Recruiting week in review.

Defense has been the key word among Notre Dame fans this spring. Whether it's spring practice or recruiting, Irish message boards have been filled with speculation, concern and commentary on the state of the defense and defense recruiting.

Oh, to be sure, the quarterback battle has garnered its fair share of attention, as has concern about the wide receiver position and excitement about running back. Still, the switch to the 3-4, the change in style from Rick Minter to Corwin Brown and the state of 2008 defensive recruiting has dominated fans' attention. However, Charlie Weis and staff have not ignored the offensive side of the ball in recruiting. New offers have recently gone out as the Irish staff continues to seek difference makers on the offensive side of the ball. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes?

Brice Butler, WR, 6-3, 185, Norcross High School, Norcross, GA is a fairly new name to Notre Dame recruitniks but he may well emerge as one of the top receivers in this class. He possesses both the size and speed that college programs covet. Notre Dame has known about the talented young Georgian for quite some time and recently offered him a scholarship.

"Before the season, they were sending me letters and stuff, and then my dad's friend started sending my tape out," said Butler. "A couple of weeks ago, he said that he had sent one to Notre Dame and about two days after he sent it, he said that a Notre Dame coach called."

Prior to the offer, Butler had been in contact with Bill Lewis. When Lewis asked him to call coach Weis, Butler suspected what was coming next.

"I've been texting coach Lewis for a couple of weeks and early this week I called him and he told me that coach Weis wanted to talk to me," explained Butler. I kind of got the idea that they were going to offer me. So, on Tuesday I called coach Weis and that's when they told me that they were going to offer me. Weis said that I was a polished receiver. He said that I know most of the fundamentals and that he wanted a chance to coach me. He's an offensive genius."

Though Notre Dame was a bit of a latecomer to the party, they have garnered Butler's interest. With over 25 scholarship offers to date, he really hasn't put together a list of top programs yet.

"I'm interested in anyone that wants to talk to me right now," said Butler. "I'm going to Penn State tomorrow. Then on Tuesday, I'll be at Arizona State and a week from Friday I'll be at Florida. Me and my dad are going to Notre Dame this month. If I had known earlier that they were interested, we would have made plans to visit them after we went to Penn State."

Though Butler hails from Georgia he has strongly indicated that distance will not be a factor in his recruitment.

"I don't care about distance," said Butler. "I'll go to Russia to play where I want to play. Distance isn't going to come into my decision at all. I'll take all my official visits. I definitely think I'll take a visit to Notre Dame."

Butler wasn't the only offensive playmaker to recently receive a Notre Dame scholarship offer. Carlton Thomas, RB, 5-7, 175, Frostproof Middle~Senior High School, Frostproof, FL proves that dynamite can indeed come in small packages. Irish coaches called him the best back they'd seen on film and backed that contention up with a scholarship offer.

"Coach Parmalee called me back and said ‘doggone coach, you weren't lying, he is pretty good,'" said Frostproof head football coach Brad Metheny after he had bragged to Notre Dame coaches about the tape of Thomas that he sent them. "He said we thought we had seen the best and he is the best we've seen on film all year. We're are going to take this to coach Weis, and they called on Friday and made the offer."

Thomas put up gaudy numbers last year, rushing for 2283 yards and 25 touchdowns. Though he averaged over 230 yards per game, those numbers could have been even higher had Frostproof not carried huge leads into the fourth quarter of about half their games. Thomas's team finished 7-3 on the year and just missed the state playoffs.

Despite holding offers from conferences as elite as the SEC, Pac 10 and Big East, there was still one out there that Thomas really wanted—Notre Dame. That wish became reality last week.

"Me and (coach) Weis got into a conversation about if I would be afraid to leave the state," said Thomas. "I said no, it wouldn't be a problem. I just want to play football. He was asking me about how I like to play the game. He asked me if I know about the program, and him and his success in the NFL. I said that it is amazing to me how he runs his offense, and how he won those Super Bowls and everything."

Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt has compared Thomas to Barry Sanders coming out of high school. Coach Matheny certainly has high praise for his star.

"He is just amazing as far as his agility, making people miss, vision and making the right cut and that right move leaving people standing," said Metheny. "He is a great elusive back. Even though he is small he runs extremely hard and breaks a lot of tackles."

That he breaks tackles is not surprising, despite Thomas's less than impressive physical stature. He is a powerhouse in the weight room, bench pressing 315 pounds and squatting 445. That strength added to a 4.48 forty makes for a superstar running back. Thomas doesn't just excel on the field. He also carries a 3.4 g.p.a. in the classroom.

In addition to Notre Dame's offer he currently holds offers from Connecticut, West Virginia, Auburn, Arizona State and Arkansas.

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