While the name Derek Sherrod (6-6, 298-pounds) may be new to Notre Dame fans, the Irish staff has been recruiting him since last fall.
"When school started last year they started sending me letters," Sherrod responded when asked when Notre Dame started recruiting him. "Around December or January they started sending more personal hand-written letters. That's when I probably knew they were really interested in me.
"Then I think I called them last Thursday or Friday. My head coach told me that they might want me to call up there because they might have some news for me."
"First I called up there and I talked to a bunch of their coaches and then I talked to the head coach, Charlie Weis," Sherrod explained. "He's a really great man and it eventually came down to him telling me and my mom that they wanted to offer.
"I have a lot of interest in playing for them. I hear that they're a very good school to play at, and they only play the best. The only thing that's holding them back is that they are so far away, but everything else, they're looking pretty good. They're really rich in tradition. They know how to win and they expect to win games. That's what I like about them."
Derek has a long list of schools pursuing him, but they will all have to get around the fact that his brother is currently playing at Mississippi State.
"I think I know where he wants me to go," Derek said with a laugh. "But he's just happy for me. He's already proud of me and he'll be happy for me wherever I go.
"I am looking at everybody. The schools that I'm leaning more toward are Notre Dame, Florida, Miami, LSU, Louisville, Southern Miss, Ole Miss, and of course Mississippi State. But I am keeping my options open, and toward the end of summer I'll finally settle down and narrow down some of the schools."
Sherrod reports scholarship offers from Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Louisville, Florida, Michigan, Houston, Miami, Arkansas State, Alcorn State and Notre Dame.