Recruiting week in review.

In modern American culture, no number conjures up more ambivalence than the number three. Three on a match is unlucky. The third strike and one is out, but the third time is often a charm. For Notre Dame the number three proved to be good as the Irish picked up three verbal commitments last week alone.

Two of them, Ian Williams and Golden Tate committed publicly within hours of each other on the same day. The third commitment occurred much more privately. And even while the coaching staff works feverishly to close out the class of 2007 in strong fashion, they are also making inroads with key recruits for the class of 2008. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes?

Taylor Dever, OL, 6-6, 295, Nevada Union High School, Grass Valley, CA became the fifteenth verbal commitment in Notre Dame's 2007 recruiting class. The California lineman considered pulling the trigger during his official visit last weekend but chose instead to take some time to reflect on his decision. When coach Brian Polian made an in-house visit last Thursday, Dever had apparently reflected enough.

"Yes, I did," responded Dever to a question on whether he had committed to Notre Dame. "Coach Polian came to my house on Thursday. I was a little hesitant to say ‘yes' because this was such a big decision. We talked about it. He was totally honest with me. He told me how he was feeling and how [the Notre Dame staff] felt about me."

Dever felt very comfortable in South Bend. He knew that it was the place for him but coach Polian provided that bit of reassurance that Dever needed to pull the trigger.

"When you visit a school, you're checking out the school and checking out what the school has to offer you," explained Dever. "But they're also checking you out. He (Polian) said it was evident that I was a perfect fit for the school and I felt the same way. I needed to hear that for it to finally click."

A common theme expressed by many, many Notre Dame recruits is that the staff does not put pressure on them to commit. Dever echoed that sentiment.

"He told me that he wasn't going to pressure me into committing," said Dever. "He said that he could sense that I felt comfortable at Notre Dame when I was visiting, and that if I felt it was the right place then I should make the decision. He wasn't trying to pressure me at all, which I appreciated."

Because Dever grew up in a family of Notre Dame fans, his commitment may not have been that big of a surprise to everyone. That didn't make his family any less proud of their talented son.

"My parents are very proud," said Dever. "Everyone's so proud of me and I've always had a great support system. My dad's dad and my dad's brother are huge Notre Dame fans and I grew up watching them. I've always been a huge fan. My high school is blue and gold. So, it's all pretty amazing."

Notre Dame's traditions lure many recruits to South Bend. And while the football tradition is strong, Notre Dame's history as an outstanding academic institution also appeals to recruits and even more to their parents. It appears, though, that Notre Dame's academic programs could play a bit of a different role in eventually bringing in another great player.

Bradley Rousel, LB, 5-11, 215 attends Redemptorist High in Baton Rouge LA. Like many under-resourced Catholic High Schools in the United States, they are benefited by an educational program at Notre Dame called Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE). This two-year program enables college graduates to teach at qualifying Catholic high schools. Roussel's sophomore English teacher worked as part of the ACE program. His enthusiasm for the Irish made quite an impression on the talented Louisiana linebacker.

"I mean it's Notre Dame, that's a place anyone would want to go," explained Roussel. "Everyone we've had in the ACE program has been really well educated and seem like they've come from a good system."

At about the same time that Roussel's interest in Notre Dame began to grow, Irish interest in him also skyrocketed. Any sophomore that puts up a 141 tackle, 5 sack and 14 tackles for loss season is bound to generate attention. He followed that up this year with 91 tackles, 4 sacks, 12 tackles for loss while battling the lingering effects of mononucleosis. His team also played three fewer games.

Football in general and linebacking in particular is in Roussel's blood. His father played linebacker at the University of Louisiana-Monroe and has been an integral part of his son's development.

"He just trains me a lot and 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 coach, Guy Mistretta, describes him as a "typical middle linebacker type...very aggressive." That aggression probably stems from the fact that he's been trained in strength and conditioning by Gayle Hatch, a name well known to Olympic weightlifting fans. Hatch served as the American weightlifting coach for the 2004 Olympics. Hatch has been training Roussel since he was twelve. Roussel currently claims a 315 pound bench, 455 pound squat and a 4.7 forty.

In addition to Notre Dame, Roussel has been receiving recruiting attention from numerous schools including an offer from Tennessee.

These two summaries represent just a sample of the football recruiting information available each week on Irish Eyes. Top Stories