Though it's impossible for even the most diehard fan of Notre Dame recruiting to really know the criteria that the staff uses to determine whether or not to offer a scholarship, one thing is clear about Irish recruiting under Weis. Notre Dame sets its sights high. As Charlie Weis said when he first took the Irish job, he was not only going to recruit players that could play but also guys who could "read and write." A scholarship offer from Notre Dame just seems to mean more to many recruits than do offers from other equally prestigious programs. It's obvious that many more players covet that offer than actually receive it.
Two names new to recruitniks have surfaced just this week, and, while neither has received that coveted Irish offer, both hope to see that change in the not too distant future. What have you been missing by being a member of Irish Eyes?
Chris Walker, LB, 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, Christian Brothers High School, Memphis, Tenn. is a name that Irish fans might be hearing much more about in recent weeks. Notre Dame has yet to offer Walker but that might change soon.
"I've been talking to Coach Minter and he asked me to send him my transcripts not too long ago," said Walker. "It's hard to tell if they will [offer] but it sounds good. He likes my film. He said they needed players like me at Notre Dame but he needed to go through the ‘big man' who makes the final decision on it. I talked to my coach and he sounded pretty confident about it so hopefully it comes pretty soon."
Walker possesses great interest in Notre Dame, even without an offer.
"I'm very interested in Notre Dame," Walker acknowledged. "It's a premier college and premier football team and it would be a great opportunity to play for their coaches. They caught my eye because they're starting to make a turnaround. All they need is a couple of players here and there and they'll have a championship contending team pretty soon and I'd like to be part of that."
When Minter told Walker that Notre Dame needed players like him, undoubtedly what he meant was fast and athletic players.
"A lot of coaches want me to play at outside linebacker where I can come off blitzes and rush the quarterback or make plays outside," Walker explained. "I'm one of those athletes that can run and cover well."
Walker has an impressive list of scholarship offers, almost exclusively from Southern schools. Among those who have offered are Kentucky, Louisville, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Auburn, Alabama, Arkansas, Clemson, Tennessee, Memphis, Vanderbilt, LSU and Miami.
As a junior Walker recorded 83 tackles, 10.5 for loss, 4 sacks and caused 9 fumbles.
Another prospect that has only recently popped up on recruiting fans' radar is Andrew Nuss, OL, 6-foot-5, 283 pounds, Stone Bridge High School, Ashburn, Va. While his name has only recently surfaced for recruitniks, the staff has known about him for quite some time. Apparently, Notre Dame began recruiting this talented young lineman during the initial weeks of his junior year but then cooled a bit. As of late, Irish recruiting has again heated up.
"Actually, Sept. 1 of this past year, when they're allowed to send official mail, I got a huge booklet from them," explained Nuss. "About January or February everything stopped and I didn't get anything from them. At that time I didn't think they were going to recruit me anymore. I know they're a great school and they look for a certain type of player so that didn't bother me."
Things have changed, however, in the last few weeks as Notre Dame's interest as once again picked up.
"Then about two weeks before the combine at Penn State, coach Vaas came to see me and said that they were interested in me," Nuss continued. "They said they wanted me to come down to their June 3rd elite camp, which I am. I'll find out then whether I get an offer from them."
Offers have not been in short supply for Nuss. He currently holds offers from Georgia, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Maryland, West Virginia, Duke, North Carolina State and Purdue.
This offer list becomes even more impressive when one considers that Nuss has only been playing football for three years.
"I started last year (sophomore) for the first time on varsity as an offensive lineman, and this year was my first year at defensive line and I started," informed Nuss. "This will only be my third year playing football. Before that I was a huge baseball fan."
Though he prefers defense, Nuss realizes that his Division IA future lies on the offensive side of the ball.
"Most colleges are recruiting me at guard, but a couple of schools say tackle," said Nuss. "I want to play defense in college but I'm probably not fast enough for them. That really doesn't bother me, to play Division I football would be awesome."
Nuss brings a no-nonsense attitude to the field that surely must resonate with the Notre Dame coaching staff.
"I'm one of the guys that will get it done no matter what," explained Nuss. "I'm a hard-nosed kid in the trenches. Off the field I'm a real nice guy. On the field I'm a different person. I take my job seriously and get done what I have to do. I'm pretty athletic. I don't want to be a huge big guy that weighs 340 pounds. I just like being athletic."
While playing in a 3-5 defensive scheme as a junior, Nuss recorded 27 tackles, a deflected pass and a couple of quarterback hurries.
These two summaries are just a sample of the Notre Dame recruiting information available each week on Irish Eyes. If you were a member you could also have read the following:
Stroter Still Comfortable with Irish—Miles Stroter Profile
Wade Pleased with His Combine Performance—Myles Wade
Warren Adds Midwest Offer—Donovan Warren Profile
Gaines Anxious to Get Started—Jashaad Gaines Profile
Little Gets Visit From Weis—Chris Little Profile
Prince is Ready to Report—Munir Prince Profile
National Outlook—Michigan lands a safety, Pitt lands their quarterback
Horns Look for Quarterback This Spring—Texas should reload for 2006, but QB still a concern
Logan Taking His Time—Tony Logan Profile