Recruiting Week in Review

In the changing face of college football recruiting, the May evaluation period may not hold the importance that it once did in determining to which players a staff might offer a scholarship, but it still plays a vital function in building rapport with key coaches and developing recruiting pipelines. And, still, there are players that staffs need to see one more time in order to make that crucial decision about whether or not to make the coveted offer.

When he took the head coaching position at Notre Dame, Charlie Weis promised that he would not be outworked by anyone. His last spring's May odyssey in which he spent every allowable day on the road recruiting seemed to demonstrate his intention to keep that promise. Incredibly, this spring Weis promised to do even more and, true to his word, he hit the road as soon as the Blue and Gold Game ended and has been traversing the country in an effort to not only bring in recruits this year but to build the kind of relationships with high school coaches that keep the recruiting fires stoked year after year. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes? Top 100 player and four-star prospect, Ben Martin, DE, 6-6, 220, LaSalle High School, Cincinnati, OH received one of Charlie Weis's first visits this spring. Weis walked through the doors early Monday morning to talk with the coaches of this key Notre Dame recruit.

"I saw him for a second," said Martin of Weis. "I didn't get a chance to really talk to him. I guess he talked to my coach, but I didn't talk to him. That was pretty much it."

Recruiting restrictions forbid anything but minimal contact between college coaches and recruits on this type of visit. Martin was in South Bend just a couple of weeks ago on an unofficial visit and many expected that he would be in Columbus for Ohio State's spring game the following weekend. Apparently, though, the pace of recruiting had become a bit hectic for the talented young man and he chose, instead, to indulge in a fairly common high school activity—a relaxing weekend.

"I didn't go anywhere this weekend, I didn't check out any games," Martin explained. "I stayed home and relaxed. It's nice to relax sometimes."

Martin is rarely taking it easy these days. He's busy preparing for next season and as a result, he has put recruiting on the back burner for now.

"Right now I'm in the weight room working hard," Martin said of his off-season schedule. "I might take a visit somewhere later this summer, but as far as anything in the near future, I don't have anything planned right now. I'm just trying to finish this school year."

As a junior, Martin recorded 50 tackles, 12 of them for loss and also registered 10 sacks. Martin maintains a 3.4 g.p.a.

Notre Dame recruitniks have made it clear that they believe that the Irish need to sign at least two and preferably three top-notch defensive tackles in this class. Apparently, Weis and his staff concur as they have made defensive tackle a recruiting priority. One of the key recruits on Notre Dame's board received a Tuesday morning visit from Coach Weis and was clearly flattered by the attention, especially since he had probably yet to unpack from visiting Coach Weis and the Irish for the Blue Gold Game just three days before.

Joseph Barksdale, DT, 6-5, 315, Cass Technical High School, Detroit MI has emerged as a top target for the Irish coaching staff and Weis made it a point to pay the young man an early visit.

"I was flattered that I was one of the first juniors that he visited," said Barksdale of Weis's visit. "It shows me that I'm important to their program. I'm pretty excited that he made the visit at all, actually. Most schools send in assistant coaches first, but not Charlie Weis."

In keeping with NCAA guidelines, Weis did not actually speak to Barksdale but made it clear, through Barksdale's coach, where he ranked on the Irish recruiting charts.

"I saw him but he had my coach relay what he said…," explained Barksdale. "He told my coach that he's very interested in me. I'm one of the top guys on his list."

For many elite high school football players, thoughts of the NFL inevitably creep into their thinking. Weis's NFL pedigree has made an impression on Barksdale.

"Coach Weis thinks we (the recruits at the Blue Gold game) have the potential to go to the NFL or he wouldn't have offered us a scholarship," enthused Barksdale. "He's really going to go after us. He's going to see what we do before he offers anyone else a scholarship. Once we commit, the attention isn't going to slow down, it's going to pick up."

Barksdale also commented on the Notre Dame Blue Gold Game.

"Fan support," Barksdale offered when asked what stood out. "How in-depth their knowledge was. They knew who I was and they knew I wanted to study engineering. They're just really supportive of their program. People came up and asked me for my autograph. Things were pretty crazy walking down the tunnel into the game…balls were raining from the sky. I think I signed one ball and threw it back to the wrong guy."

Barksdale intends to wait until the end of the May evaluation period before narrowing his list of schools. Once he does that he plans to name a top five and schedule his official visits.

"I'll pick the colleges that I think best fit me and my wants and desires," he explained. "Then I'm going to call the top schools that I didn't schedule and thank them for their time."

Barksdale intends to graduate from high school early and enroll in January 2007 at whichever university is fortunate enough to earn his signature.

These two summaries are just a sample of the Notre Dame recruiting information available each week on Irish Eyes. If you had been a subscriber, you could also have read:

Fans Make Huge Impact on Recruits—Blue Gold Game recruiting summary
National Outlook—Fast Start Continues
It's All Business—Toryan Smith
Notre Dame Trip Almost Perfect for Brent—Josh Brent Profile
Weis Visits Oglesby—Josh Oglesby Profile
Gordon Excited to Get Started—Leonard Gordon Profile
Weis Swings Through Michigan—Charlie Weis Visits Michigan Prospects
Next In Line—Anyone close to committing?
Jackson Swarmed and Impressed—Kyle Jackson Profile
National Outlook—A look around the nation in recruiting
Wilson Expecting Irish Offer—Martez Wilson Profile
Romine an Irish Priority—Matt Romine Profile
Irish Eyes Video: Adidas Camp—Prospect Video Top Stories