The Irish have two experienced safeties roaming the secondary in Tommy Zbikowski and Chinedum Ndukwe, but behind them Notre Dame is thin and inexperienced. In order to shore up the depth, the coaching staff has added three safeties to the 2006 recruiting class. Sergio Brown, Leonard Gordon and Jashaad Gaines all committed to Notre Dame shortly after the visiting on the same weekend.
Gaines hadn't ever been to the Notre Dame even though his sister, Tulyah, is a sophomore on the women's basketball team. The siblings are very close, so she did share her impression of what life at Notre Dame would be like when her little brother was considering making South Bend his home.
"She says it's nothing like living in Vegas," Jashaad said of his conversations with his sister. "She says she doesn't need all that excitement, and all the partying. She said she's there for a purpose.
"When I went down there we did have fun, so I know you can have fun down there. It was an official visit. I thought it was real cool, and I had a lot of fun.
"Talking with the coaches it seemed like I could work well with them. They really take care of their players," Gaines said of his conversations with the Irish coaches. "I met coach Lewis when I was up there. You can tell he expects a lot out of his players. It just seemed like I could work well with him and he'd make me into a better player.
Gaines wasn't a prospect that many Notre Dame fans mentioned in recruiting conversations over the summer, but the Irish staff identified him as a player they wanted fairly early in the recruiting process.
"I called coach Oliver and he said I have some good news," he recalled. "He said they had been on the road recruiting and when he came back they looked at my tape and then talked to coach Weis. He said ‘Yeah we're going to offer you a scholarship.' I was ecstatic.
"Late July," Gained said of the timing of his scholarship offer from Notre Dame. "I guess they got word that I got offers from Oklahoma, Nebraska, Washington, Arizona State, Utah and Stanford. Oklahoma was the first one to offer me.
Jashaad's excitement over his scholarship offer made him to schedule an early official visit, and as they say, the rest is history. He's as excited today as he was back in July, but now his excitement is over the way his future teammates are competing.
"I watch them," he said of the Notre Dame games. "I try to watch the defensive backs to see what I can improve on, so when I come in next year I'll be as prepared as I can be. I know they're playing real hard, that's for sure. They're playing a lot different than last year. They just seem more motivated than they did last year. Altogether people are flying around in the game all game. It just didn't seem like they were doing that last year.
Like a lot of Notre Dame's recruits, Jashaad's high school team is heading into the playoffs with hopes of securing a state title.
"Our team is doing real good, we're 8-1," Gaines said. "Since the first loss we've been dogging everybody. We lost to a team in Utah, so we haven't lost to anyone in Las Vegas. We haven't had a game within 15 points since our first game. We've got the No.1 spot for the playoffs.