read some stuff on Knute Rockne.
"Notre Dame is college football. It doesn't get any better than that. They're on television every week. They have a great tradition, and great academics. I understand that they've had some down years, but that doesn't concern me. They have high expectations and high academic standards.
"I can understand why people say that it will be tough to get them back to the top, but that's also the attraction. If I go to Notre Dame, I get to be part of the Notre Dame tradition. I also get to build a new tradition."
Comments: Young seemed like a laid back kid. He seemed very confident and a no-nonsense type of kid. Notre Dame is probably a behind in the recruiting process with him though. Sam has been keeping in touch with other coaching staffs through e-mail and he has had a chance to build some relationships already. Sam definitely seems to understand Notre Dame, and he definitely seems like a Notre Dame kid. Notre Dame certainly has a chance, but it's going to be a tough pull from Florida.