Swaying the Final Prospects

SAN ANTONIO - Chicago running back Robert Hughes, and Cincinnati defensive end Ben Martin aren't sure if they are going to make a college decision this week at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, held in San Antonio. Huntington, Tenn. linebacker Chris Donald and Jeffersonville, Ga. offensive lineman Chris Little are definitely announcing. Notre Dame commit Gary Gray is sending all of them a sign.

Gray showed up to the Lonestar state Sunday, with a leprechaun cut into the back of his hair, ready to use his fade as a recruiting tool.

"I probably decided about a week ago," the 5-foot-11, 165-pound cornerback said. "My barber said he could do it. I thought about it for a week and went in and got it done Saturday."

When making his verbal commitment to Notre Dame back in April, quarterback Jimmy Clausen said he was going to contact prospects and help recruit them to South Bend. This week is one of his better opportunities to get at potentials like Hughes and Martin.

"There is a lot of guys that are debating one school or Notre Dame," Clausen said. "When it comes down to it, they are going to make the choice that best suits them and their family. They have to do what they have to do. But I'm going to get in their heads a little bit and tell them to come to Notre Dame with me so we can win National Championships."

Maybe those ploys will work.

The 5-foot-11 228-pound Hughes is struggling to decide between Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Illinois. He is close enough to maybe make a choice this coming Saturday, but might still hit the road in January and further evaluate.

"Right now I am currently undecided," Hughes said. "I want to do it down here, but I want to do what's best for me. So, I'll talk it over with my mother, my uncle and my father, some of my other close relatives about if they think I should do it here or should I wait.

After conferring with those people, Hughes would like them to be present when announcing. Only a handful of them will be down for the game.

"I really want to have those guys around me when I make my decision, you know guys that have been there for me for the whole four years throughout high school."

Martin will eventually decide between Notre Dame, Ohio State, Tennessee and Florida. He wasn't close to tipping his hand.

"There is a chance I might announce at the game," Martin stated. "Wherever I'm comfortable, that's always been my main thing is being comfortable with my decision. Whenever I'm ready to make that decision I'll let everybody know."

While Hughes and Martin try to figure things out, Donald and Little have already made a decision and will announce on Saturday's game day.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Donald showed up wearing a Notre Dame wristband on one arm and a Tennessee wristband on the other. One of those will have to go.

"I'm going to make a decision this week, so everybody can wait and be relieved," Donald said with a smile.

"It's kind of been a pain some time. I just have to keep going with it and it's going to come to an end Saturday. That will be getting something off my shoulders and I'm happy about it.

"I think I have a pretty good idea and I'm going to finalize it this week and come out with it Saturday."

The 6-foot-5, 340-pound Little (and he looked all of that) is down to Notre Dame, Florida State and Georgia. He wasn't going to be tricked into saying where he was going before Saturday.

"Well I do, but I'll just wait until this weekend to announce," he said laughing.

There has been some question to where Little will play on the next level. He hopes to play tackle instead of guard this week, and in the future at whatever school he decides.

"I'd like to play left tackle," Little stated. "I like to work hard to protect the quarterback's blind side."


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