Brockington rolling with the punches

<P>Notre Dame got a big commitment in July from Palmyra PA's Joe Brockington. The 6-1 210 OLB prospect ran a 4.56 40 time at Nike camp and schools started to take notice. I called Joe to see how he has been doing after his commitment and to talk to him about his shoulder injury and what he looks forward to. Notre Dame landed a fantastic football player and a better guy in Joe Brockington. </P>

I asked Joe about the injury to his shoulder. "My coach set up a policy on this for me to follow. He told me all questions about my shoulder should be directed to him. He is just trying to protect me. I don't have to have surgery. I just need to do some rehab on it. I will be fine. The hardest thing for me is to watch my team play. I want to be out there so bad. We also lost our starting quarterback so we are struggling. It's really difficult to watch my team play and knowing they need me and I am not able to play."

I asked Joe if he was glad recruiting is over for him. "Yeah, I am definitely glad it's over. It was fun but I am glad it's over."

Joe and I spoke about his recruitment and I asked why he chose Notre Dame. "I had a lot of schools recruiting me. Schools like West Virginia, Maryland, Pitt and BC but when Coach Simmons called me and told me they wanted me, I got really excited. The other schools are good schools but Notre Dame is big time. When I took my visit to Notre Dame, Coach Willingham had just got back from vacation. He wasn't even supposed to come in that day I don't think. He came in anyway and sat down and spoke with me for an hour and a half. The other coaches also spoke to me for a long time. Most people when they come back from vacation don't want to be bothered with work. He came in and really made me feel wanted. Rex Hogan took my Coach and I around and he took the time to show me everything. We saw everything, the campus, the tradition, the campus is like it's own little city. Rex really too the time to show us everything, he is such a great guy. When I went to other schools, the head coach would take about 10-15 minutes to talk to me. Coach Willingam and the rest of the coaches just made me feel like they really wanted me."

Joe had grown up knowing he wanted to play college football. It was in his blood and became his dream. "Every since I was a little kid, I knew I wanted to play football. I had dreamed I would play college football and maybe the NFL. I never thought that Notre Dame would be the place I would be at though. I thought I could play college football but I never thought that I would have a chance to play at Notre Dame. It was kind of a shock when they offered me and it was a dream come true."

Another person excited about his decision was Joe's Mom. "I live with my Mom. She works very hard. She has two jobs trying to support us. She would have supported any decision I made but I think she is real happy with this. She just wants me to get an education and is happy she doesn't have to pay for it."

The linebacker has also been keeping an eye on the Irish this season. "That Michigan game was crazy. The fans were going nuts. I watch them all and I am glued to the T.V. I wanted to go to that game so bad but it's hard for my Mom to get off work to go. I do plan on going to the Boston College game. I am also going on my official visit on December 6th."

Brockington is also starting to understand the rivalry between Boston College and Notre Dame. "I liked Boston College when I visited there. They had a nice staff and it was a nice place. I am starting to understand the rivalry now. I have been getting people telling me that I need to hate Boston College. Someone told me that Boston College players were players that wanted to go to Notre Dame but couldn't get in. I can see why that would motivate a Boston College player. After my commitment, the media here really played into the Notre Dame/Boston College battle and I started to realize that this is a pretty big thing. They made a real big deal over which school would sign me. I am starting to understand the importance of this game. I can't wait to be a part of that."

Notre Dame,Boston College and many others came after Brockington for one reason, speed. "All the coaches that called me talked about my speed. I can play from sideline to sideline and I like to hit. Coach Simmons told me that I have great quickness and speed and that is why they wanted me. I am not a real big guy. I am 6-1 215 pounds. My upper body needs strength but my legs are pretty big. I am excited to play outside. I am looking forward to covering the tight end and using my speed to make some plays."

Joe said he has imformed Notre Dame about his injury and they are fine with it. "That was really good to hear. I called Coach Willingham and told him about it. He told me to just try to get healthy and that they still wanted me. When I told Coach Willingham I was committing, I told him that once I made my decision, there would be no doubt about my choice. When I committed, I told him that was where I was going and I wasn't going to change my mind. To hear Coach tell me that he was sticking with me made me really happy. I just talked to Coach Simmons yesterday. He asked me how I played this weekend. I told him I was hurt and that was news to him. I told him that I told Coach Willingham about the injury and Coach Simmons told me that Coach Willingham hadn't mentioned it to him. Coach Simmons then said that it must not be something to get worried about it Coach Willingham never mentioned it to him."

Joe said he is going to rehab his injury and get ready for the season next year. He has been watching the defense and has a few thoughts. "The defensve has been great. They are playing very fast and physical. If we can play that way when I get there, I will have no complaints."

I was very glad when I heard that Joe was coming. After talking to him for about an hour, I am even more excited about his future. He is a great kid and will be a fine addition to the 2002 class. Top Stories