Irish Make McDonald A Priority

It's becoming apparent that the Notre Dame coaching staff is making an early push for big-time defensive players. The latest scholarship offer for the 2008 recruiting class was sent to linebacker Anthony McDonald of Notre Dame high school (Sherman Oaks, CA)

Notre Dame offered two big, physical linebackers yesterday. One scholarship went to Shayne Hale of Pennsylvania and the second offer was issued to Anthony McDonald (6-foot-3, 220 pounds).

"I talked to Notre Dame [Thursday] and they offered me a full scholarship," McDonald replied when asked if he had spoken with the Notre Dame coaching staff. "I've been talking to them for a couple weeks and I've been sending text messages to coach Brown, the defensive coordinator and coach Polian, the linebackers coach. They said they really liked my tape.

"[Thursday] I received a text message from coach Weis saying that he wanted me to call him. He answered the phone and said that he watched the first ten plays of my tape and after that he turned it off. I thought that meant it was bad [news]. Then he said he thought it was great and that he wanted to offer me a scholarship.

"He's cool and really laid back," McDonald said of Weis. "He gets to the point… I like him. It's big. I've always liked Notre Dame and it's one of my favorite colleges. It feels good."

Anthony's father Mike played linebacker for USC ('76-'79), so Anthony's is very familiar with Notre Dame.

"I know Notre Dame has great tradition and always has a pretty good football team," McDonald explained. "Coach Brown said that they've had really good offenses and that now they're really going to get down to business and build a great defense.

"They told me that they were trying to focus more on the linebackers. It sounds like they really want me and that I'd be one of their spotlight players. I know wherever I go I'll play.

In addition to the scholarship offer from Notre Dame, McDonald holds an offer from Ole Miss. That should change quickly for the hard-nose linebacker, as a number of top teams already have him on their priority list.

"Oregon said they were going to offer me soon," McDonald said. "They want to see my transcripts, so I sent those over to them. They're probably going to be offering me soon. I've been talking to Ohio State and Penn State. I haven't heard that much from USC, but they've showed interest.

"USC has a junior day coming up that they want me to go to. Notre Dame said that they're having a junior day on March ,and they want me to show up. I'd like to take a trip out there, so I might go if my parents want to.

"I really don't have a list of top schools, but Notre Dame is definitely at the top," he said. "Once I start pulling in more offers I'll start setting up an order."

It will be interesting to see if the Irish stay near the top throughout the year. Anthony is genuinely excited about the Irish offer, but he certainly isn't in a hurry to make a decision.

"I want to take trips to places and see the campuses and talk to everyone before I commit somewhere," McDonald explained. "Early playing time would be good, but if I did red-shirt it really doesn't matter. I know I'll play eventually."

Anthony will play. His talent isn't tough to spot. He's a big hitter with great natural instincts.

"I play fast and I have good downhill pursuit angels," he replied when asked about his style of play. "I close on the ball fast and make big hits. I stop the ball carrier at the line or behind the line of scrimmage. I'm very aggressive. My biggest strength would probably be my reads. I make fast reads. I'd probably say my aggressiveness is up there too."

McDonald reported a 3.4 g.p.a. Top Stories