Notre Dame hosted some of their top recruiting targets this past Saturday and it appears that the Irish coaching staff made a strong impression on all the prospects. Irish Eyes spoke with a number of the players in attendance to get their thoughts on the junior day activities.
Local product Braxton Cave of Penn High School, knows the campus well enough that coach Powlus considered allowing him to lead the tours. The offensive lineman has been a welcomed visitor at all of Notre Dame's recruiting events since last fall. He did not receive an offer on this visit, but he will know his status as early as Tuesday: "Coach Weis pulled me aside and spoke with me and my parents," Cave said. "I asked him where I stood with recruiting and [coach Weis] said that he was going to stop by school on Tuesday."
John Goodman, a wide receiver from Fort Wayne (Ind.), is a prospect that is extremely high on Notre Dame's target list, said, "Things went really well. I really liked it. I spoke with coach Ianello again. He said he saw my tape and he said they really liked it."
Cornerback Johnny Adams made the trip from Akron, Ohio with his mother. Adams will be difficult to lure from under the Buckeyes, but if Adams doesn't have and offer from the Irish by this summer, he said that he is willing to earn one. "Things went well, things went real well. It was a nice place. It was a nice experience. I'll probably come to one of [Notre Dame's] one-day camps."
Joliet Catholic Academy (Ill.) has produced several players for the Irish through the years, and this year the Irish have their eye on the Hilltopper's linebacker Nick Clancy. Clancy attended Notre Dame's football camp this summer, but he said this visit allowed him to see more of the campus, "It went real well. I was impressed with the whole campus. We got a tour of the locker room and then had lunch. I had been over for a camp, but I didn't get a detailed tour like I did this time. I enjoyed myself, and I know my mom and dad did as well."
Running back Jason Ford of Belleville, Ill. could be the top running back in the Midwest for 2008. The past two years Notre Dame has landed the top Midwest running back with James Aldridge in 2006 and Robert Hughes this year. According to Ford, the Irish may not add too many ball carriers in this class, "We talked to the coaches. When we were talking to the running backs coach he said that they probably would only have one scholarship for a running back next year, because they were full at the position."
Mike Spooner, a linebacker from St. Edwards High School (Lakewood, Ohio) is a good-looking player. He's the hard-nosed type of player the Irish need in the middle of their defense. Notre Dame will have a chance, but an Ohio State offer would be difficult to beat, "I've always been an Ohio State fan. Growing up here that's real easy, but I'm definitely looking for different things -- where I'll fit in and other things. If a school is interested [in me], I'm interested [in them]."
The only player to attend the junior day that had a scholarship offer when he arrived was Kyle Rudolph of Elder High School (Cincinnati, Ohio). The tight end was on campus for the North Carolina game last fall. This trip allowed him to become more familiar with Notre Dame. Rudolph said, "The main thing I got out of the trip was a better relationship with the coaches. We got a lot more time to talk. I spoke a lot with coach Brown, coach Parmalee and coach Weis. Coach Brown is the new recruiting coordinator for Ohio. I want to take some more visits and see what else is out there before I decide. I really like what Notre Dame offers and how they use their tight ends... it's a good situation."
Linebacker Sheldon Gaines of Crockett Technical High School (Detroit, Mich.) doesn't have any scholarship offers at this time, but his athleticism will land him plenty before the year is out. The Irish just recently started recruiting him, "This was my first time [at Notre Dame]. I know they graduate a lot of their people. The academics is what I was interested in most. I really liked the coaches. Everything was great... I liked the facilities. There really weren't any drawbacks. I really liked everything. Right now I'm going to see what their interest is in me and go from there."
Donald Mathis also of Crockett Technical High School also enjoyed his trip to South Bend. The offensive lineman liked the Irish offensive line coach, "[Coach Latina] was a very cool guy. I liked him. He treated me real well. I need to get a highlight film into him. He didn't talk about a scholarship, but said they were interested in bringing in three offensive linemen in this class. Hopefully I'm one of them."
Tight end Mike Stoneburner is from Dublin High School (Ohio). He has scholarship offers from Clemson and Iowa. He's been to Notre Dame several times, and he believes Notre Dame is one of the top all-around programs in the country. "Most schools are happy to have one thing, but Notre Dame has one of the best football programs in the nation…one that can contend for a national championship every year, and still offer an Ivy League education. You can't beat that anywhere. Even if you don't end up playing in the pros, you still end up with a great education. I think that's what different about Notre Dame and most schools"
Perhaps the biggest news of the weekend came from Dave Posluszny of Hopewell High School (Aliquippa, Pa.) "It went really... and they offered me," Posluszny said. "I just feel fortunate for a school with the prestige of Notre Dame to be so interested in me. I'm just really grateful. Notre Dame is obviously a very good school and I am interested in them. Right now I'm going to let things sink in and go from here."