The Notre Dame coaching staff is making the defensive line a priority for the 2007 recruiting class. One of the players they have been looking at for a long time is Josh Brent (6-3, 295-pounds).
"Halfway through my junior season they asked for film," responded Brent when asked when the Irish started to recruit him. "They wanted to see what I was like on tape and we sent film to them, they liked what they saw, so they invited me up for a junior day. They've just kept in touch since."
Besides the Irish, Brent has made an effort to visit a few of the top schools in the Midwest.
"I wanted to check out some other universities before I made second trip back to Notre Dame. That's basically what I've been doing since January and now," Brent explained. "I've been to Illinois, Northwestern and Iowa.
"Illinois is a great school obviously academically. I really like the coaching staff. They're very enthusiastic about what they can do next year. A big plus for them is that the tight end that they recruited last year is my best friend, Michael Hoomanawanui. He was pretty good this year. He was ranked one of the top-40 in the nation. He's my best friend so that's a big plus for them.
"Iowa is just an elite program," Brent continued. "I was looking at the renovation of the stadium and the learning center they have for all the athletes They type of people there are just so nice and such genuine people. Just about any coaching staff is going to be into what they're doing. I'll probably say that for every coaching staff that I talk about and Iowa definitely had some guys that know what they're talking about. The defensive line coach has sent 11 defensive linemen to the NFL in past seven years. That was a big plus and I really like the defensive line coach.
"Northwestern, we arrived a little late so we didn't good a good feel for everything. Plus they had a lot of juniors there. We've heard so many great things about what they have and about the turnaround they've had there – all good things."
The first junior day Brent visited was the Notre Dame event held in January.
"The top juniors in the nation were at that junior day," Brent said. "That actually boosted my confidence knowing that they invited me and they had only invited 30-35 juniors and I was one of them. I felt really good.
"Of all the universities that I've visited they had some of the best facilities that I've ever seen -- definitely top-notch. They want their players to have the best. I really didn't get to talk to the coaches too much. It really wasn't a real personal experience, which is why I'm going back up there for the spring game. They've told me that they're definitely interested. They want to make sure I get the right feel for it, and I want to make sure I get the right feel.
"I'll get to talk to the coaches a little more one-on-one. I should get a chance to talk to the recruiting coordinator and the defensive line coach, and hopefully even coach Weis."
As a junior Brent had 109 tackles, 29 tackles for loss and six sacks.