Recruiting week in review.

With National Letter of Intent Day a little more than a week away, the Notre Dame coaching staff is busy shoring up its verbal commitments for 2007. That does not mean they are neglecting the Class of 2008.

In fact, just last weekend, the Irish hosted approximately thirty juniors on Saturday, January 27 for a Junior Day. In addition, they have already hit the recruiting trail hard in the quest to acquire next year's recruits. The staff's travels have taken them to Florida where there appears to be a plethora of top players in next year's class. The Notre Dame coaching staff has targeted several players there, including two at crucial positions of need. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes?

As Irish fans frequently point out, Notre Dame isn't for everyone. The academic requirements intimidate some recruits while others don't find South Bend exciting enough. However, there are some high school athletes that might find South Bend a refreshing break. One such player very well could be Marcus Forston, DT, 6-3, 290, Miami Northwestern High School, Miami, FL. Every day Forston thinks about escaping his tough neighborhood for greener pastures.

"I can see me getting out of Miami, getting out of a bad neighborhood and experiencing different things," said Forston.

Forston's on-field performances should give him plenty of options for a change of location. In leading Northwestern High School to a state championship, he compiled 96 tackles, including 20 sacks and two forced fumbles.

Northwestern head coach Roland Smith knows that he's coaching a very special player.

"He is a kid that runs fast for his size," said Smith. "He is very athletic and has a motor that won't quit."

Forston, who carries a 3.0 g.p.a., describes himself as explosive. Though constantly doubled-teamed he still makes plays.

"It [a double team] doesn't work," explained Forston. "Only way it works is if they double team and a running back comes and chips."

His performance at last year's Rutgers camp bears out Forston's self-described explosiveness. Though 290 pounds, he clocked a 4.8 forty. He also self-reports a bench press of 365 pounds and a 510 pound squat.

Although the recruiting attention has awed Forston, he's not completely in the dark about the process. He's had two older brothers who have gone through it, one signing with Florida Atlantic and the other with Florida A&M.

"When my brother Dustin used to get all that mail, I used to be jealous," Forston said. "I was like, ‘I play varsity and I don't get any mail. My brother said you are younger, your day will come. You are going to be big, just wait."

Forston is certainly big—and not just physically either. He already boasts scholarship offers from Miami, Florida, Rutgers and Ole Miss. He's receiving steady mail from Notre Dame.

"I know it's [Notre Dame] a nice school," said Forston. "I like it academically. That is probably the number one thing I think about. Football will always be there. I really want to meet their head coach. If he could come to Coach Smith's office, I really would appreciate it."

Forston doesn't seem to have the ego that sometimes accompanies prospective Top 100 recruits. He also possesses a different agenda from the typical big-time recruit. He wants to go someplace where his considerable talents will be needed and appreciated.

"I want to go to a school that needs help, that needs me," explained Forston. "If they help me, I'm going to help them. I want to be an impact player."

While Marcus Forston will undoubtedly be an impact player wherever he chooses, he isn't the only impact player that Northwestern High School will produce this year. Sean Spence, LB, 6-1, 195, Northwestern High School, Miami, FL could also be a Top 100 player. Not only does Spence play with tremendous athleticism, but he also brings an incredible work ethic and intellect to the game as well.

"He plays Mike, Sam or Will backer," said Northwestern head coach Roland Smith. "He plays all three for me. He has a nose for the ball, very instinctive, very smart player. We call him coach Spence, his nickname on the field because he makes sure everyone is lined up right and he is making all the defensive calls."

Spence demonstrated his athleticism with a 4.5 forty at last year's Florida camp. The football I.Q. comes from a combination of God-given ability and hard work. He uses his lunchtime to watch film. When school is out and his homework is done, he's not out running around with friends but in the coach's office, watching film.

"I like to watch film and I pick up on it fast," said Spence. "Everyday I come in during lunch, and any free time I get, I watch film."

Spence is only one of two freshmen to start on the varsity at Northwestern during Smith's sixteen years. Marcus Forston is the other. While earning a starting job as a freshman speaks volumes about Spence's ability, it was also, at times, a very difficult learning experience.

"It was a big experience for me, starting," said Spence. "I had to adjust to the speed of the game. I like to play fast, aggressive and with speed. I like to play outside but I can play them all. Outside I can really use my speed to my advantage."

Last year Spence recorded a whopping 168 tackles, ten of those for loss. He forced three fumbles and had two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. He currently lists his top five, in no particular order, as Miami, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Florida and Rutgers.

Spence has several reasons for considering Notre Dame.

"Because they are legendary," he replied to what attracted him to Notre Dame. "Armando Allen just committed there and he is a Miami guy, and I know him real well. I didn't get a chance to talk to him before he went up, but I know his personality and he went there for a reason."

Spence continued.

"Anytime you're Notre Dame, your name speaks for itself. You're on TV every week. You're one of the most prestigious programs in the country."

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