Top Defensive Prospect for Irish

<P>Notre Dame is also looking very good in recruiting on the defensive side of the football. The Irish defense has been outstanding this year and the top prospects are taking notice. Notre Dame should do very well so let's take a look at some of the top prospects the Irish are recruiting for defense. </P>

Notre Dame was lucky enough to land 5 defensive lineman last year. They have been lacking depth there and that is about to change. One of their top prospects is Trevor Laws. Trevor camped at Notre Dame and was offered shortly after. He came back from camp listing Notre Dame as his top school. Laws visited Notre Dame on October 5th and became the first defensive line commitment for the Irish. This was a big pickup for the Irish as he was their #1 interior defensive line prospect.

Brandon Maupin also visited South Bend over the summer and came away very impressed with the Irish. He has yet to be offered but hasn't cleared admissions yet. Once he clears, I expect Notre Dame to offer Brandon. Ohio State and Tennessee appear to be the top competition.

Notre Dame also appears to be in good shape with one of their top defensive end candidates. Victor Abiamiri is 6-5 and 240 pounds. He has two brothers that play football for Maryland but Victor has stated that this will play very little into his decision. Abiamiri is a sack master the Irish would love to land. He is scheduled to visit on December 6th with his teammate Ambrose Wooden.

Another top defensive end is interested in Notre Dame. He is from Cincinnati and his name is Ray Edwards. Edwards is a new name on the list who recently became interested in Notre Dame. He visited South Bend for the Michigan game. He has not been offered at this point and needs to clear admissions before he is offered. Once he does clear, I expect Notre Dame to offer Ray. He has recently listed the Irish as his leader.

Carl Pendleton has already been on an official visit on September 14th for the Michigan game. Notre Dame did not offer Carl and said they want to see some more film before they offer him. He is set to go academically and if they offer, I expect them to be very much in the race. Oklahoma and Stanford appear to be the main competition for Carl.

Another top defensive lineman that the Irish would love to land is Mario Williams . Mario has committed to North Carolina State but appears to be interested in taking some visits. Mario is 6-6 and 255 pounds and runs in the 4.5 range. Ohio State and Tennessee also seem to be schools he is interested. Notre Dame is recruiting him and they hope to get a visit.

Alex Boston might not even play college football, he is also a top prospect in baseball and some feel he might just go the professional baseball route. Alex has stated he wants to play both sports in college and that his Mom really wants him to go to college. Alex has not been offered and he needs to be accepted by admissions before they will offer him. He is a terrific defensive end prospect that the Irish will be recruiting. He has shown quite a bit of interest recently.

Matt Malele is a big defensive line candidate. He is 6-1 and 305 pounds and ran a 4. 91 at the Nike camp. Matt has said in the past that he would like to visit. Many expect that Matt will likely stay close to home but the Irish will try to get him to visit. He has been offered but I don't expect him to leave the Pac 10 area.

Defensive end candidate Kyle Caldwell is quite an athlete. He plays runningback and on defense in high school. Kyle is probably a defensive end in college and the Irish have been recruiting him pretty steadily. He has not been offered or set up a visit but he should be visiting sometime this year.

Linebacker is also a need area and the Irish could take as many as four linebacker prospects. Once again, Notre Dame is looking very good at the linebacker position. They should land a strong group of landbackers in this class and already have two commitments for the 2002 class.

The first linebacker commitment for the Irish came from Danvers, MA's Nick Borseti. Borseti committed very early to the Irish and the recruiting process was over before it really started for Nick. He was the first linebacker offered and a player they really liked. He will play middle linebacker in college and is known for his quickness and physical play.

The second commitment at linebacker came from Joe Brockington. Brockington measured 6-1, 210 pounds and ran a 4.56 at the Nike camp. Brockington has injured his shoulder this season and will likely be out for the year. He was recruited for his physical play and his speed and was offered by a lot of the top schools in the country. Joe committed early and was a player this staff really wanted. He is compared favorably to current Notre Dame linebacker Brandon Hoyte. Joe is scheduled for December 6th for his official visit.

All the major programs in the country are recruiting Wesley Jefferson. Jefferson has offers from all of the top programs including Notre Dame. The Irish have been on Wesley's short list for a while and I expect he will visit sometime in the future. He has scheduled visit with Miami and Maryland so far. Wesley appears wide open at this time and should be setting up the rest of his official visits in the near future. I really can't guess what the chances are that he will sign with the Irish but they would love to have him.

Weakside linebacker is the one position the Irish do not have a commitment. Alabama's Mitchell Thomas is a player they really like. The 6-3, 215 pound linebacker is listed with 4.5 speed and has all the top schools in the south recruiting him. His father is a former player at Alabama and the Crimson Tide will be tough to beat. Thomas has committed to Alabama but has backed off recently. He has been offered by the Irish.

Lewis Baker was committed to Texas early in the season. He visited Notre Dame over the summer and decommitted from the Longhorns. Since then, the 6-3, 205 pound linebacker has been getting a lot of interest from all the top schools in the country. Baker has recently listed Notre Dame, Oklahoma and others as possibilities. He has been offered and Lewis is scheduled to visit Notre Dame December 6th.

The Irish would like to get a visit from Joe Cohen. Cohen could play fullback, linebacker or defensive end in college. He is 6-3, 240 pounds and ran a 4.47 at the Nike camp. Cohen is wide open right now and hasn't begun to narrow down his list. The Irish are recruiting him to play on either side of the ball. I really can't guess if he will visit or not but they are recruiting him very hard. He also has been offered a scholarship.

A recent name added to the linebacker list has been Thomas Williams . Williams is considered one of the top linebackers on the west coast and has scheduled a visit for December 6th. The 6-3, 230 pound tackling machine is listed with 4.55 speed and makes plays all over the field. The Irish should have a shot with this player.

Long Beach Poly is known for producing top talent and this year is no different. Mark Washington has shown a lot of interest in Notre Dame this year and is expected to visit. To the best of my knowledge, he has not been offered at this time. That could change and I do expect him to visit.

The Irish hope to land two top safety prospects in this class. They seem to be zeroing in on a limited few. They appear to have a good chance to land any of the names mentioned.

New Jersey prospect Ira Guilford is a new name on the list. Guilford is known as fierce hitter and a likely strong safety candidate. He has recently been offered by Notre Dame and has said he will likely be visiting the Irish. Ira told me his father is a big fan of Coach Willingham. I expect him to visit sometime in December.

Tommy Zbikowski is another prospect that has shown a lot of interest. He was a Notre Dame camper and was offered shortly after. He has since visited Notre Dame a number of times. Zbikowski grew up cheering for Notre Dame and many expect him to eventually commit. Tommy is scheduled to visit on December 6th. Zbikowski also plays quarterback but is being recruited as a safety.

Pittsburgh prospect Ryan Mundy has visited Notre Dame a number of times. He has been offered but Michigan and Pittsburgh appear to be the teams to beat at this point. Mundy has expressed an interest in visiting Notre Dame. The Irish have some catch up work to do on Mundy to get him to commit.

The last position we will look at is cornerback. Notre Dame will likely take two or three corners in this class. They are looking very good with the top players they are recruiting for 2002.

Long Beach Poly's Freddie Parish committed to Notre Dame on his official visit September 7th. Freddie was recruited as a corner prospect who could move to safety if needed. He is a big commitment for the Irish and one of the top players on their board. Freddie chose Notre Dame over a long list of schools that have offered him including USC, UCLA, Michigan, Washington, Stanford and Oregon.

Another top corner prospect is Ambrose Wooden. Ambrose has been offered and is scheduled to visit on December 6th with his teammate Victor Abiamiri. Ambrose has listed Notre Dame as his leader recently and is one of the top players they are recruiting. The 6-1, 185 pound corner is listed with 4.3 speed and also plays quarterback.

Virginia prospect Chase Anastasio also has shown interest in visiting. Anastasio has been offered and has stated he would visit Notre Dame for sure. Other schools that have offered include Virginia, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Ohio State, Stanford, Maryland and Syracuse. Chase has been scheduled for December 6th as well. Chase also plays tailback in high school but most project him as a corner or safety prospect in college.

Florida has been a difficult state to recruit for Notre Dame in years past but the Irish are hoping to land a few prospects from this talent-rich state. Kenny Scott would be a player they would love to get. The 6-2, 175 pound corner ran a 4.40 at the Nike camp and has recently been offered. Scott has 43 total offers and has moved Notre Dame up on his list since they have offered. Kenny said it's likely he will visit but Irish fans will have to wait until close to signing day to see who lands this talented prospect.

Alabama also is known for it's football talent and Labrose Hedgemon is a player that all the top schools are recruiting. Hedgemon has been offered but is wide open at this point. Labrose says he will wait until late October or early November to start scheduling his visits. They will be recruiting Labrose but it's uncertain if he will visit at this point.

Texas two-way star Alex Woodley is also being recruited by Notre Dame. Woodley has not been offered but he has scheduled an official visit for December 6th. Woodley plays both tailback and corner in high school but he is being recruited at a corner by the Irish.

Another prospect scheduled for a visit is Georgia star Deante Battle. Battle has not been offered but has been told he will be offered if he visits. He is scheduled to visit on November 5th. He is qualified and should be admitted with no problems. The Irish are recruiting Deante as a corner and Deante also has offers from Penn State, North Western, Colorado, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Stanford.

As I stated earlier, Notre Dame is in an excellent position to land their top targets on defense for the 2002 class. There are others they are recruiting and new names will likely pop up as recruiting starts to heat up. I cannot remember a time when the Irish have been looking this good with their top targets. I expect Notre Dame will land one of the top classes in the country.

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