The Irish have as might have as many as five scholarships slots remaining before the 2008 recruiting class is full and one of those spots will likely go to a running back. The Irish have been staying on top of Carlton Thomas (5-foot-7, 175 pounds), and he'll be South Bend this weekend as the Irish open their season against Georgia Tech.
"I'll be up there this Saturday for my official visit," Thomas responded when asked about his plans to visit Notre Dame. "I expect a good game and I want to see how the team plays. I want to get a chance listen to coach Weis at halftime or after the game and see how he coaches and see how the team reacts to him.
"I want to see how they rotate their backs, and the things that they do with their backs in different situations. I'd like to carry the ball 35 times, but I know a lot of schools are going with two backs, so I'm not really worried about that. I'm a team player, so all I'm worried about is getting the win. If I have to be in a two-back system, that's fine, I know I'll be able to get it done."
One of the backs Thomas will likely see against Georgia Tech is freshman Armando Allen. Due to their size, and their running styles people have compared Thomas to Allen.
"I've seen a couple of his highlights, but I've never really sat down and watched him, so I really can't compare myself to him," Thomas said. "I'm a very versatile runner. I can do it all. I can hit it up the middle. I can pound it to get the first down. I can break it up the middle. I can break it outside. I can hit the home run. I can catch it out of the backfield. You can throw me in the slot to get some mismatches. I'm a complete back."
It isn't easy to lure the top Florida athletes to Notre Dame, but Thomas has been listing Notre Dame as one of his top schools for some time. Although there are certain aspects of the Irish programs that he likes, he probably won't end his recruitment this weekend.
"The program and the tradition," Thomas replied when asked why Notre Dame was among his favorite schools. "Really the tradition wowed me and I like talking to coach Weis and coach Parmalee. I also know the opportunities that I could have at Notre Dame, not only on the field, but off the field as well.
"I know I'm going to go up and see West Virginia, Iowa, and Georgia. Those are the only other schools that I know that I'll go see."
Last week against Frostproof opened their 2007 season with a win over Victory Christian Academy (Lakeland, Fla.) 25-12. Thomas had didn't get a lot of touches, but he made the most of his 13 carries, as he rushed for 226 yards and three touchdowns (17.4 yards per carry.)
This Friday Frostproof travels to Lake Region High school (Eagle Lake, Fla.)