Recruiting Week in Review

In recruiting, finishing second means nothing. Notre Dame's strong start with the class of 2007 has placed them in the top five of many highly-rated recruits but for this class to duplicate or better the 2006 class, they must close the deal and finish first with a substantial number of them. Still, most programs would love to be in Notre Dame's position with so many top tier recruits

But, of course, most recruitniks know that successful recruiting is not just signing highly rated prospects but landing those prospects that fill an area of need. One thing that the Charlie Weis's coaching staff did an outstanding job with in 2006 was filling those needs with very good players. The 2007 recruiting needs have again been identified and the Irish staff has obviously been working very hard to fill those needs.

Two highly prized prospects on the Irish board told Irish Eyes last week that Notre Dame ranked in their top two. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes?

Matt Romine, OL, 6–feet-5, 275 pounds, Union High School, Tulsa, Okla. is rated a four star prospect by Scout.com. Though Notre Dame signed the number one offensive line class in the nation last year, they are working very hard to attract top line talent again this year in order to create depth and insure good line play for years to come. If frequency of visits serves as a good indicator, and it usually does, then the Irish are in a very good position with Romine. Romine has already visited twice and plans to journey to South Bend again in July.

" I'm looking at coming back up there some time in July with my mom and dad," said Romine. "It's not official yet, but I'm planning it out now. I'll go to Notre Dame first and then go up to Michigan. I kind of wanted my mom to see [Notre Dame]. I also just wanted to go back up there."

Romine has yet to name a top five and with scholarship offers from programs like LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Alabama, Colorado, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and most recently Michigan, paring that list might be difficult. Romine doesn't know everyone who will be in his top five but he does know two of them.

"I've said that I'll get a top five by the start of football season and I'm on my way to doing that," Romine explained. "It's looking very good for OU and Notre Dame to be in my top five right now. Right now I'm basically looking for the other three."

Though Michigan came to the party late, they have clearly attracted Romine's attention.

"Michigan offered me about a month ago so I thought I'd go check them out," Romine said. "I've talked to coach Moeller on the phone a little bit and coach Carr. I just like them. Coach Moeller strikes me as a younger guy with a lot of energy."

Romine continued. "I'm expecting to see the facilities and the ‘Big House.' Maybe I'll get to see their academic center and their classrooms and stuff like that."

While Romine isn't certain whether he'll take any additional trips, he is on schedule to name his five official visits.

Linebacker represents another Notre Dame need area though on-field athleticism seems to be taking precedence over pure positional concerns. Chris Donald, LB, 6-feet-3, 220 pounds, Huntingdon High School, Huntingdon, Tenn. meets both requirements. He is a very athletic linebacker. Like Romine, he has the Irish in his top two. Unlike Romine, those two schools represent the sum total of his list.

"Tennessee and Notre Dame," responded Donald to a question of his final two. "I just got back from Tennessee Thursday. I took my mom up there because it was her first time. My dad went up there last year when they played Georgia. I've been up there four or five times, so I've pretty much seen everything, but it was a chance for my parents to sit down and talk to the coaches."

Surprisingly, Donald has Notre Dame in his top two though he has yet to visit the campus. He plans to rectify that in the near future.

"It's going to be some time next week," said Donald of his plans to visit South Bend. "I'll go up with mom and dad. [Notre Dame coaches] are going to show me around campus, let me meet some players. I assume players are going through conditioning and running through plays."

For Donald, Notre Dame's reputation has created high expectations for his visit.

"Everything," Donald replied when asked what he expected from his Notre Dame visit. "I've heard how great of a school it is and I just want to go up and see it for myself."

Donald continued. "They don't have to do anything. I just need to go in there and see everything and see if I'm comfortable. If I am comfortable it's going to be a hard decision to make, but I'll eventually have to make it."

Donald's junior statistics give a good indication why he's so coveted by both the Irish and the Vols. He recorded 120 tackles, 14 sacks, 32 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and an interception.

These two summaries represent just a small part of the outstanding recruiting information available each week on Irish Eyes.


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