The first guy I spoke with is TE prospect Marcus Freeman. "I haven't really done much over the summer. I am working out with a personal trainer here. I am about 240 right now and I feel stronger and faster."
I asked Marcus where they wanted him to play. "They told me I am a tight end and that is what I want to play. I am really excited about camp. My goal is to play. I would really like to play this year."
Marcus said he hasn't gone to Notre Dame since the spring game but can't wait to get there. "I had a good time at the spring game. I met a lot of my teammates and I just want to get there and get started." As always, Marcus is a class act.
Maurice Stovall and I talked for quite a while about the Big 33 game and what he has been doing over the summer. "I thought the Big 33 game was a good game and a lot of fun. We beat Ohio pretty bad. Coach Curry really pushed us and worked us hard in practice. We were in full pads quite a bit and worked out twice a day most days." I asked Mo if he was upset they didn't get him the ball. "No, I wasn't upset at all. I don't worry about stuff like that. I just had a lot of fun and I am happy I was asked to play."
Maurice said he has been working out and doing a lot of running lately. He said he thinks he is in good shape right now and ready to go through camp. "I think I will be in better shape after camp is over."
I talked to Maurice about the pressure. The fans already seem to have placed a lot of pressure on him to make an impact early. "I don't see that as pressure. The fans don't pressure me at all. If I feel pressure, it's because I want to make an impact as fast as I can for the coaches, my team and for myself. I don't concern myself with what others say. I want to try to start this year. I want to make a big impact on this team this year. I want to do that for the coaches, the team and myself."
Maurice said he has relaxed quite a bit this summer. He has mainly been hanging out with his friends. I asked him if it was going to be hard leaving home. "I don't think so. I am looking forward to being on my own. I need to make my own way and I am very excited about it. I know the academics are difficult at Notre Dame so I know I need to prepare myself mentally for that as well. I wanted that challenge. I just need to stay focused." As always, Maurice is confident and ready for anything thrown his way.
Derek Landri called me back yesterday after his lifting session. I asked Derek how his leg was doing and what the latest on that is. "I haven't been lifting as much as I want to. It's getting better. I still haven't been cleared to lift with my legs yet." Derek also told me that he hasn't been cleared to play football yet.
I asked Derek what was next for him. "I report to Notre Dame August 5th. I am sure the doctors at Notre Dame will take it from there. I want to play this year so I hope they clear me to play."
Derek seems very frustrated with this. I can fully understand why. A tough break for a great kid. We just have to hope that the doctors can give him clearance to at least practice this year. I feel sad for Derek because you can tell the competitor is tired of waiting around.
I also talked to RB Jeff Jenkins yesterday. Jeff was in good spirits as always and seemed very excited to start camp. "I have an all-star game this Saturday. I am looking forward to that. I am also looking forward to going to Notre Dame."
Jeff also went to Notre Dame over the summer. "I went there and worked out for about 6 days. I wanted to get exposed to what I would be doing while I was there. I loved it and I had a great time meeting everyone. I hung out with Carlyle Holiday, Vontez and Gerome Sapp and they kind of took me under their wing. It was great knowing that they were trying to help me and make me feel part of the team."
Jeff said he is around 210-215 right now. He has been lifting every day as well as running. He said he feels he has added 20 pounds and hasn't lost any speed.
Jeff also hung out with Chris Olsen, Nate Schiccatano and Jake Carney while he was there. He said he really enjoyed hanging out with his future classmates as well. Good luck to Jeff with his future at Notre Dame, he is a great kid.
The last guy I talked to was Dan "The Man" Santucci. Dan and I have always had a lot of fun talking. He is your typical Chicago bloke. He has a lot of personality and we enjoy giving each other a hard time. He is also a big reader of Fighting Irish Insider.
"I was just on your site and I noticed you were calling all my classmates. I was wondering when you were going to call me." Dan wasn't home the first time I tried to call.
I asked Dan what he has been doing over the summer. "I really haven't gone anywhere. I went to Notre Dame for a week and worked out in July. Mickey is awesome, he had me working very hard. He has you going at a faster pace than I was before. I have been following the program. He has us doing a lot of running and lifting. It's more of a conditioning thing than a speed thing. I think they want us to report in fantastic shape. I have never ran this much. I think I am in great shape. I am up to 260 now."
Dan is a Cubs fan so I asked if he has gone to any games this year. "No, I haven't gone to a single game. I went to a Sox game with a friend." WHAT??? You cannot not go to a Sox game if you are a Cubs fan. "The Cubs play during the day. I am always working out during the day so I can't get over there to see them." I will let him slide on that because we would rather have him working out than watching another losing Cubs team.
Dan said he is excited to report. He has his classes all set to go and just needs to show up and get his room situated. I asked Dan if they told him which defensive end position he would be playing. "They haven't said. Coach Mattison told me to study both positions. He said they would give me a position when I am there."
I just wanted to say thanks again to all of these guys for taking the time to talk to me over the last few years. This class has been a lot of fun. They went through a pretty rough time and stuck with Notre Dame the entire way. I hope the fans remember that throughout their career at Notre Dame. Good luck to all of them. All of their parents should be proud.