Recruiting week in review.

The big news out of South Bend last week was the start of spring practice. And while the coaching staff and players use this critical time to make improvements, recruiting must go on. In fact, this spring period is not just essential to the improvement of the team but it also represents a powerful recruiting tool.

Already, verbal commits, Aaron Nagel and Kerry Neal have been to South Bend to watch spring practice and the annual Blue-Gold intra-squad scrimmage serves as a backdrop for a major recruiting day. Key Irish recruits will be in attendance that day and typically verbal commitments follow. At least one top Irish prospect has already set aside 22 April and bought his plane ticket to South Bend. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes?

Don Bosco Prep School, Ramsey, NJ, product Justin Trattou, DE, 6-4, 235 is planning to attend the Blue-Gold game in order to try to gauge Notre Dame's game day atmosphere. His initial trip to South Bend was for the 14 January Junior Day but this time the Scout preseason Top 100 player wants to see a bit more of the football environment.

"I'm hoping to see what it's all about when I go down there April 22 to see the spring game," explained Trattou. "I just want to see what their team looks like and how they run and stuff. I'm sure it's going to be great but I just want to see what it's like. I want to get a general feel for the entire school."

Trattou already has a great source of information about the football program and university in general, offensive line coach John Latina. Trattou and Latina stay in close contact.

"I've been talking to Coach Latina, I like him a lot," said Trattou. "I like all the coaches there. If I need any information about the school, I'll just call him and he'll answer my questions."

Trattou has two main priorities when it comes to choosing a school, academics and football.

"I'm looking for a school that has great academics and that I think is going to be competing for a national championship," said Trattou. "I think Notre Dame has both of those characteristics."

While it certainly appears that the Irish are in a great position with Trattou, the deal is far from sealed. There are numerous prestigious programs competing for the talented athlete's signature. In addition to Notre Dame, he has currently received offers from most of the major conferences east of the Mississippi river. From the Big East he has offers from Louisville, Pittsburgh and in-state Rutgers, from the ACC he has offers from Boston College, North Carolina and Maryland and from the Big Ten he has offers from Northwestern and Penn State. Trattou has ruled out none of the schools that have offered.

"As of now, I'm going to give all of the schools who have offered me a chance."

One player that won't be in South Bend on 22 April is Myles Wade, DT, 6-2, 305, Benson Technical High School, Portland, OR. Wade has a pretty good excuse, though. He's going to be in College Station, TX that day attending the Nike Combine. True competitor that he is, Wade wants to show that his preseason Scout Top 100 ranking is not the result of statistics compiled against weak competition.

"I want to go and compete against the best players and that's where the best competition is supposed to be," said Wade. "It's for respect. I live in Oregon and people don't think we can play football in Oregon so I'm going down there to show them that there is a lot of talent in Oregon and I'm part of that talent. People think I dominate in Oregon because of the level of competition but I'm going to show them that I'm for real."

Wade believes that his work ethic and competitive drive will serve him well as he matches skills with some of the best high school players in the nation.

"I'm a competitor," Wade said of himself. "I do whatever I can not to lose. My motor never stops. I work out all the time. I feel the body needs to be in its best shape when it's tired. You're going to be tired in a game and you need to step it up when your team needs a play."

Though Notre Dame has yet to offer Wade, they are still in his top five and still in contact. Wade hoped that his 14 January Junior Day visit demonstrated to the coaching staff his willingness to come to South Bend to play for the Irish.

"I'm still interested in Notre Dame," said Wade. "They're in my top five. If Notre Dame is going to offer me, that's fine and if they don't, that's fine. My top five will be the schools that offer me. Right now my top five consists of Oregon State (offer), Notre Dame, USC, Oregon and UCLA."

"I talk with Coach Polian," Wade continued. "I spoke with him last week. I've just been trying to stay in touch with him once a week."

As a junior, Wade posted 50 tackles, 3 forced fumbles and 8 sacks.

These summaries are just a sample of the outstanding recruiting information available each week on Irish Eyes. Top Stories