Irish Watching Ohio Junior

Offensive lineman Mark Wetterer of Anderson high school (Cincinnati, Ohio) is going to be one of the best prospects that his school has ever produced. He also might be the best lineman in the state of Ohio next season. Does Notre Dame have a chance to get this talented lineman out of the Buckeye state?

Anderson high school head coach Vince Suriano has 32 years of coaching experience and he's had seen his fair share of quality high school players during his career. His junior offensive lineman Mark Wetterer might be the best he has seen come through his program.

"He has all the physical attributes to be a great offensive player, Coach Suriano said of Wetterer. "I've had quite a few players go on to play Division I football. I have Ty Hall playing at Boston College. I've got Chris Norwell starting on the defensive line at Illinois. I've got Bobby Sherman at Duke; I've got Steve Kosky at Miami of Ohio, who will be the starting center next year. So I have kids that have gone on to play and Mark is the best offensive lineman that I have coached."

There are a lot of big high school linemen throughout the nation, but the very good linemen have something that separates them from the average players.

"It's a number of things, he's really big and physical." coach Suriano explained what makes Wetterer a top prospect. "At 6-5, 290, he's a big, physical kid that's really put together. Some kids have a lot of adipose tissue on them, but he's 290-pounds and he looks like he' s 275 pounds. He's got some cut to him. He's mean and physical, aggressive.

"He's been starting as a sophomore. It's hard to do that here, and not many kids can do it. He's a very good run blocker and he has very good feet. In you heart, you know as a coach if you ever had a guy that could play for Ohio State, Notre Dame or Michigan, he's the kid. With the other kids there was always a question mark on where they may not be quite as good in a given area. Mark is a fierce, intense competitor. When it's fourth and two, we're running over him."

Wetterer is blessed with the physical tools to be a very good player. Most young football players don't understand what it takes off the practice field to improve their skills. Mark is one of the rare instances of a kid that is going continue to reach for the next level.

"Mark is an unbelievably hard worker in the weight room," coach Suriano said about Wetterer's work ethic. "He works on his skills, he runs and his brothers bring him down on the field and run pass sets with him. He'll get up at six o'clock in the morning and come in the gym and work. He works on his footwork and works on his running. In Ohio you have to have a 30-day off period before you can work with your kids again after your season is over. We played on Friday night and Mark started working on his own Monday. He has a great concept of the whole process and what he has to do".

Although Wetterer is only a junior, that doesn't mean the Irish staff hasn't been watching him closely. Notre Dame defensive coordinator knows the Anderson program well from his days as the head coach of the University of Cincinnati.

"Rick Minter has been in, and I know Rick very well because he was the head coach at Cincinnati," coach Suriano said of the Irish coach. "He has been in our high school and knows about us. He has a real good grasp of what we do. He's a very smart man. He's a football guy.

"Mark has been to Notre Dame. He went to the summer camp last year. Mark gets mail from them every week. He's been to Michigan and he's been to Ohio State."

With Wetterer making a trip to Notre Dame for the summer camp he had an opportunity to work with the Notre Dame offensive line coach John Latina.

"Yeah I did," Wetterer replied when asked if he enjoyed working with coach Latina. "Going through all the drills, he's a real nice guy. I liked him.

"I met coach Weis and I talked with him for awhile. I liked him as well. He said that he'd keep an eye on me and talk to my coach. He said that their recruiting coach in my area would be up to talk to me and my coach. He said that he was going to keep in touch with me."

Growing up in Ohio it is difficult not to root for the home-state Buckeyes, but Wetterer is open to looking at all of his option.

"Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia, Florida Sate, and a couple others down south like Georgia and South Carolina. No one has offered me yet, so I'm keeping my options open," Wetterer said of the schools that interest him at this time.

"I like Ohio State, but I've never really had a favorite college team. I've just watched whatever is on. I've always liked Notre Dame, every little kid likes Notre Dame, so I've liked them as well."

Now that Charlie Weis is at the head of the Irish program it is easier to be attracted to the program.

"I think he's turned the program around and brought it back to the top," Wetterer said of the Irish head coach. "I think there's going to be a championship there soon. I think he's just an amazing coach."


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