The commitment of Kerry Neal, DE/TE, 6-3, 225, Bunn High School, Bunn, N.C. constituted the biggest recruiting news out of South Bend this past week. Neal received his offer from Charlie Weis via his coach's voice mail. Neal's coach returned Weis's call and after speaking with the Notre Dame head coach, Neal verballed on the spot.
"Me and my coach called him back," explained Neal. "He really did all the talking. He said he saw my film and that they were recruiting me. He said he knew a player when he saw a player. He said he was offering me a scholarship. I was speechless then I said I accept. It's been a school that I've been a fan of since I was a little kid."
Though Neal isn't certain where ND plans to use him, he made it clear what he wanted—playing time.
"I play defensive end, linebacker and tight end," said Neal. "It doesn't matter as long as I get on the field."
Apparently Neal wasn't the only recruit left speechless by Charlie Weis last week. Scout preseason Top 100 and four-star prospect Ryan Miller, OL, 6-7, 280, Columbine High School, Littleton, Colo. received an offer from the Irish head coach and, like Neal, found himself momentarily lacking the words to describe the feeling.
"I got a text message from the recruiting coordinator, Rob Ianello, to give them a call," said Miller. "I called them later that day and Mr. Weis said ‘this is your offer, we're going to take care of you.' That was pretty big news. I was speechless at first. It was great. I think it finally hit me that this is the real deal. Notre Dame is one of the top-notch programs in the country."
Though the Irish offer obviously pleased Miller, he's not in any hurry to make a decision as his recruiting begins to heat up. In addition to Notre Dame's scholarship offer, he has also received offers from Colorado and Nebraska. Miami has also begun to make its presence felt.
"Miami has been showing some big interest," Miller explained. "I want to take my visits, and when I choose a college, it's going to be where I feel most comfortable. You could say family feelings, the way I click with everyone there. That's what I'm going to base my decision off of."
Though Cedric Everson, CB, 6-1, 175, Mumford High School, Detroit, Mich. has yet to receive the coveted Irish offer, that doesn't mean that the staff hasn't been paying Everson plenty of attention.
"They showed me the love that some other programs haven't," said Everson. "They made me feel like they wanted me there."
Everson's father is also his coach and he's seen plenty of college coaches darken his door in the nearly thirty years he's coached high school football. So when the Eversons, coach and son, visited Notre Dame for the 2005 Syracuse game, it was obviously going to take something more than a game day atmosphere to impress the elder Everson. Charlie Weis proved to be that "something more."
"I've been a coach now for almost 30 years," coach Everson explained. "Being a high school coach I've met quite a few college coaches and NFL coaches, even I was stunned because he (Weis) is really a nice guy—genuinely. He had a game that day and he sat down with each and every recruit that came in that day."
Apparently, the coach and son shared similar feelings, not just about Weis, but also about the entire staff and university.
"The type of feeling that you're in the right place and you fit in, that's the way I feel about Notre Dame," said Cedric. "It feels like I'm in the right place. I just fell in love. It was love at first sight."
Everson's feelings about Notre Dame were only reinforced by his 14 January Junior Day visit. It helps that he has a source on the current roster from whom he can get inside information.
"David Grimes and I went to elementary school together," Cedric said. "He said you get to meet different people and you're in a different environment. He said everything is good and he likes it."
And the staff seems to feel very good about Everson as well. Of course, it's easy for college recruiters to feel good about a player who has been timed at 4.29 in the 40 and 10.5 in the 100 meters. Everson put that blinding speed to great use on the football field where he put up eye-popping junior numbers that featured 13 interceptions, 10 of which he returned for touchdowns and 10 punt and kickoff returns for touchdowns.
Everson has offers from Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa State, Vanderbilt, Villanova, North Carolina and most of the MAC schools.
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