Stone Bridge Pipeline?

When Notre Dame assistant coach Peter Vaas stopped by Stone Bridge High (Ashburn, Va.) a couple weeks ago to check up on Irish commit Andrew Nuss, he has also made it a point to talk with junior safety Jeron Gouveia.

Notre Dame is one of the many schools sending Jeron Gouveia, one of the most talented safeties in the 2008 recruiting class, letters in the mail. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound defensive back says Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and Virginia are the schools showing him the most interest.

"No offers yet, I'm hoping for some soon," he said.

Gouveia, who was named all-state as a sophomore and likely will be again this year, has been on the campuses of both in-state schools, but has yet to make it into South Bend. He had a trip scheduled to see Notre Dame, but he tore his meniscus in Stone Bridge's playoff opener and ended up canceling.

"I've been in touch with Peter Vaas, and I was going to go down there for a visit, and I was going to check out the school and get to know the coaches and the people and see what Notre Dame was all about," Gouveia explained.

"I've rescheduled with coach to go down there in the spring for a day camp." Gouveia also plans to hit camps at Virginia Tech, Virginia and possibly Maryland.

Gouveia, the son of former NFL player Kurt Gouveia, had 65 tackles and three interceptions this past season, en route to being named the district and area defensive Player of the Year. The all-state team hasn't been named yet.

"He's extremely aggressive," Stone Bridge head coach Mickey Thompson stated. "For a secondary guy, he makes a lot of plays at the line of scrimmage. You always worry about him giving up the deep ball, but he never has because he has great instincts about the game."

"A couple times this year they moved me up to a linebacker spot against teams that like to power run the ball," Gouveia said.

"Teams tried to stay away from me a lot. This year, I didn't get many opportunities to make plays through the air."

With Stone Bridge blowing teams out on a regular basis, Gouveia wasn't on the field for nearly the amount of time he was as a sophomore. In his breakout season, Gouveia registered 95 tackles, caused three fumbles and picked off four passes, returning one 90 yards for a score.

"That was pretty cool," he said.

Gouveia had that kind of production without being a starter the first two games of the season.

"You always worry about a sophomore being able to handle the speed and physical play of varsity football coming off freshman ball, so you are worried to stick them in their right away," Thompson explained. "We saw him make a couple plays when he did come in, and from then on, he's been our best defensive player."

Stone Bridge's best defensive player was slowed the last two weeks of this season by his meniscus, before finally tearing the cartilage completely.

"I hurt it in practice, but I tore it completely in the playoff game," Gouveia said.

"This isn't that big of an injury, I was walking on it the next day. I just wasn't able to compete. I'd never had an injury that kept me out."

"I'm pretty close to being 100 percent. I'm able to run pretty fast. I haven't tried to cut on it full speed. I can run straight on it pretty fast and the strength is getting there."

Gouveia says he has 4.7 speed in the 40-yard dash. He ran a 4.8 laser time at the Nike Camp at Penn State back in May. He also benched pressed 185 three times, but admits it was a bad day all around, and that he has posted better numbers since then.

Gouveia had done a lot of work to get better at combine activities. Three protein shakes a day, has his weight up from 165 as a sophomore to 180 as a junior. He hopes to be up to 195 by next season, with a 40-yard dash time in the 4.5s. He can now bench press 185 10 times, with a max of 260 pounds.

"My legs are pretty skinny, I've been working them hard," Gouveia began explaining on how he is going to improve his 40. "I've been doing a lot of squats, getting more leg muscles. I've been practicing running sprints, getting out of the box faster, being more explosive."

Thompson has talked to Vass a bit about Gouveia.

"Not a whole lot, just I think they want him to be a little bigger and faster, the type of things physical maturity takes care of and hard work," Thompson said. "They've been impressed with his film and how he is on the field."

Notre Dame isn't the only school impressed.

Gouveia stopped by the Virginia Tech camp for a day this past summer so their defensive backs coach Torrian Gray could get a look at him against top-notch competition.

"He's been talking to me about potentially playing there," Gouveia said. "He says I can play, I just have to get bigger and get the body for college football."

At the rate Gouveia is progressing in the weight room and on the scale, being bigger and stronger by the time he suits up in a major-college uniform should be no problem.

But what uniform? Nuss picks his spots to tell Gouveia Notre Dame is the right place for him as well.

"He makes comments now and again about me going their with him, and how great it is," Gouveia said.

"We're good friends in school, but don't spend that much time together after school."

Maybe they'll start spending a lot of time together at Notre Dame. Top Stories