In order to accomplish recruiting goals, Weis emphasized that Notre Dame would need to again become a dominant recruiter in areas like the Midwest, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. By making those areas Notre Dame strongholds and supplementing with recruits from traditional football hotbeds in Florida, Texas and California, Weis hopes to consistently make the Irish a major player for the top recruits in the nation.
So far, so good. Notre Dame recently raided the Scout.com Top 100 list for two more recruits, one from New Jersey and one from Pennsylvania, bringing their total number of verbal recruits in the class of 2007 to seven. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes?
And Trattou makes three! Justin Trattou, DE, 6-feet-4, 250, Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J. became the third recruit from the Garden State to make a verbal commitment to Notre Dame. He joins Mike Ragone and Duval Kamara. Trattou knew that South Bend was the place for him after the Blue-Gold Game.
"After I went to the Spring Game I knew it was a special place," explained Trattou. "I made my decision in the past couple of weeks and I kept it quiet until today, and I think it will be a great fit. It's an honor to get an offer from a school like Notre Dame, and they've always been on top of my mind."
Trattou made it clear that he wants to win and believes the Irish are very close to becoming a dominant program again.
"I think with the next couple of recruiting classes that we'll be competing for a national championship," said Trattou. "I definitely want to play on a team with a bunch of good guys and I know over the years that I'm there that we'll be a very competitive team."
When Trattou set his commitment date, Irish fans confidently expected him to be the sixth recruit to verbal to Notre Dame. As it turned out, Irish fans were wrong. Trattou actually became the seventh verbal after Steve Paskorz, LB, 6-feet-2, 220, Hampton High School, Allison Park, Pa. surprised recruitniks by making his verbal commitment immediately upon receiving a scholarship offer from Charlie Weis.
"I like to keep everyone guessing," Paskorz said of his surprise commitment. "People out here are just ecstatic. I'm the second big Division I athlete to come out of this school in nine years. Everyone is excited and everybody is all happy. "It really hasn't sunk in yet, but everyone has been great out here and everyone has been real nice about it."
Though Paskorz has primarily played running back in high school, Notre Dame is recruiting him as a linebacker. Still, given Weis's love for versatile athletes, it's not inconceivable that Paskorz see time on the offensive side of the ball.
"I'm real excited about it [playing linebacker]," said Paskorz. "The good thing is that Coach Weis said that when I get up there he's going to try me at both positions. He'll see what works out best for me and the team."
Though Paskorz verballed immediately upon receiving his offer, the decision was far from a hasty one.
"Back in January, at the Junior Day, I got to know the coaches real well," explained Paskorz. "I became real comfortable with them. Being at the Spring Game I got to see how the team performed. I saw the stadium. I really got to see the atmosphere and that really set things off, so that was another big contributor."
Notre Dame beat out a number of schools for Paskorz's services. Besides the Irish, the talented Pennsylvanian had offers from Iowa, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Virginia, West Virginia, Mississippi and Temple.
Despite an ankle injury that required off-season surgery, Paskorz still gained 1296 yards on 160 carries and scored 14 touchdowns during his junior campaign. This came after a sophomore season that saw him gain 2188 yards on 188 carries and score 27 touchdowns.