It is human nature to take for granted what one already has. Materialistic items, loved ones, money, a college degree, and so forth are all taken for granted every day across America.
Football recruiting, oddly enough, is much the same. Taking a look at the Irisheyes.com message boards there is little talk about the recruits already committed to Notre Dame, and a plethora of speculation about who the next commitment(s) might be. It is time to reflect upon the recruits that have already pledged to the Irish.
Kallen Wade is not only an important recruit for Notre Dame after Victor Abiamiri leaves, but with the current Notre Dame depth chart so thin at rush end Wade could step in as Abiamiri's backup during the 2006 fall camp. Scary, but regrettably true. It is difficult to find pure pass rushers like Wade, especially so early within the recruiting calendar. Wade was a huge pickup for the Irish.
Zach Frazer committed so early to Notre Dame that the signal caller did not receive the national attention he deserved. Michigan, Miami and several other schools were close to offering the Pennsylvania native before he selected Notre Dame, while Penn State, Syracuse, Georgia Tech and Louisville among other schools had also extended a scholarship offer to Frazer. Frazer is the all-time single season passing yardage record holder for the state of Pennsylvania. And this just in, Pennsylvania has produced its share of quarterbacks over the years.
Bartley Webb is the latest known commitment to the Irish, and he was a big catch, both figuratively and literally. Webb is expected to play offensive tackle for the Irish, which was a big recruiting priority this year. Luring a talented player like Webb away from schools such as Texas, Florida and Michigan is not an easy task, not to mention Arkansas, which is located roughly 10 minutes from Webb's house.
It would not be right to mention Webb without mentioning James Aldridge next. If I had a dollar for every time Aldridge asked me about where I thought Notre Dame stood with Webb's recruitment this summer I'd have my next truck payment. Aldridge is the real deal. Aldridge is a punishing runner with speed, vision, the ability to make tacklers miss, great hands out of the backfield, and finally, he is a team leader that does not cause any problems for his coaches. Aldridge will play from day one for Notre Dame.
A lot of fans probably do not know that much about John Ryan, yet. Do yourself a favor; go watch Ryan play this year. If you are in South Bend for the Michigan State game check Ryan out as St. Ignatius plays against Penn the Friday night before the Irish and Spartans collide. Ryan is an all-out effort football player. And that is not because he lacks talent. No sir, Ryan utilizes good technique and has pass rushing skills that will allow him the opportunity to contribute early at Notre Dame. St. Ignatius is one of the best coached high school football teams any place in America. Watching them play is a treat all to its own.
Ryan's high school teammate and good friend Rob Parris will be joining him at Notre Dame next summer. Paris is an excellent athlete that is known for his high flying slam dunks at the gym as much as his leaping receptions on the gridiron. If you don't believe me, ask Ryan, who told me as much. Paris is a skinny-legged kid now, but he has a lot of upside. Parris is best known for his sure hands, but he is faster than most think. He is a welcome addition to the Notre Dame football program.
Luke Schmidt is probably best described as the guy that would use the line "what do you need me to do coach," in a movie. Schmidt plays mainly tailback for Jasper High School, but is expected to make the transition to fullback at Notre Dame. With Schmidt's physical attributes he could also end up at other positions as well. His versatility is one of his best attributes. You can bet that Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis will utilize Schmidt's talents.
It is still hard to believe that Barry Gallup chose Notre Dame over Boston College. Of course his father works within the Eagles football office. Can you imagine the ribbing he is going to take over the course of the next several years? All in good fun, but still…Gallup was certainly a surprising pickup for the Irish.
Paddy Mullen is the young man that Notre Dame went after at tight end this year. He has exceptional hands (I have seen his sophomore footage) and he is a big target indeed. Mullen is as close to an Anthony Fasano clone as you can be.
Last but certainly not least, Munir Prince, who is a teammate of Mullen and best friends with Aldridge. Prince brings an element of speed to the game that Notre Dame generally struggles to land. Prince will play tailback at Notre Dame, but it is hard not to imagine coach Weis utilizing Prince's talents at the slot receiver position when matched up with a linebacker or safety, as well as returning punts and kickoffs, something Prince does extremely well. The first varsity play Prince ever participated in was a kickoff return. He returned the kickoff for a touchdown. Do not be surprised if Prince is an integral part of the Notre Dame offense by the end of his sophomore year.