Steve Paskorz (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) won't be certain he's completely healthy until he starts banging heads for real, but he is confident that it is just a matter of time until he's slicing through defenses once again.
"I feel good, at times it's a little fatigued and sore, but it's not at the point that it really affects me," Paskorz explained when asked the status of his ankle. "I can still cut, I can still run, the only thing that's lacking right now is my speed. I'm a little slow right now, but the physical therapist said that should slowly pick back up.
"We're in three-a-days now and it's rough. We have three practices each day; offense, defense and special teams. Our first practice starts at 8:00 a.m. We go for about two and a half hours and then we get an hour break. We go another two and a half hours, an hour break, and then right back to another practice when it's probably the hottest."
Tomorrow Paskorz and his teammates will get a chance to see if all their hard work has paid off when Hampton travels to Ringgold high school.
"We have a scrimmage this Saturday and Ringgold," Paskorz said. "They're another AAA-team. We've never played them and we don't know much about them, but they should be pretty good. This year we have pretty high expectations for our team so our coach scheduled a tough team for us.
"Our first game is September 1. We play Blackhawk high school at our place. That should be a real good game. Our team has been good the last couple years, so they're starting to consider us a powerhouse. Blackhawk is always good and they have a reputation of being a real powerhouse football team."
It has been nearly three months since Paskorz received and accepted Notre Dame's scholarship offer. Despite the commitment the Irish staff has stayed in close contact with their future linebacker.
"They're staying in contact. I get the occasional text messages. I get mail from all the coaches and stuff like that," Paskorz replied when asked about this contact with the Notre Dame coaches. "Coach Weis is really the one that has been text messaging me. He's really the one that stays in contact. Coach Latina texted me the other day to find out about my official visit. I got a hand-written letter the other day from coach Minter, so my position coach, recruiting coach and the head coach are all staying in pretty good contact with me.
"Penn State is the game that I'm thinking about taking my official visit. I need to see what works out best for them and for me. I want to get out there and get an in-depth tour of the place. I'll just get down there for the official visit so I can see everything and get to know the coaches a lot better and actually see a game. I've actually never seen a real game there, but I want to get to as many as I can."
Some players who commit early eventually waver and end up de-committing. Irish fans don't have to worry about Paskorz. The commitment the Irish staff has shown him has made him that more confident in his decision.
"Oh no. No regrets whatsoever," Paskorz quickly responded when asked if he had regrets of his early commitment. "There's no sign of backing out. Some guys will commit and then back out, but I'm solid. There's no chance that I back out of this. With Notre Dame it's not only football, but its education and everything else."
Paskorz worked his way through an ankle injury during his junior campaign to rush for 1,296 yards on 160 carries and 14 touchdowns. During his sophomore season he complied 2,188 yards on 188 carries and 27 touchdowns.