Still, two major questions regarding Notre Dame's level of speed and athleticism still remain. Does Notre Dame possess enough team speed to win a national championship? Can they recruit enough athletes to build the kind of team speed that wins championships?
Recruitniks debate these issues ad nauseum. While the first question will be answered on the field this year, Charlie Weis and his staff have worked very hard to answer the second. With the signing of players like Munir Prince, George West, Barry Gallup, Raeshon McNeil, Darrin Walls and several others, Notre Dame clearly got heavily into the speed business in the class of 2006. In the class of 2007, the Irish have again targeted great athletes with speed to burn. Two of these speedsters spoke with Irish Eyes last week about the direction and state of their recruiting. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes?
Dionte Allen, CB, 6-feet-0, 170, St. Mary's Prep High School, Orchard Lake, Mich. is the Scout.com 13th ranked cornerback. He also runs a 4.4 forty and is priority for the Notre Dame coaching staff. Despite their best efforts, though, the Irish still seem to be in an uphill battle for Allen's signature. Allen, however, has definitely not written off the guys from South Bend.
"When I put down my list of schools, they're top four," said Allen of Notre Dame's recruiting position with him. "Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State. Then I'll add in USC and Miami in case something changes."
One of Notre Dame's advantages in the recruiting battle over Allen is his relationship with Coach Weis. The two speak frequently and obviously Weis has made an impression.
"I'm keeping everything open so Notre Dame's chances are as good as the others," explained Allen. "I like coach Weis, in fact I just got off the phone with him. I've got a good relationship with coach Weis. He wants me to come to Notre Dame but we really don't talk football. We talk about different things other than football and have a nice relationship."
Relationships are obviously important to Allen and though he has forged a bond with Weis, he has also developed close ties to coaches from his other favorites.
"I do have good relationships with all of them," said Allen of his rapport with coaches from his top schools. "It all goes beyond football. Those are the people you need to be around, so to you that's important."
Allen would like to do some traveling this summer and visit his top schools. The one place he has yet to see if Florida State and that constitutes his first priority "Getting down to Florida State is the biggest thing right now," said Allen of his summer plans. "I think I'm going to do that in July. I think everything else I'll do on my official visits."
Allen's junior numbers show why he is such a highly regarded recruit. He recorded 51 tackles and five interceptions on defense and caught 17 passes for 299 yards and 2 touchdowns on offense.
In addition to Allen, Notre Dame has a fairly extensive list of defensive backs that they have targeted. Michael Williams, S, 5-feet-10, 175, St. Bonaventure High School, Ventura, Calif. is one player that most Irish fans feel fairly confident about signing. Williams 4.09 shuttle at the Berkley combine demonstrated that he possesses the explosiveness that coaches crave in defensive backs.
While May serves as an evaluation period for coaches, top recruits also use that period to evaluate programs. For Williams, May came and went and produced no real changes in his favorites.
"It went well. I think everything pretty much stayed the same," said Williams of the May evaluation period. "It gave me a better idea of what the coaches were like, but not much about my decision. I don't think it altered it in any way."
Despite various speculations to the contrary, Williams does not appear to be in any hurry to make a decision. While he has all the information he needs to decide, he hasn't yet sorted through it all.
"I don't plan on making a decision any time soon," said Williams. "I already have all the ideas in my head, but now I have to sort them out and make my decision based on where I fit best."
What Williams definitely does have sorted is his top two. Though he has received thirteen scholarship offers to date, Notre Dame and Michigan lead for his signature though an offer from the home state USC Trojans could put them in the thick of the race.
"I think USC is going to offer me so I'll have to consider them," said Williams. "Most of the schools that I want to go to have offered me already. I'm totally happy with what I have right now."
Williams feels comfortable with his knowledge of both Notre Dame and USC but he still wants to know more about Michigan. He briefly visited Ann Arbor on a Midwest tour but wants to see more.
"I really didn't get a chance to look at the campus much," said Williams of his Michigan visit. I had a really fast tour because it was only a half day. I really want to look at it for a day or two to see if it changes any of my impressions about it."
Williams continued. "I don't think I'll be visiting the Notre Dame camp because I've already been there twice. They've kept in touch once every two weeks. It's nice to have them say hi every once in a while, but I don't think it's necessary to have them text me every week. I know everything about Notre Dame."
In his junior campaign, Williams recorded 98 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions.