The city of Chicago has filled that role for past Notre Dame teams and Charlie Weis and his staff hope to make that the case again. The Irish made strong inroads into the Windy City with last year's recruiting class, signing Demetrius Jones and Sergio Brown.
This year Notre Dame has again targeted several recruits from Chicago, but they have also begun looking there for the class of 2008 as well. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes?
Martez Wilson, DE, 6-4, 235, Simeon Vocational High School, Chicago, IL is a five star prospect and Scout.com's second ranked defensive end in the class of 2007. Despite rumors to the contrary, Wilson claims no leader for his signature.
"No school is in the lead," responded Wilson. "I'm still open to every school. Teams just have to continue to do what they're doing."
Four schools stand at the top of Wilson's list. The Irish hold one of those top spots, along with Ohio State, Illinois and USC. Wilson watched the Irish against Georgia Tech and liked what he saw.
"I watched them," Wilson said of Notre Dame's performance against Georgia Tech. "I liked them. Even though it was a close game, I liked their competitiveness. I liked their aggressiveness. I liked how they stayed in the game."
One player that Wilson seemed to notice was running back-turned linebacker Travis Thomas. Thomas's move to linebacker speaks volumes about Notre Dame's needs at that position. Wilson has not failed to notice.
"They had number 26 playing defense and he's a running back and they had him playing linebacker the whole game," observed Wilson. "I think I can come in and help at that spot."
Wilson may be ranked as a defensive end but he's actually playing outside linebacker for his high school team. He has put up very good numbers though the ones that he cares most about, wins and losses, haven't been much to his liking. Simeon's 42-22 win on Saturday over Lane marked their first time in the victory column, pushing their record to 1-2.
"We lost to Bolingbrook (the week before the Lane victory) 44-20," said Wilson. "I had three catches for seventy-five yards and two touchdowns. On defense I had thirteen tackles, two sacks and two pass deflections. I'm playing outside linebacker now, I'm not playing [defensive] end and it's actually easier because you can see the run better. You can see which direction it's going. I can just read the offense better."
If Wilson represents one of Notre Dame's top targets in the class of 2007, then Steve Filer, LB, 6-2, 210, Mount Carmel High School, Chicago IL holds one of those spots for the class of 2008. Filer, one of the top linebacker prospects in the class of 2008, heard from the Irish on September 1, the first day that juniors could be formally recruited. Filer liked what he heard.
"Notre Dame sent me a fax and then sent me a couple of text messages," explained Filer. "I called them back and then spoke with Coach Ianello. They said they were real interested in recruiting me. They're really interested in me and they gave me a scholarship offer. I felt really happy that my hard work has paid off. It was an exciting moment."
Filer seems to be as interested in the Irish as they are in him. As is so often the case with recruits, the combination of South Bend and the coaching staff, especially Charlie Weis, has proven to be a very successful combination.
"Most definitely, I'm very interested," responded Filer about the Notre Dame offer. "I went up there for the one-day camp and I really liked it. They have beautiful facilities and they treated me like I was family. I talked to coach Weis a couple of times. He's a very nice guy. He loves what he does. He's very passionate about his job. He loves being around the players and he loves being around football. Those are the type of guys I like."
While Filer admitted to not watching much football as a child, he did have a family connection to Notre Dame.
"When I was younger I really didn't watch much college football," said Filer. "I always felt, ‘why watch it when I can do it myself,' so I really wasn't interested in it but then my cousin went to Notre Dame, Jerome Heavens."
Illinois also offered Filer early so he will probably take his time in deciding on his ultimate college destination. Of course, the longer he waits, the more attention he's going to receive from coaches and recruiting websites across the nation. Filer professes not to care too much about the notoriety.
"I really don't go onto the internet to see what's being said about me," Filer said. "My main focus is on this year, this football season and not about anything else. The goal of the team is to win a state championship. That's what I'm focused on and that's what I want to do right now."
These two summaries represent just a sample of the recruiting information available each week on Irish Eyes.