Recruiting week in review.

Changes are coming to Notre Dame recruiting. Despite the fact that Charlie Weis's first two full season recruiting classes ranked numbers 5 and 11 according to Scout.com, the Notre Dame head coach admitted that he's made some mistakes, learned some lessons and plans to apply those lessons to future recruiting.

One of those is that the Irish need to get more offers out sooner. These changes, coupled with Notre Dame's shift to a 3-4 defensive scheme should make for an interesting recruiting season.

Even the most casual follower of Notre Dame football knows that this year's recruiting mantra is going to be defense, defense and more defense. The 3-4 will demand that the Irish find big space-eating defensive tackles and a plethora of linebacker/defensive end hybrids. In keeping with their lessons learned, Notre has already issued a host of scholarship offers for the recruiting class of 2008. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes?

The 3-4 scheme demands that Notre Dame recruit and sign big athletic linebackers. Arthur Brown, LB, 6-3, 215, Wichita East High School, Wichita, KS fits that bill perfectly. Brown may well end up being the best linebacker in the class of 2008, a talent that he has demonstrated since he first walked onto the varsity field as a freshman.

The first varsity play of Brown's career resulted in his sacking the quarterback. Since that time he has only gotten better. His head coach, Brian Byers recognizes that he's coaching a very special player in Brown.

"He has good strength, good speed, has a knack for the football, and he plays with a an extremely high level of intensity," said Byers. "He has a motor than when it turns on, it just goes. He's probably the best prospect to come out of this area since [Florida State alum and Cleveland Browns linebacker] Kamerion Wimbley."

When Brown registered that quarterback sack, he was playing purely on talent alone. As a child, he never really watched football. In fact, only recently has Brown become a fan of college football. Before that, he just loved to play the game.

"I never grew up watching football, or ever took an interest in watching it," Brown said. "But I always loved playing it since second grade. That started to change two summers ago and I started watching these colleges. I guess that's when I noticed I'm going to be a part of one of these programs and I need to find out more about them."

While Brown has been putting up incredible numbers the last two years, his knowledge of the game has been growing as well. As a sophomore Brown registered 164 tackles and followed that up with 158 during his junior season despite the fact that teams were trying to avoid him.

"I think his knowledge of the game has improved and his footwork has improved as well," said mentor and trainer Brian Butler. "This season he went from dominating a five foot area, to now he dominates a thirty feet area and he is always a threat."

Brown has also recognized the improvements in his game.

"Basically as a linebacker, I improved in reading the offensive linemen and their steps and movement, and figuring out where the play is going," Brown explained.

Notre Dame has caught Brown's interest and the young Kansan would like to learn more about the Irish.

"As far as Notre Dame goes, I like what I've seen and I like what I've heard, so they are pretty high on my list," said Brown. "I don't know a lot about Notre Dame but I know it's a great environment and I've heard from numerous people that they have a beautiful campus and I am interested in seeing the campus and taking a trip down there."

Brown intends to contact Notre Dame defensive coordinator Corwin Brown within the next couple of weeks but with all the interest he has generated, he has a long list of coaches to call. Brown currently has scholarship offers from Nebraska, Oklahoma, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Michigan, Kansas and Kansas State. Notre Dame has yet to offer but is interested. Of course, most of the rest of the country is interested as well.

Another player that is generating considerable interest is Ethan Johnson, DT, 6-4, 265, Lincoln High School, Portland, OR. After his freshman year, few would have believed that Johnson would be in the position he's in. Johnson suffered a preseason injury and on the advice of his doctor and his parents, spent the season rehabbing in the pool. That mode of rehabilitation wasn't particularly surprising since his parents had both been high school swimmers. However, his teammates seemed less convinced of Johnson's injury than his parents and doctor. They called him soft and Johnson became determined to prove them wrong. The result has been an incredible work ethic and a burning desire to prove his detractors wrong.

"I was fired up," Johnson explained. "All these kids were calling me soft and weak. I was fed up and had worked out for the last year. I had something to prove. I have kept that mentality. People talk and you just have to keep working hard."

Johnson's hard work has paid off. After dropping to 220 pounds his sophomore season, his decision to forego basketball and live in the weight enabled him to add forty pounds to his frame and gain considerable amounts of strength. He currently reports a 315 pound bench press and can rep 505 pounds on the squat.

Johnson recorded eighty tackles last year and ten sacks but was frustrated by constant double teams. He even played some middle linebacker though Notre Dame undoubtedly has him targeted either for nose tackle or defensive end. In fact, the Irish are so high on him that they have already made him a written scholarship offer.

"It was exciting," Johnson said of Weis offering. "He just said I was just the kind of player that they wanted. I had the grades and he said congratulations. I was just amazed. I couldn't believe it. That was my first offer since like September."

Though Johnson has expressed an interest to stay in state with either Oregon or Oregon State, he has also showed a willingness to consider leaving. Notre Dame is one of those schools out of state schools that he's thinking about.

"I have a lot of interest, they are a great school," said Johnson of Notre Dame. "They have a great tradition there. I just want to visit it, and I want to see the place because I've never been to Notre Dame. But from what I've seen and heard and read on the website and seen on TV it looks like a great place. I'm not going to name any favorites but they are definitely up there. I'm definitely considering it, that's all I'm saying."

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

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