Judging by the offers issued by Charlie Weis this week, Notre Dame is aiming to move up from last year's Scout.com number five final recruiting ranking. Two of the three players offered were Scout.com preseason Top 100 and the third already hold offers from an impressive list of schools that include Penn State and Miami.
Marvin Austin, DT, 6-2, 292, Calvin Coolidge High School, Washington D.C. is ranked as a Top 100 player and five-star prospect in Scout.com's preseason ranking, and it's no secret that the Irish need defensive tackles who can come in and play right away. Judging from Austin's list of offers, he very well could be that player. Last week Notre Dame joined the list of suitors for Austin's services.
"Yeah, actually I called Coach Weis up and he offered me a scholarship," responded Austin when asked if the Irish had offered. "I was ecstatic about that. It was the highlight of my day, my week, my whole month probably."
Weis made it clear that Austin was a top priority for Notre Dame. And, as is so often the case, the Irish head coach impressed.
"That was my first time talking to him," said Austin of his first conversation with Weis. "It was good talking to him. He's a real easy-going person. I liked him. He seemed like a cool, down-to-earth guy. He said he wants good people and I'm a high character guy. Coach Weis said he liked my attitude. It was nice talking to him."
Of course, as with any blue-chip nationally recruited player, winning the recruiting battle for Austin will be difficult. Besides Notre Dame, he received offers from Auburn, Alabama and Florida just last week. That raises his scholarship offer total to around twenty. Other schools vying for Austin's services include Penn State, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Georgia and Tennessee. Still, the Irish seem to be in a strong position.
"They're one of my top schools right now," Austin said of Notre Dame. "They're Notre Dame."
While defensive tackle obviously represents a huge need this year, signing last year's Scout.com's No. 1 offensive line class doesn't mean Notre Dame can rest on its laurels at that position. The Irish coaching staff has once again gone out and aggressively targeted the top players at that position and is recruiting them heavily. Look for Notre Dame to sign three or four more top-flight offensive linemen in the class of 2007. One of their early targets is Scout.com preseason Top 100 player and four-star offensive lineman Chris Little, 6-6, 327, Jeffersonville High School, Twiggs County, GA. Little received his scholarship offer from Charlie Weis last week. Though he doesn't know much about Notre Dame, the offer has obviously piqued his interest.
"I've been getting a lot of mail from them but it's the first time I'd talked to the coaches," said Little of his conversation with head coach Charlie Weis. "He sounded like a pretty good guy. He asked me if I was interested and I told him that I was. I told him that I'd seen a couple of games on television and that I liked the atmosphere. It makes me feel good. They're a pretty good school."
Hailing from Georgia, Little grew up following the home team Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida State Seminoles. It may well be quite difficult to pull this talented young man out of the South but the Notre Dame offer appears to have at least made him consider it.
"I grew up following Georgia and Florida State so those two offers were the main two I was looking for," said Little. "So now, I'm just going to let it ride. I really don't have any favorites right now. I'm seeing which schools offer. I'm weighing my options right now."
In addition to Notre Dame, Georgia and Florida State, Little also holds offers from Florida, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Mississippi State and Ole Miss.
Something else that Little is weighing is early graduation. He's an excellent student with a 3.2 g.p.a. It's easy sometimes to think of these young men only as "recruits" and forget they're teenagers with all the same cares and concerns felt by all other teenagers.
"I'm still trying to decide," said Little of early graduation. "I want to graduate in December so I can go in and try to earn a starting position—by going in and working with the team early. Then again, I might not graduate in December since my senior year is really going to be my only chance to be a regular high school student. I wouldn't have to worry about spring football and I could just be a regular student for a change."
Charlie Weis returned to more familiar territory, New Jersey, in issuing Notre Dame's third offer of last week. Duval Kamara, WR, 6-3, 205, Hoboken High School, Hoboken, N.J. received a much coveted scholarship offer from Notre Dame last week.
"I was excited to get an offer from Notre Dame," said Kamara. "Not too many get a chance to be recruited by Notre Dame, let alone get offered, so I was excited."
Kamara got a chance to talk to Weis and was impressed with both Weis and what the Irish head coach had to offer.
"I got to talk to Charlie Weis," said Kamara. "He's funny. He jokes a lot but he's serious about academics and school comes first. He said keep your grades right and I'll be over there. He said when I get there the primary receiver will be leaving. So I will have a chance to be a big play receiver when I get there. I think that it's real important for me to get playing time as a freshman."
Duval has watched the Irish play on television and though he confesses to not knowing too much about Notre Dame, he has definitely liked what he has seen.
"I watched them play but I don't know too much about them," Kamara explained. "They show class on the field and I think that's real important. They're not too flashy, but they are disciplined. I like that. They can put the ball in the air. I like that. He's (Weis) not afraid to throw the ball."
As a junior Kamara hauled in 43 passes for 930 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also intercepted six passes on defense. These numbers have undoubtedly fueled the heavy national interest in this talented young man. And while Weis and wide receivers coach Rob Ianello would love to acquire Kamara's services, they will face stiff competition from some of the biggest names in college football. In addition to Notre Dame, Kamara currently holds offers from Florida, Virginia, Miami, Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers, Connecticut, Boston College and Tennessee.
Still, the Notre Dame offer seemed just a bit special.
"I've been waiting for the Notre Dame offer for a while," said Kamara. "I really wanted to talk to the Notre Dame coaches, and I wanted to get that offer along with the schools that I already had. I'm open with all the schools right now."
The summaries of these stories are just samples of the outstanding recruiting information available each week on Irish Eyes. If you were a subscriber, you could also have read the following recruiting articles: