A key to Notre Dame's return to prominence will be if they are able to successfully recruit a few top players from Ohio. It will help considerably if the prospect grew up an Irish fan as Andrew Dailey (6-3, 205 pounds) did. The standout defensive prospect has made a number of trips to South Bend; his most recent was for the January 14 junior day.
"I just love it," Dailey said of his visit. "When I got to Notre Dame we met at the Gug, the weight room center, and that is just phenomenal. Coach Weis talked to all the guys. They stressed academics and how important it is there. That's the main thing catches my eye about Notre Dame. If I'm not going to get drafted when I leave Notre Dame, I'm going to have a chance to get a great job. That's the No.1 thing.
"Coach Weis told us he's not leaving until his son graduates from there. I definitely think he's going to get them back to that top-notch level."
Notre Dame may be on their way toward the top, but a loss to Dailey's home state Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl on January 2 proved that the Irish have more work to do.
"I see Ohio State as a competitive school that's in the top five every year," Dailey said when asked if he was also a fan of his home state Buckeyes . "That's what I always looked at Notre Dame as; they can always be up there. Now they're coming back around and then I just love their academic program.
"I can tell you those are my top two schools for sure. They're totally two different places. I went to the Ohio State/Texas game this year and there were so many people at that game. There were 100,000 people at that game. Then I went to the Notre Dame/USC game; there only 85,000 fans, but just the way their fans and students are it seemed like there were 125,000 people there."
Although the Irish lost a tight game to the Trojans, Dailey was impressed with how the Irish competed throughout the year.
"Coach Weis' offense and playing calling is phenomenal," Dailey explained. "He's bringing a more professional style to the college level. On defense they need a little more speed which why they said they want me there, but other than that all their players play with a lot of heart.
"When they played USC, (the defense) played with a lot of heart and they hustled to the ball, so they kept them in the game, I thought. You can just tell that the coaching staff brings that to the team and that they're trying to be a top competitor like they had been in the past.
"I think their recruiting is turning around. I noticed they brought in one of the top corners in the nation from North Carolina this year. I'd love to be a part of that. I love to play defense and hit people."