Steve Paskorz (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) has fought his way through two injuries during the past year. Now that he is healthy he's focusing on being prepared for the next stage of his career.
"I'm doing good. I recently got cleared from the hamstring injury I had at the end of my season," Paskorz responded when asked about his health. "Last Friday I did a strength test and the leg that was injured is actually better than my good leg. In general everything is going good. Everything healed properly. It healed like a normal hamstring. I gave it some time, but I'm not going to work it too hard right off the bat. I'm just going to gradually work my way back and get my speed back."
Paskorz built his reputation as being a physical, punishing running back throughout high school. He certainly has the ability to work into the backfield rotation at Notre Dame, but the Notre Dame staff intends to use him on the defensive side of the ball.
"Coach Weis was here on Monday and he talked about me playing defense," Paskorz explained. "He said he likes what I can do on offense, but he has me on the board as a defensive player. When I get up to Notre Dame it sounds like I'm going to get all my reps on defense at first. He was strictly talking about defense during his visit. He didn't even mention anything about offense when he was here.
"I just want to play wherever gets me on the field the fastest. He said that I'd start at linebacker, but he wasn't concerned about whether I'd be an inside or outside linebacker right now. He wants speed on the field and he said that I have the ability to compete immediately. He said that he likes me as a player and he likes my athleticism. They don't have that many linebackers, so I think I'm going have a chance to play early."
The playing opportunities Paskorz referenced were created when senior linebackers Mitchell Thomas and Nick Borseti did not request a fifth year. It also appears that Travis Thomas, who started at one linebacker position last season, will be moving back to running back. Notre Dame has room for at least one more linebacker recruit in this class, but it appears that the Irish will only bring in two.
"It's a bummer that we're not getting some of the linebackers that we were recruiting, but it also works out to the advantage of me and Aaron [Nagel]," he said. "We'll be up there June 18. Until then I'm just working hard and trying to get my leg back to normal strength and get my speed back.
"I'm still 220 pounds. I've gotten stronger up top, but I need to get my legs stronger and just stay healthy. After signing day coach Mendoza will send me their strength and conditioning program. Other than that they just said to stay healthy, stay out of trouble and keep your grades up."
Steve is anxious to get rolling at Notre Dame, but until he reports he is going to enjoy his final days of high school.
"I think I'm going to enjoy being a regular student the last couple months," he said. "I thought about the early graduation thing, but you just miss a lot of high school things and that's just something I don't want to do. I might take a couple visits to Notre Dame, because I know a couple students that are from around my area. I'll definitely make it to the spring game."