He's not afraid to buck conventional wisdom, but never hesitates to accept the blame for failure. At the same time, he almost always deflects the praise for success to his players. Integrity and accountability represent the gospel according to Weis.
Perhaps most importantly, Weis always looks to learn more, to make himself a better football coach and translate that into Notre Dame becoming a better football program. So, when last year's recruiting class faltered down the stretch, Weis didn't look for scapegoats. He placed the blame squarely on his own shoulders—and then fixed the problem. What resulted was the hiring of new defensive coordinator, Corwin Brown who has proven to be an outstanding recruiter and offering more scholarships earlier than ever before.
The changes are paying early dividends. Though only the middle of June, the Irish have received fourteen verbal commitments, seven from each side of the ball. Just last week, number fourteen came on board, a young man whose commitment represented a huge get for Notre Dame, both literally and figuratively. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes?
Many recruitniks believed Omar Hunter to be a Michigan lock. Hunter, DT, 6-1, 297, Buford High School, Buford GA currently possesses a three-star rating from Scout.com but almost everyone that's watched this young man play, live or on tape, agree that his ranking is certain to rise. His list of offers was as impressive as any defensive tackle recruit's in the nation. But, unfortunately for Notre Dame, he was a Michigan lock. Of course, Notre Dame fans know a little about the unpredictability of "locks," unfortunately from the negative side. So when Hunter made a verbal commitment to Notre Dame after visiting both South Bend and Ann Arbor last week, recruitniks for both teams were stunned. Even Hunter himself seemed surprised by his final choice.
"Notre Dame had been in my top five, but I always thought that I'd end up at Michigan," stated Hunter. "Michigan is a great place and I liked it but I really just fell in love with Notre Dame. I was comfortable and it reminded me a lot of home. Everybody was good people. I loved the coaches, I liked being around the players…it was all good."
Because Hunter hailed from the same hometown and school as Darius Walker, many believed that would provide an edge to the Irish. Ironically, it wasn't the former Irish player Walker that provided the edge, but the former Michigan player, new defensive coordinator Brown that did.
"I really only talked to Darius once in my life," explained Hunter. "He was a senior and I was in eighth grade, so that wasn't much [of an impact]. I'd definitely say that coach Brown had a big impact on my decision. I really liked him and once I got the chance to talk to him he seemed like a guy that I really wanted to play for. He seems real fun and energetic on the field and I really like that."
The lack of the "Walker factor" didn't mean that there weren't positive influences coming from the players. Georgians Toryan Smith and Morrice Richardson both played instrumental roles in helping to land the talented Hunter.
"Toryan Smith was my host when I was at Notre Dame," said Hunter. "He showed me around. Morrice Richardson was there as well. They were real cool. Toryan played in an all-star game with my buddy Steven Singleton who is at LSU now, so we had that connection. I really just connected with everything about the school. It's in a nice quiet town. It's a nice campus, everything was great."
In addition to Notre Dame, Hunter held scholarship offers from a veritable who's who of college football powerhouses including, Michigan, LSU, Florida State, Florida, Auburn, Virginia Tech, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee.
In Hunter, Notre Dame landed one of the biggest names on their recruiting board but there are still several prized recruits still out there. None of the uncommitted are any more important to the Irish program that Michael Floyd, WR, 6-3, 200, Cretin-Derham Hall, St. Paul, MN. The Notre Dame staff has been recruiting Floyd heavily for as long as they legally could do so. The Scout.com four-star receiver claims no favorites but is making a two-day unofficial visit to South Bend at the end of June.
"I'm going to make a trip to Notre Dame in a couple of weeks," answered Floyd to a question concerning his summer plans. "I'm going to stop at Notre Dame first, and then I'm going to go to Ohio State and Michigan. I want to take my mom with me to visit those schools. I'm going to look at their campuses and then I'm going to go back to Notre Dame after I tour the other schools."
"I'll probably end up being at Notre Dame for two or three days. I don't know if I'm going to [Notre Dame's] camp. I might just hang out. There are going to be other guys from my school that are doing the camp. The coaches said if I go I can just hang out and meet some people."
Floyd won't just be hanging out. He plans to look more deeply into Notre Dame's academic program.
"When I go to Notre Dame I'm going to check into classes," explained Floyd. "I know they're real big into academics. I know good things can happen to you if you have a Notre Dame degree. You can do just about anything that you want when you graduate."
Floyd has narrowed his list of twenty scholarship offers down to just seven. Right now he says the seven are basically even.
"I've got Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan and Florida," stated Floyd. "I just want to look at some schools and see if they have what I'm looking for. Pretty soon I'll get to the point where I'll narrow things down even more. I'm not sure when I'll make my decision, it could be early or it could be the last day."
Notre Dame continues to recruit Floyd very hard. Floyd says that he and coach Rob Ianello exchange text messages nearly every day and that of all the twenty schools that are recruiting him, Notre Dame is recruiting him the hardest.
These two summaries represent just a sample of the Notre Dame football recruiting information available each week on Irish Eyes.
Recruiting week in review.
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