Notre Dame offensive line coach John Latina is the assistant coach responsible for recruiting Jacques McClendon for the Irish. So far so good as the 6-3, 325-pound offensive guard from Chattanooga, Tenn., (The Baylor School) is now set to take his official visit to Notre Dame.
"I'm going to Notre Dame for the SC (Southern California) game," McClendon said of his official visit with Notre Dame. "We usually have practice on Saturdays, but on that particular weekend we don't have practice."
Coach Latina is using an approach with McClendon that Notre Dame has not recently been able to sell: playing in an NFL-style offense.
"He just talked about there at Notre Dame that I'd be 10 times ahead of anywhere else because of the pro-style offense they run," McClendon said. "Notre Dame would really help prepare me for the NFL."
"Coach Latina said I remind him of Chris Spencer who played for him at Ole Miss," McClendon continued.
Spencer was one of the Southeastern Conference's top offensive lineman during the 2004 season while playing center, and playing center is a possibility if McClendon comes to Notre Dame.
"Coach Latina said I could play either guard or center," McClendon said.
Beyond NFL aspirations, McClendon understands the history of Notre Dame football as well.
"Notre Dame is the greatest football program of all-time," he added.
McClendon had yet to narrow his list of schools during the month of August, but that process has now begun. Notre Dame will have heavy competition.
"I've got it narrowed down to about a top five," McClendon proclaimed. "Florida, Louisiana State, Tennessee, Notre Dame…oh, and Auburn."
Notre Dame is the only official visit that McClendon has set, but he is keeping tabs on several teams by watching their games on television.
"I watched the Tennessee game; I watched the Notre Dame game," McClendon said. "And I watched the Georgia Tech game (against Auburn). I watched the Bowling Green game. I think Omar Jacobs is the second best quarterback in the nation next to Leinhart. Oh, I watched the Oklahoma game. Man, I couldn't believe that game."
Most considering McClendon a lock to end up playing his football in Knoxville. McClendon says that is not the case.
"It's very realistic," McClendon answered when asked what the chances are he does not sign with the Vols. "It's the only school I've really been to. I just really need to see some other schools."
Tennessee head coach Philip Fulmer is considered to be one of the better recruiters college football has to offer. He certainly will not give up on McClendon without a fight.
"Just Philip Fulmer," McClendon answered when asked which head coaches he had spoken to since Sep. 1. "He called me at 7 AM Thursday morning (the first day coaches were allowed to call)."