Trattou Someone to Get Excited About

As we all know, Irish head coach Charlie Weis is from New Jersey—something he's very proud of. But to date, Weis has yet to sign a single player from the talent-rich Garden state. We expect that to change in 2006, and the Irish are recruiting a number of New Jersey's top prospects this season. One is defensive end Justin Trattou. I recently watched Trattou's highlight film, and here are my thoughts on this four-star prospect.

Defensive end prospect Justin Trattou is obviously very high on Notre Dame's wish list for 2006. The 6-4, 230-pound pass rusher visited South Bend for Notre Dame's first junior day and came away with an official offer. What does the Irish staff see in Trattou? I tried to find out.

Turn on Trattou's film and the first thing that comes to my mind is Kyle Budinscak. Now I know that might not excite a lot of Irish fans, but I do see a quicker Budinscak, and that's a good thing.

Budinscak's final season was also Tyrone Willingham's last. It was a miserable, disappointing and frustrating season to watch, and certainly to cover from a journalistic perspective. But the one thing you could always count on during that season was Budinscak coming to play on every down, no matter what the circumstances. Trattou is a true, blue Jersey guy—like Budinscak--with the work ethic Weis wants.

What I like the most about Trattou is he's relentless—at least on his highlight film. He's a sideline-to-sideline player that won't give up until the play is finished.

The Ramsey, N.J. native is listed at 6-4, 230 pounds, and I'd say that is pretty accurate based on what I can see on his film. He looks like he has a frame to add quite a few more pounds, and he's very light on his feet at this size.

Most Irish fans were able to watch film of 2006 commit John Ryan. Trattou is very similar in size and may be even quicker than Ryan on film. He certainly showed the persistent pursuit Ryan showed on film, and probably even a little more. Another name that comes to mind for me is former Nebraska great Grant Wistrom.

Trattou sheds blocks well when playing the run. On many occasions on the film the offense will hit him with two and sometimes three guys, and he's throwing aside blockers to make the tackle. He's a scraper in the fact that someone might get an early advantage and you can just see the anger and the perseverance take over. He lines up low at the line of scrimmage and does a good job of trying getting under and around his opposition. He seems to hit his gaps quickly, much like Derek Landri currently does for the Irish, allowing him to make a lot of plays in the backfield.

The Don Bosco high school star also rushes the passer very well. He's got a very quick first step, and he's gets moving in a hurry. He's got the kind of quickness chasing a quarterback that Irish fans would get excited about.

He moves well left and right in avoiding backs trying to pick him up when in pursuit, and he also uses his hands well when trying to get by his blockers. He showed good strength on his bull-rush technique and seemed to be well coached in all aspects of playing defensive end.

Ideally he'll probably end up being a strong-side defensive end. Normally people don't get excited when hearing that, but he's a good pass rusher with excellent quickness. It's been awhile since Notre Dame had two good pass rushers manning both defensive end slots. Trattou appears to be the type of player who could give you that from the strong side position.

The good news is Trattou appears very interested in Notre Dame. Weis is a Jersey guy, and those Jersey guys usually stick together. Weis is also a very good recruiter and he'll be all over Trattou this season. I'm going to bet Weis will land this top prospect when it's all said and done. Top Stories