Man In The Middle

With the change to the ‘3-4' defense, Notre Dame will need a big body in the middle of the defensive line. Defensive tackle Tony Gillespie of Jenks High School (Okla.) recently opened up his commitment and he'd love to hear more from Notre Dame.

Tony Gillespie (6-foot, 300 pounds) isn't a new name to the Notre Dame coaching staff, but he hadn't been available until a couple days ago. Tony had been committed to Oklahoma State, but he decided to open his recruitment.

"I was getting mail from a lot of schools during my junior year," Gillespie responded when asked about his recruitment. "But I only had four schools that were really interested in me and for awhile it seemed like that they were going to be the only teams that were going to offer.

"The day after I committed to Oklahoma State I got letters from a whole bunch of schools and it seemed like everyone was interested in me. That kind of helped me change my mind [about Oklahoma State], but there were other reasons as well."

The four schools that had offered Gillespie were Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Kansas and Kansas State. Now that he is back on the market all the teams that had been interested are back on top of him.

"I de-committed two days ago and the phone has been ringing like crazy," Gillespie said. "I have a lot of big schools looking at me like Florida, Florida State, LSU, Tennessee, Michigan, Michigan State, UCLA, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. A lot of them are telling me to go to camp and the offer is on the line. So hopefully I'll walk away with six or seven offers this summer.

"I de-committed and I'm open to all schools, especially big schools like Notre Dame. I have a lot of interest in Notre Dame. Last summer they were sending me a lot of letters, but it kind of slowed down since I committed. I would love for them to start recruiting me again. I think Notre Dame was in to talk to my coach, but I haven't spoken to anyone from Notre Dame.

"Coaches really don't talk to players until about May. I haven't gotten any text messages from Notre Dame, but they'll have a real good shot. Since I've opened up, I'm looking at real big schools and Notre Dame is a big plus if they're interested in me.

"Academics and a good coach is what I'm looking for," Gillespie said. "I know if you graduate from Notre Dame that you don't have to worry about getting a job. The academics are great. It's a great football program and they have a great coach. He has a lot of experience in the NFL. I just hear great things about him."

Another plus for Notre Dame may be the change to the ‘3-4' defense. Gillespie is a perfect fit for the nose tackle position and he is very familiar with the alignment.

"I know the ‘3-4' real well," Gillespie explained. "I played that during my freshman and sophomore years and then last year we moved to the ‘4-3'. I draw the double and triple teams all the time, so that our linebackers made a lot of plays. If they weren't making plays that means I was in the backfield disrupting.

"I don't mind playing nose. I like helping my team. If I'm getting double or triple teamed then somebody has to be open. Somebody will see why the linebackers are getting all the plays, so one way or another, I'll be seen."


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