Dunford's Deep 20: James Aldridge

Highly regarded running back James Aldridge was the most recent Irish commitment to answer an arsenal of questions this week's installment of Dunford's Deep Twenty. Aldridge answered questions about friend and fellow Irish commit Munir Prince, the offensive linemen he's trying to lure to ND, and why he chose Notre Dame over Oklahoma State. Get the inside scoop below.

Dunford: How is your running style different than Munir Prince's running style?

Aldridge: Because of the size difference between Munir and me, you can consider me a power back, but I'm not strictly a power back. I can run outside, cut, and get down field, but Munir is more of a slasher. I think me being bigger means that I can also take more hits than a smaller back.

Dunford: What did Coach Weis say to you when he found out that you were going to commit to Notre Dame?

Aldridge: He pretty much said that I was going to be a good asset for the team and that he new I was a special player. He also knew that Notre Dame was the right place for me.

Dunford: Why did you commit to Notre Dame over Oklahoma State?

Aldridge: What it came down to is that I wanted my family to see me play. Also, with Notre Dame you learn about being a successful man, as well as a successful football player. Additionally, I really didn't want them, my parents, to go through all the hassle with traveling to see me play, when they can just come right down the road and see me play. I live about 45 minutes away from Notre Dame.

Dunford: What will be different about Notre Dame football next year?

Aldridge: Honestly, I don't think many college coaches are NFL-minded like coach Weis. A lot of coaches will think they will be ready for coach Weis's schemes, but I don't know. I wouldn't be surprised if Brady has one of the most successful years he would ever had next year. He looked real good in the spring game.

Dunford: When you play PS2 with Munir, who wins?

Aldridge: He's good at Madden, but I'm good at college. He's more defensive-minded than offensive-minded. We constantly bowl as well. He's still kind of still working at it, but I can be beat him using my left hand, and I am right-handed.

Dunford: Which running back do you run like?

Aldridge: Honestly, my favorite back is Bo Jackson. I don't want to put a label on myself because Bo Jackson was a pure athlete, and people like that come along once in a lifetime, but I really liked Bo Jackson.

Dunford: Who was the most electrifying college football player last year?

Aldridge: Ronnie Brown, without a doubt. He was a specimen. I liked him back when he was just starting out, before he got a lot of recognition. He's sort of like Bo in the sense that that type of athlete comes a long once in lifetime. Cadillac was also good, but I prefer Ronnie.

Dunford: You visited both Notre Dame and Oklahoma State. How are the two campuses and programs different?

Aldridge: They are kind of alike. Both have nice campuses, and both were high on my list, but when I decided to commit to Notre Dame, it just came down to a gut feeling. I just knew it was the place for me. Even if I was still lived in St. Louis I would have ended up at Notre Dame.

Dunford: Notre Dame needs offensive linemen. Who would you like to see come to Notre Dame and play with you?

Aldridge: Bartley Webb, without a doubt. I've got to have him. If there is one lineman I'm going to get to come with me it's going to get Bartley. I've talked to Zach (Frazer) about Richard Jackson. It seems his parents like ND, and that he is one of those playmakers, and a go-to guy; you always need one of those.

Dunford: Have you ever talked to Darius Walker? What was that conversation like? What was discussed?

Aldridge: Yeah, I talked to him when I went to a junior day. It was right after practice so we didn't talk much. He just introduced himself and asked me if I was thinking about coming here. I was like, "yeah."

Dunford: Hypothetically, if Notre Dame is in the National Championship game three years from now, and they are down by four in the closing minutes of the game, who gets the ball and why?

Aldridge: Man, you have to give me the ball. I'll get you the yards you need.,/P>

Dunford: What famous person would you most like to meet? Why?

Aldridge: Bo Jackson. I would like to meet him. I actually met Michael Vick in a Footlocker in Atlanta a while ago, but I would like to meet Bo Jackson the most. It would be crazy to meet him.

Dunford: Why should recruits follow you to Notre Dame?

Aldridge: Because I see something special happening there. We are kind of putting the team together right now. Plus, why would you want to pass it up? Notre Dame is a tradition-filled school and the education is great. How could you pass it up?

Dunford: What number would you like to wear at Notre Dame?

Aldridge: I've thought about wearing the number 23, but I guess that number is taken. I guess if I can't have that number I'd take 34 or 1. But I've always believed that it's the man that makes the number, not the number that makes the man; so you can put me in whatever number you wan to. But I'd prefer 23, 34, or 1.

Dunford: What skill/talent must all great running backs have?

Aldridge: Vision, that's the main thing. Some running backs can see what others can't. I guess that's what separates a good running back from a great one.

Dunford: Munir says that high school football is easier in Indiana. Is that true?

Aldridge: Oh no. Actually, Munir plays in Metro Catholic Conference. Munir's conference is ok, but he should be getting like 3000 yards per season. I play in one of the toughest conferences in the state. But it's different in Indiana. I guess it's because Missouri football is based more around speed. In Indiana there are more lineman. When you get hit by those players, the bigger ones from Indiana, you're going to feel it. That's because there is a lot of big players.

Dunford: Speaking of Missouri, why did you leave there?

Aldridge: My Dad got transferred from the Ford plant. I was just going to live in Munir and finish high school there, but I went to Indiana and helped my parents move, checked out the high school, and I decided to stay.

Dunford: When did you realize that you could one day play college football? When did you say to yourself, "I have the talent to do this?"

Aldridge: I'm still kind of like really realizing that it's actually happening. I always thought I wanted to be successful in sports and actually get a scholarship and play somewhere, but most kids have those dreams. But I guess when I got to junior high, and I was still successful and was playing with the older guys, I knew that I might play college football.

Dunford: What goals do you plan on accomplishing during your senior season of high school football?

Aldridge: Have another successful season, honestly. I want to have a successful season and I want my team to be successful. I would like to try to win a state title. Actually, we have a legitimate chance to go to state. We are a pretty dominate school in Indiana, and we are usually in the state title hunt. The last couple of years we have been pretty close to winning a state title.

Dunford: What's the most important thing for a football coach to have to be successful?

Aldridge: A knack for winning and being able to be successful. You also have to be one of those coaches that bond with your players.

Dunford: Luke Schmidt is a current Irish recruiting target. What advice would you give him?

Aldridge: I would tell him to look at your college choice as if you didn't play football, where would you want to go to school. That's the thing with Notre Dame, you get the benefit of getting a good education through playing football.

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories