It hasn't taken Blake Ayles (6-foot-4, 235 pounds) long to realize that he will get a chance to play Division I football. He hasn't even completed his junior season, yet he has a list of scholarship offers most seniors would envy.
"USC, UCLA, Notre Dame, ASU, Nebraska, and Colorado," Ayles responded when asked to list his scholarship offers. "It's a huge shock to me. Even though I have the scholarships, I still have to work for everything. I'm going to keep playing hard, because that's what has gotten me to the position that I am so far.
"From my film, I'm a clutch guy, because I convert a lot of fourth down or third and long plays. I really like blocking also. I'm good at getting downfield. It's the big plays and big hits that standout on film."
Those big-time plays didn't go unnoticed by the Irish staff. Despite his existing scholarships offers, he was surprised to receive one from the Irish.
"Acutally I got offered last Friday," Ayles said. "I was pretty excited about it and it's a great school to get an offer from. I had no clue that they were going to do that. They just based their decision off of my film that I sent them. I rarely hear of Notre Dame giving scholarships like that.
"I talked to coach Weis over the phone. They pretty much said that they like to use their tight ends and that they would like me to be one of the guys that they use over there."
Aaron Corp and Michael Reardon, two of Ayles' teammates will be playing at USC next season, which will make Notre Dame's task of signing Blake even more difficult. Despite that Notre Dame does have some appeal.
"Coach Weis makes a big difference with the legacy that he's building," Ayles said of his interest in Notre Dame. "He knows how to use the tight end. He's had a guy go to the pros, so I think he knows what he's doing. How they've been doing the last couple years, the stadium, the crowd, it's everything rolled into one.
"Notre Dame is going to get a great quarterback also. They have Jimmy Clausen coming in," Ayles said.
"I've been to a couple USC games with Aaron Corp, and I think I'm going to the USC/Notre Dame game.