Whether Notre Dame's lack of speed is actually real or merely a perception, Charlie Weis and his staff have worked very hard to bring in dynamic athletes and playmakers in the last two recruiting classes. Whether the current roster contains those type of game breakers remains to be seen. Nonetheless, the Irish coaches continue to seek out as much speed as they can.
Just last week the Notre Dame coaching staff threw their hat into the ring for two such playmakers. Though there's still eleven months until 2008 signing day, Notre Dame figures to stay in the mix for these two speedsters. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes?
Notre Dame has signed a host of big receivers during Charlie Weis's tenure. With the exception of D.J. Hord, though, they really haven't been able to bring in the true burner. They hope that they can reverse that trend with A.J. Alexander and Martavious Odoms.
Alexander, WR, 5-10, 190, Altoona Area High School, Altoona, PA reports a 40 time of 4.3 seconds. That's the serious kind of speed that the Irish coaching staff covets.
"I spoke with coach Weis yesterday and he said that he watched my tape," said Alexander. "He asked me what position I wanted to play in college. I told him I wanted to play running back or receiver. Then he said that he had two more questions. He asked, ‘do you want a scholarship?' I said yeah. He said with my speed that I was what they were looking for on offense. Then he said ‘I have this paper in front of me. I guess I can send it out to you then.' Then he asked me, ‘how is your day now?' I told him it was a lot better."
It was indeed a big day for Alexander. He had already received scholarship offers from Florida State, Virginia and Boston College earlier in the day. In addition to those four, Alexander currently holds offers from Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Penn State, Pitt, Louisville, Georgia, Maryland and Iowa. The Irish will face plenty of stiff competition for Alexander's signature but with coach John Latina on the job, Notre Dame has one of its best recruiters working with the talented young speedster.
"I talk to coach Latina all the time," said Alexander. "He's a cool dude. [Notre Dame] is one of my top schools. I talk to coach Latina a lot or I'll text him. He's from Pittsburgh."
Alexander had planned on attending Notre Dame's Junior Day this weekend but had a change of plans. Still, he definitely plans on making the trip to South Bend at some point.
"I was supposed to go (to the Junior Day at Notre Dame) but I'm not going to be able to make it," explained Alexander. "I'll probably go to a couple of Junior Days around here and then during the summer I'll hit some places. After that I'll decide on where to take my official visits. I'm not sure I'll go to any combines because my name is already out there, but I might go there just to do the one on ones."
Odoms, WR, 5-9, 170, Pahokee High School, Pahokee, FL had his lunch interrupted by the vibration of his silenced cell phone last Wednesday. It turned out to be his head football coach, Leroy Foster. Foster asked Odoms to come to his office. Before he could even get in, his teammates that were hanging around the office told him that Notre Dame called. Odoms went in the office and returned Irish coach Bernie Parmalee's call.
"He was talking about Pahokee and how hot it was in Florida because he had been down here," said Odoms. "Then he said the head coach wants to talk to you."
Charlie Weis then took the phone and offered the Pahokee star a scholarship.
"I was surprised because I hadn't had much contact with them," Odom said. "He said he was looking at my film and he liked it. When he was looking at the film, he said I caught his eye. He was telling me what a great education I could get at Notre Dame."
Odom has yet to visit any college campuses but getting up to South Bend is on his to do list.
"I think the next time we talk, they will try and talk about setting up some kind of visit," said Odoms. "This time they just offered me a scholarship and said they wanted me to come to their school."
Odom's numbers these last two years, make clear why he is so coveted by Weis and company. He has been a three-year starter on the varsity. As a sophomore, he racked up 1150 yards and 17 touchdowns on the Florida 2A state champions. Last year he gained 923 yards and scored 14 more touchdowns and again led his team to a state championship.
Odom made it clear that distance would not be a factor in his recruiting.
"I don't care where I go to school," he stated. "I just want to get a good education and a nice ole degree."
These two summaries represent just a sample of the Notre Dame football recruiting information available each week on Irish Eyes.
Recruiting week in review.
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