A Glimpse at 2008

There are always a handful of underclassmen that make a name for themselves before actually playing a snap of their junior years. Here is a closer look at some of the names of top juniors-to-be that Notre Dame and many other programs will likely take a long look at.

It is truly a bit early to say which recruits Notre Dame or any other program will ardently pursue for the class of 2008. With that said, here is a closer look at some of the names that Notre Dame fans will likely hear more and more about as time goes by.

St. Louis has been good to Notre Dame recently with Munir Prince and Paddy Mullen signing with Notre Dame this past February. Just across the river into Illinois is the town of Belleville. It will have one of the Midwest's top tailback recruits for next year, Jason Ford, 5-10, 210 pounds. Ford attends Althoff Catholic and was a standout as a mere sophomore scoring 20 touchdowns.

Another St. Louis product to remember is Wes Kemp, WR, 6-3, 220 pounds, (DeSmet Jesuit). Yes, the same high school as Prince and Mullen, Kemp grew up rooting for Notre Dame. Kemp played well during the state playoffs last year and some consider him to be the top recruit Missouri will have to offer for the class of 2008. With Kemp's size he could potentially grow into a tight end or perhaps a linebacker or defensive end. Missouri will be one of several schools the Irish will have to fend off if they want his signature. Kemp went over the 1,000 yard mark this past season.

One of the top recruits from Pennsylvania for the class of 2008 will be David Posluszny, S, 6-1, 205 pounds, Aliquippa, Pa., (Hopewell). David is the younger brother of Penn State linebacker, Paul Posluszny, who just won about every award imaginable for a college linebacker this past year, and David is already hearing from several major programs including West Virginia, Penn State, Notre Dame and Michigan. The younger Posluszny was supposed to attend a handful of college camps this summer, including Notre Dame.

During recent years Monroeville, Pa., Gateway High School has produced several talented players, including Penn State's Justin King. Once again Gateway will have one of the top players Pennsylvania has to offer with Shayne Hale. The 6-4, 220-pound linebacker has already been pegged by some scouts as the top overall recruit Pennsylvania has to offer for the class of 2008. Rutgers gave Hale a verbal offer this spring, and he will likely see a few written offers once Sep. 1 rolls around this fall when the NCAA allows schools to officially offer junior recruits. Last season Hale racked up well over 100 tackles.

Notre Dame has become one of the top passing teams in college football under the direction of head coach Charlie Weis and quarterback Brady Quinn. Wide receiver recruits have taken notice this year and that trend is likely to continue for years to come. Michael Floyd, WR, 6-3, 190 pounds, St. Paul, Minn., (Cretin-Derham) attended the Notre Dame summer camp this year after an impressive sophomore season which he tallied 22 receptions for 665 yards and six touchdowns. That is 30 yards per reception! Cretin-Derham has been very good to Notre Dame during recent years. Rashon Powers-Neal, Ryan Harris, Marcus Freeman and Matt Carufel from this past recruiting class have all signed with the Irish after playing for the state of Minnesota's top high school program. Look for the Irish to be in the hunt for Floyd's services.

Another wide receiver that will garner many looks from college coaches is Averin Collier, 5-11, 195 pounds, Churchville, N.Y., (Churchville-Chili). Averin's older brother, Kevin, was the star running back for Churchville-Chili this past season and signed with Pittsburgh this past February. Averin could be even more highly recruited and is hearing from several schools already including Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Syracuse among others. Last season Collier had four rushing touchdowns, nine receiving, and two more via returns.

If you follow recruiting closely, you have probably already heard about wide receiver A.J. Green, 6-4, 185 pounds, Summerville, S.C. Reportedly Green has received verbal offers from the likes of Georgia (his current favorite), Clemson, Louisiana State and South Carolina, as well as Notre Dame. That is certainly impressive. After watching film of Green I was certainly sold. You can mark him down as one of the nation's top overall recruits for the class of 2008.

One of the top "athletes" Ohio has to offer next year will be Brandon Beachum, 6-1, 215 pounds, Youngstown, Ohio, (Cardinal Mooney). Beachum could play either tailback or linebacker at the college level but prefers the defensive side of the football for his long term future. Ohio State has all but locked down the top players Ohio has to offer over the course of the past several years, but Cardinal Mooney is definitely a pro-Notre Dame school and you can bet the Irish will make a pitch for Beachum.

The state of Florida is loaded for the class of 2008, and leading the way is T.J. Bryant, CB, 6-1, 175 pounds, Tallahassee, Fla., (Lincoln). Bryant picked off seven passes this past season despite only starting six games. He will likely be utilized as kick returner during his final two seasons at Lincoln. Bryant claims verbal offers from Florida, Florida State, Georgia and Illinois. Notre Dame is one of several other programs showing interest in Bryant as well. Bryant was only 15 years old during his sophomore season so he still might grow just a little bit more.

This was only a small sampling of what the class of 2008 has to offer. You will see more and more names popping up on the Notre Dame radar as the month of September draws closer. Notre Dame is once again a major player within the world of college football recruiting so look for coach Weis to continue to recruit nationally with much success.

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