Bradly Roussel's English teacher last year at Redemptorist High in Baton Rouge, La., was part of the program, and spoke highly of Notre Dame. Talk about how nice the campus is, how great the football stadium is, and how nice the city of South Bend is, intrigued Roussel.
"I mean, it's Notre Dame, that's a place anyone would want to go," said Roussell, now a junior and one of the most talented linebackers in the 2008 recruiting class. "Everyone we've had in the ACE program has been really well educated and seem like they've come from a good system."
What the 5-foot-11, 218-pound Roussel has done on the football field has intrigued Notre Dame.
It wasn't long after Roussel started thinking about Notre Dame, that Notre Dame started thinking about him. As a sophomore, Roussell racked up 141 tackles with five sacks and 14 tackles for loss, earning a spot on the 4A Coaches All-State team.
Roussel followed up his sophomore year with 91 tackles, 12 for loss, including 4 sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception. The numbers were down a bit as the middle linebacker was fighting off constant double teams as a marked man. Roussel was also battling back from a case of mononucleosis, and Redemptorist had three less games. When all-state is selected on Dec. 14, Roussel should have a spot.
"(Assistant coach) Mike Haywood came by during their last open date," Redemptorist head coach Guy Mistretta said.
Roussel says he has been getting mail from Florida, Auburn, Nebraska, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona State, North Carolina, UCLA, Vanderbilt , Duke, Oklahoma, LSU, and Washington. The letters come weekly and sometimes twice a week. Mail has been coming since right after his sophomore year.
An offer from Tennessee has also come in.
"That was really cool," Roussel stated.
A football was probably in the crib when Roussel was a baby. His father Holenn played linebacker for 1957 Heisman Trophy winner John David Crow (Texas A&M) at the University of Louisiana Monroe. He has been an integral part of Bradly's development as a football player.
"He just trains me a lot and he always knows what to do when I have a problem, what to do with an injury," Roussel said. "He feeds me right, makes sure I'm getting the right nutrition."
Roussel's older brother Blaine was a 6-foot-2 296-pound all-state offensive lineman that went on to play at Division I-AA Southern Illinois. So football was oozing from the two guys Roussel looked up to the most.
Bradly appears to be the most talented of the bunch.
"Bradly's a typical middle linebacker type," Mistretta began. "He's a downhill player, very aggressive, with a great nose for the football. We use him to pressure. He has great instincts."
That aggressive style comes from a passion for the weight room. Roussel has been coached by Gayle Hatch, the coach of the 2004 USA Olympic Weightlifting Team, since he was 12-years old. Hatch's club has won more than 40 men's, junior, senior and masters national championships. Roussel's freshman year, he finished second in his classification at the state weight lifting meet. The events were clean and jerk, and the snatch.
Roussel says he can bench press 315 pounds, squat 455 pounds, and 4.7 is his fastest 40-yard dash time. By next football season, he'd like to weigh at least 225 and increase those numbers in the weight room.
The obvious knock on Roussel is his height. However his father is a shade over 6-foot and his brother is 6-foot-2. He has another year to grow. If he doesn't grow, he isn't too worried about it.
"I have to say, whenever I stop putting up numbers you know…," Roussel stated. "But I don't really think it's that big of deal as long as I can carry the weight and move with it."
"I say watch his film, watch his highlights," Mistretta said. "He plays big and he plays fast. He has all the intangibles other than height.
Roussel is not sure what camps he is going to attend this coming summer, but said that he will probably come up for Notre Dame's.
He has to confirm what his ACE teacher was saying.
"I'm looking forward to the recruiting process and narrowing down my decision," Roussel said.
If Notre Dame were to offer, a decision that could eventually be Irish. Thanks would be in order for the ACE program.