More Mike's Mailbag

I'm back again with another set of questions from Mike's Mailbag left over from Power Hour. Please keep those questions coming and I'll do my best to answer them. Also, if you have questions for Coach's Mailbag, please send them to the same address.

Mike, Forth Worth, TX
Running Back seems to be a position ND does not get much attention from the big names on having lost out on Marc Tyler already.

Who do you see here? What is the problem with Noel Devine out of Florida who has been offered by Florida State and Nebraska and Caleb King? Are grades the problem?

Mike: The top names at running back for Notre Dame would be Armando Allen, Robert Hughes, Jahvid Best, Joe McKnight, Gerald Jones and Bradley Stephens.

The Irish probably have the best shot at Robert Hughes right now. He seems very interested and I'd say ND probably leads for him. ND appears to be very much in the race for Armando Allen as well. I know they're trying to get him up for an early game official visit. Joe McKnight would probably be the long shot here, but he also might be the best of the bunch.

As for Noel Devine and Caleb King, ND is interested in King but he has yet to qualify. ND doesn't have any interest in Devine and he has also yet to qualify.

Michael, Montreal
Just wanted to mention the whole story with Deangelo McCray and Stephen Bradley died down pretty quickly. Now, I wanted to know if you think we will be able to land another DL or LB before Sept (i.e. Donald)? Also, who do you think will surprise us and be the most improved player on D this year?

Mike: I assume Michael means Bradley Stephens with this. ND is still recruiting Bradley, but Stephens has said he's solid with Texas A&M for now. ND didn't show much interest in DeAngelo McCray even after he decommited from Florida. They just didn't appear that interested.

As for another linebacker or defensive line commit before September, it's possible, but I don't expect one. Chris Donald could make a decision but it appears he set on taking some official visits. I don't see any defensive linemen that Notre Dame is recruiting ready to make a decision at this point.

Mickey, Minn.
Final thought, do you know anyone from Georgia who could come on your show and give us their take on Georgia Tech and what they expect to see in the match-up Sept. 2?
Mike: Mickey, we'll try to get the Georgia Tech guy from Scout to come on the show to talk about the team. He's already been on, so it shouldn't be a problem. We'll get him on the week before the game.

Bombomb, South Bend
What do you think of offering the free practice videos as a recruiting tool? It almost seems like it allows recruits a look into the program more than opening it up for fans to see. Do you think that might have been part of the intention of offering the free stuff, to help recruiting?

Mike: While I do think that it can help recruiting and likely one of the reasons they made it free, I don't think that was the main reason. I can't really speak for Notre Dame on the issue. I'm sure they have their reasons.

Chris, Yuma, AZ
It sounds like the freshman will be very good players in the future, and guys like Hand and Kuntz are developing nicely; If these guys play well this year and are solid, how does that effect DT recruiting this and next?

Mike: I think the biggest thing that can impact defensive tackle recruiting is seeing guys like Derek Landri and Trevor Laws making plays this fall. That will certainly help in opening the eyes of some of Notre Dame's top target at DT. I do think players like Pat Kuntz will get some playing time this year. Not sure on Hand as he's injured and out for awhile it appears. I doubt their play would have much of an impact on recruiting either way. I doubt you'll see either getting more than 15 snaps a game.

Chris, Atkins, GA
Mike can you talk a little about silent verbals? If there are some out there, what do you see as the point of these kids waiting? In-state pressure? They want to wait and have their own little press conference?

Mike: I've never felt like a silent verbal is a commitment to anyone. There is obviously some reservation about announcing it to the world or they'd just go public with it. To me that means they still have some underlying issues their working through with their decision before they're 100 percent firm in their commitment.

A lot of silent verbals likely do end up being verbals. For instance, I'm not certain but I'd guess Jimmy Clausen, Duval Kamara, Justin Trattou and Mike Ragone all told the Notre Dame coaching staff they were coming long before the actually announced it.

Do I think there might be some silent verbals out there right now? Yes I do, but for whatever reason, they want to keep it quiet right now and just don't feel comfortable saying their committed to Notre Dame. Until they do, I wouldn't get real excited about it because a lot can change.

Kevin, Arlington Heights
How will Notre Dame's secondary recover after such a disappointing season last year? Will the returning starters get the job done or will there be some freshmen faces starting these games?

Mike: I doubt very much you'll see a freshman starting these games. I believe ND's secondary will play considerably better this season, if for no other reason than experience. All four players return. Bill Lewis is one of the best secondary coaches in the country and will make a big impact on all four. They will give up big plays. All defensive backs do. I do think they'll limit the number of big plays from last year and will play much more consistent football in 2006. You might see a freshman get some playing time in the secondary though, but I doubt any would start.

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