Recruiting week in review.

Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis has experienced a very successful first two years. Under his leadership the Irish have posted a record of 19-6. He and his staff have brought in two top ten recruiting classes and the team has posted some of its highest collective grade point averages ever.

Still, Weis would probably be the first to contend that it hasn't been good enough. The defense has continued to be a concern and, while the defensive players recruited have been excellent, the first two full recruiting classes under Weis have suffered from depth issues at key defensive positions. The 2008 class hopes to answer some of those depth issues by adding playmakers at crucial positions. Irish Eyes caught up with two potential difference makers that have recently added Irish offers. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes?

Defensive line recruiting is emerging as a major point of emphasis for the Notre Dame coaching staff this season. The early verbal commitment of Sean Cwynar got defensive recruiting off to a great start and the Irish hope to add several more defensive linemen. One of the top targets hails from Florida, a place from where Notre Dame has picked up some of its most sought-after recruits in Weis's first two years.

Marcus Forston, DT, 6-3, 290, Miami Northwestern High School, Miami FL plays like a man among boys. As a junior he racked up 96 tackles and a whopping 20 sacks. He demonstrates his physical prowess in the weight room as well as one the football field, boasting a 510 pound squat and a 365 pound bench press. To top off the total package, he was clocked at 4.8 in the forty the previous summer.

Until last week, Forston had twelve scholarship offers. Now he has thirteen and Notre Dame recruitniks can hope it's lucky number thirteen.

"I've been waiting for this for a week," said an excited Forston. "I think it got caught up in the mail. Coach Parmalee had traced it down and said it would be this week."

Forston was excited about the offer and could hardly wait to tell his mother. She was as amazed by it as he was excited.

"She said how'd they know about you and you are way down here," Forston recounted with a laugh. "I said Ma, you have to sell yourself. When you're good they come get you no matter where you're at." As one would expect from his numbers, Forston is being heavily recruited. In addition to Notre Dame, he is being most heavily wooed by hometown Miami. Florida is also in the mix. Still, he texts with Parmalee a couple of times a week and is clearly highly interested in the Irish as they are in him. Forston may well be that rare player that would be capable of contributing as a true freshman, a la Sam Young. At least that's what Parmalee and Weis seem to think.

"Coach Parmalee said they need a monster on the defensive line that is going to come in that first year and play," said Forston. "We (Forston and Weis) were just talking about how he had seen my film, and that he liked what he can see; a guy my size that can run like that."

Forston definitely seems like a young man that has his priorities in the proper order. With a 3.0 g.p.a. he clearly has worked hard in the classroom and recognizes the long term value of that hard work. "We talked about how Notre Dame is one of the most prestigious colleges in the nation," said Forston. "I told him the most important thing for me is academics. I told him I saw the NFL average for players is four years and I need a degree to fall back on. He told me it was great I had a mindset like that, that I'm not worried just about football."

Forston, though from Miami has previously expressed a desire to get away from home. The three visits that he has currently planned reflect this desire.

"I already got Notre Dame in my five visits," said Forston. "I also want to go up to Tennessee and Rutgers. I'm not sure about the other two."

Forston knows he wants to visit South Bend on a game day.

"I want to visit during the season when they have one of their big games."

While the Irish coaching staff has recruited Florida very hard under Weis, they have also targeted some areas a bit closer to home. In the last two seasons, Notre Dame has successfully recruited players like Demetrius Jones, Robert Hughes and Aaron Nagel from the Chicago area. They would like to add Darius Fleming to that list. Fleming, DE/LB, 6-3, 230, St. Rita High School, Chicago, IL could emerge as one of the best defensive players in the Chicago area and he's beginning to get national attention. He has certainly caught Notre Dame's eye. They offered him a scholarship at the March 4 Junior Day. That visit made a positive impression on Fleming.

"I really liked the campus," said Fleming of his Junior Day Notre Dame visit. "The coaches are really nice. I really like coach Weis, coach Ianello and coach Brown. It's a really good school. My dad really loved it and we really enjoyed ourselves so we're going to try to get back up there."

Though Fleming enjoyed the Junior Day, he wants to get a much closer look Notre Dame that was afforded by the structure of a Junior Day.

"It was only a Junior Day and I want a little more personal look at the school," said Fleming. "I just want to see if I'm comfortable when I'm there. There were so many people that I couldn't really hang out with the coaching staff or players."

With all the attention that he is beginning to receive, Fleming wants to take his time before making a decision. He has several schools other than Notre Dame that he wants to see more closely.

"I don't want to make a decision right away because I want to see some more schools a little bit more in-depth," said Fleming. "I want to see Florida and Wisconsin. I want to see Michigan again because I got to their Junior Day late. I'm going to try to see some other schools, but those are the ones that I know that I want to see right now. I'll probably figure that out in the coming months.

As a junior Fleming recorded 105 tackles, 15 for loss, nine sacks and forced four fumbles.

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

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