Recruiting week in review.

It's crunch time for recruiting. This next week will go a long way in determining whether Notre Dame's 2007 recruiting class is a good or great one. The Army All-American game has become a venue for high school football players to announce their college choices.

Notre Dame currently has eight committed prospects playing in the game and ten more that they are currently recruiting. Several of these will be announcing their college choices during the game. The number of these recruits that pull the Notre Dame hat out of the box will define the difference between a good class and a great class. The Irish faithful feel very good about at least two of these talented young athletes. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes?

Two young men who plan to announce and about whom many Irish recruitniks feel good are Matt Romine and Lorenzo Edwards. Romine, OL, 6-6, 270, Union High School, Tulsa, OK plans to choose from among Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Miami.

"They are the schools that have been on me the longest, they've been the most consistent with it, they're (all) great schools," said Romine of his three finalists. "OU is close to home, Miami has a great program and Notre Dame's got a great program and great academics in the field of school I want to go to, so that is kind of how they made their way to the top."

Romine has apparently treated recruiting like a game, considering these last few weeks the fourth quarter. He realizes that it's time to step up and finish the job.

"The past couple of days I've been really kind of thinking about it coming to crunch time," explained Romine. "I think I've got that feel. I haven't informed any coaches or anything. I'm looking to do that early this week because I'm supposed to do it by Wednesday, but I haven't done that yet. In my heart I've got a feel."

While Romine hasn't informed the three respective coaches, he has told his parents.

"They talk about Oklahoma but they can't deny Notre Dame and how great of a school they are," said Romine. "I've been blessed that my dad has been able to take me around on these unofficial visits. I've felt confident in my decision knowing I've seen all my options."

Lorenzo Edwards, S/LB, 6-2, 221, Edgewater High School, Orlando FL has also reached a decision. He has selected from his five finalists of Notre Dame, Michigan, Georgia Tech, Florida and Clemson. Unlike Romine, Edwards has informed the respective coaches of his decision.

Edwards hopes to major in architecture and someday open his own firm. One potential obstacle in Notre Dame's recruitment of him is the requirement that all Irish architecture students spend a year in Rome. Edwards has made it clear that this won't be a deterrent.

"It's not that big of a hurdle," said Edwards of the year in Rome. "I'm pursuing my academic dream, let alone my football dream so I'm privileged to have an opportunity to go to Rome. Basically I would have to red-shirt that year and come back the next two years."

While Notre Dame's focus this week will be squarely on their bowl game with LSU and events at the Army All-American game, the class of 2008 looms ever closer as their top recruiting priority. Once National Letter of Intent Day comes and goes, the staff will turn its nearly undivided recruiting attention to those players. One name that will almost certainly figure prominently in Notre Dame's 2008 recruiting is Mike Spooner. Spooner, LB, 6-1, 215, St. Edwards High School, Lakewood, Ohio attended the Army game and hears regularly from the Irish staff.

"They've been sending me stuff on a weekly basis," explained Spooner. "I got game invites during the season. Now I'm just getting updates about the team and what they're doing. The last one wished me a Merry Christmas."

Spooner hadn't been on the South Bend campus since he attended a basketball camp in fifth grade. The first things he noticed were the improvements to the facilities.

"I thought it was awesome," Spooner said of the facilities upgrades. "It's been a while but I could tell a lot of things have been done. The stadium and the facilities were awesome."

Spooner finished his high school season as the second leading tackler on his team. He racked up 62 tackles, 10 for loss, a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception. He did all that while dealing with a stress fracture in his back that sidelined him for a game and limited him during several others.

"Overall it was a pretty good year," Spooner said. "We came up a little short in the playoffs, we lost in the second round. From that point on it was a little disappointing but we have another year to win a state championship."

Though he has yet to receive his first offer, Notre Dame, Boston College and Louisville have been regularly sending him mail and Ohio State has been frequently text messaging him. Even with all the competition, Notre Dame is clearly in the mix.

"They are very high," said Spooner of the Irish. "If they were to offer, they'd be one of my top choices."

Spooner hopes to make a decision before his senior year but doesn't know if he'll have the offers in place to do that.

"I think it would be nice to have a decision done before senior year, but I don't know if it will be possible," said Spooner. "I don't know if I will have that many choices by then."

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

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