The Quickening

When the Notre Dame football team gathers for the 77th Annual Blue-Gold Football Game on Saturday, a group of kids will be gathered on the sideline that could be Notre Dame's future. Irish Eyes takes a look at the headliners and discusses the chances that these prospects end up playing under Coach Weis and his staff.

There will be seven Top-100 players that will be in town this weekend, a mind-boggling number at this time of the year. (Clausen, Tyler, Austin, Benn, Trattou, Ragone, Paskorz) There will be several other last minute additions to this list, but these are the top players Notre Dame is targeting. At least 14 players from the 2006 recruiting class will also be in attendance.

The Commitments

The only way to begin is with the visitor that has already decided that Notre Dame is where he will play, linebacker Aaron Nagel of Lemont high school (Ill.) Nagel committed to the Irish at the beginning of March and he'll be on hand to encourage other players to join him at Notre Dame. Defensive end Kerry Neal Bunn high school, (N.C.) is the other Irish commitment. He was scheduled to attend this weekend, but a last minute illness forced him to cancel the trip.

The Offered

Quarterback Jimmy Clausen and running back Marc Tyler Oaks Christian School (Westlake Village, Calif.) these two don't need an introduction. The Irish staff tabbed these two early on as their top choices at the respective positions. Clausen is the top ranked quarterback in the country and nearly everyone believes that he will pick Notre Dame. That could happen this weekend.

Marc Tyler is one of three running backs that Notre Dame has offered, so he is considered one of the top targets at tailback, if not the main target. Tyler is widely considered one of the top five running backs in the country. Marc has been to Notre Dame several times, but he won't announce his college decision any time soon. He's a running back and they like to wait a little longer than quarterbacks.

Defensive tackle Joseph Barksdale of Cass Technical high school (Detroit, Mich.) is evolving into one of the top players at his position. He could have attended to Ohio State spring game this weekend, but opted to come to South Bend. Joseph likes the Irish but they have some work to do in order to pull even with Michigan, Ohio State and Miami. Barksdale will likely be an early graduate, so his college decision should come some time in November or December.

Defensive tackle Marvin Austin of Calvin Coolidge high school (Washington D.C.) would be another great pick-up for the Irish, but it won't happen this weekend. Marvin has over thirty scholarship offers and he won't narrow things down until just before his football season. Notre Dame is in good shape with Austin and he has said that the Irish will be there at the end.

Wide receiver Arrelious Benn of Dunbar high school (Washington, D.C.) is a little different than his friend Austin. Benn will graduate early, so a decision could come from him at any time. He has been in close contact with Jimmy Clausen and many believe that Arrelious is a good bet to commit to the Irish this weekend… I happen to agree with them.

Wide receiver Duvall Kamara of Hoboken high school (N.J.) hasn't received as much press as Benn and other top wide receivers, but he is a special player and he's as good as any receiver in the country. Duvall hasn't visited many schools, so he may do that prior to deciding. It also wouldn't be surprising to see him commit to the Irish this weekend.

Offensive tackle Matt Romine of Union high school (Tulsa, Okla.) is a player the Irish recently offered. Romine visited Notre Dame unofficially for the Tennessee game. He does like the Irish, but the home-state Sooners will be difficult to beat.

Safety Major Wright of St. Thomas Aquinas High school (Fort Lauderdale, FL) attends the same high school as Dan Wenger and Sam Young. He is an outstanding player that the Irish would be fortunate to sign. All the Florida schools will be all over him, so it will be tough for the Irish to get him to come north. This visit is the first step.

Defensive back Michael Williams of St. Bonaventure high school (Ventura, Calif.) is another physical player that would be a great addition to the Irish squad. Williams has been an Irish fan his entire life, but he has said that he will take his time before making his college decision. We'll see about that. I think the decision will come this weekend.

Defensive end Justin Trattou of Don Bosco prep school (Ramsey, N.J.) attended the January junior day, so he's making his second unofficial visit this year. It's not a secret that he likes the Irish, but he may wait and take some addition visits before committing to anyone. I like Notre Dame's chances with Trattou, but they might have to wait a little longer.

Like Trattou, tight end Mike Ragone of Camden Catholic high school (Cherry Hill, N.J.) visited South Bend in January where he received his scholarship offer. Mike might be the top tight end in the country. There are other good ones, but he is a complete tight end that can block and catch. He has been n contact with Clausen that last several months and it is a strong possibility that Ragone will announce for the Irish this weekend.

The Prospects

Linebacker Steve Paskorz of Hampton high school (Allison Park, Pa.) is an athlete that could play several positions on either side of the ball. The Irish recently gave him the impression that they would recruit him as a linebacker. Notre Dame hasn't offered many other linebackers so he could walk away with an offer, but I think the Irish will wait a little longer. Steve also visited Notre Dame for the January junior day. Pitt probably leads at this time.

Defensive end Martez Wilson Simeon Vocational high school (Chicago, Ill.) is a name that has surfaced recently on the Irish radar. He is an incredible athlete that can dominate on the defensive side of the ball. He doesn't have a long list of offers so the has to be a question mark somewhere. My guess is that it is in the classroom.

Running back Robert Hughes of Hubbard high school (Chicago, Ill.) is a nice big back that has several solid offers including one from Michigan. In fact, he looks to be Michigan's top target at running back. Hughes likes the Wolverines but the Irish also intrigue him and he has been to a couple Irish practices already this spring. As long as Mark Tyler is on Notre Dame's recruiting board, the Irish will hold of on offering Hughes.

Charlie Hatcher of Hamilton high school (Ohio) plays defensive end in high school, but is likely a player that will move inside at the next level. He is a player the Irish will likely invite to camp, but right now they have other prospects rated in front of Hatcher.

Linebacker Casey Matthews Oaks Christian School (Westlake Village, Calif.) is the teammate of Jimmy Clausen and Marc Tyler. He is a USC legacy. The Trojans haven't offered Matthews but he does have several top schools that have.

Linebacker Kyle Jackson of Union Grove high school (McDonough, Ga.) is a player the Irish have been recruiting, but they just haven't decided if they want to offer. He is a nice player, but Notre Dame needs a home run at the linebacker spot to compliment Aaron Nagel.

Defensive tackle Josh Brent of Central Catholic high school (Bloomington, Ill.) is making his second trip to South Bend. He also made the trip in January for the junior day. He isn't an elite defensive tackle, but he's receiving interest from some top schools other than Notre Dame. The Irish will likely wait until they get a better read on Austin and Barksdale before the offer Josh. Top Stories