Recruiting Week in Review

Notre Dame's switch from the 4-3 to the 3-4 has altered defensive line recruiting. The definitions of defensive tackles, defensive ends and outside linebackers have changed and recruitniks and recruits alike have had to learn how to look at these positions in an entirely different way.

The chief troubadour of this new message is Irish defensive coordinator Corwin Brown. With six early verbal commitments on the defensive line and at linebacker, it appears as if Brown is succeeding. However, the Notre Dame staff has hardly been resting on the laurels of its early successes. Since nothing becomes official until Letter of Intent day, Irish coaches continue to recruit very hard. An important defensive line recruit made it into South Bend last week for an unofficial visit even as the Notre Dame staff continued to seek out new recruits as the May evaluation period ended. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes?

Garrett Goebel, DT, 6-5, 270, Montini Catholic High School, Lombard, IL had already been on the Notre Dame campus once, but felt like he needed another visit to learn more about the Irish football program. So, he took another unofficial visit to South Bend last Wednesday and received a healthy dose of one on one with the Notre Dame coaching staff. Like many recruits, Goebel's position status and rating by represents his position in a 4-3 defense. Though rates him as a four-star tackle, Notre Dame projects him as a defensive end in the 3-4.

"I was at Notre Dame on Wednesday," said Goebel of his trip to South Bend. "When I got there, I sat down with Corwin Brown and then I met with coach Weis for forty-five minutes. They said they can see me at all three positions up front, but that they wanted to bring me in as an end in the 3-4. When they went into the 4-3, I'd be a tackle. Coach Weis was really honest and up front. He seemed like an awesome guy. I was really impressed when I walked away from our conversation."

The Irish faithful frequently speak of the "forty year decision" that is a Notre Dame education. Goebel is a recruit that seems to appreciate that aspect of Notre Dame. He took full advantage of his unofficial visit to explore his academic opportunities in South Bend.

"I think the education at Notre Dame is better than at other schools," opined Goebel. "They also have a higher graduation rate. They had one of the highest graduation rates in the country last year. I met with a computer application person and the academic people. I sat down with the people that were in charge of the tutoring for the football team. They went through the program and went over what my schedule might be like. The first time I went to Notre Dame I was a little intimidated by the academics, but I left pretty confident that I could fit in."

Goebel gave the visit high marks but acknowledged that he still had a ways to go before ending his recruitment.

"I was there the whole day one on one," he explained. "It was a good opportunity to get more comfortable with the coaches at Notre Dame. I really didn't see anything new because I was already there. I still want to go back to Ohio State and Michigan. I might go to Ohio State's camp next week and then Michigan the week after that. I'll just stop by and get a tour."

Goebel has scholarship offers from coast to coast. In addition to Notre Dame, he has been offered scholarships by Arizona State, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin.

Though Notre Dame has identified many top targets on defense, their search for players that can come in and help elevate the program back to the top of the college football world is unending. Keith Wells, DE, 6-5, 222, Gainesville High School, Gainesville, GA may represent the latest addition to the list of players that the Irish hope will one day hoist the National Championship trophy. However, he will need to trek to South Bend for a one-day camp in order to give the coaching staff a better look at him and the skills that he brings to the field. Though he doesn't have a Notre Dame offer, he's still interested in the Irish. And with eighteen scholarship offers already on the table, it's not exactly as if he doesn't have options. Still, something about Notre Dame intrigues him.

"About four or five weeks ago, my coach sent my film up to them and they started recruiting me after that," said Wells. "I definitely have interest in Notre Dame. It's a great all-around school, they have a great football program, so I definitely have interest in them. I'm going to go up to one of their camps in the next three weeks. I've spoken with a couple of the coaches, coach Lewis and coach Brown a little. They actually came by my school. They wanted me to come up to one of their camps, so I'm going to go up and compete and see if they offer me a scholarship."

Wells could play a couple of different positions in Notre Dame's 3-4 defense. He currently plays outside linebacker on his high school football team, but sees himself as a defensive end in college.

"It depends on how Notre Dame utilizes their outside linebackers," said Wells. "I don't want to rush the passer every play and I don't want to be in coverage every play. I'd like to do both. I have the versatility to play either position because of my athleticism, but I know with my body type that I will gain weight. I might get up to 260-270 pounds before it is all over, so I definitely want to play defensive end in college. I think I'll be more comfortable there opposed to outside linebacker."

Notre Dame is definitely a latecomer to Wells' recruitment but that doesn't mean that the talented Georgian isn't willing to consider them.

"I'm still pretty open to being recruited by Notre Dame and Georgia," explained Wells. "Notre Dame hasn't been recruiting me that long, so I can't shut them out at this time. I'm definitely going to work for a Notre Dame offer, so I'm going to go up and compete at their camp.

As a junior, Wells recorded over 50 tackles and 12 sacks. Among others, he currently holds scholarship offers from Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Ohio State and Tennessee.

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