It wasn't an easy decision for Gerell Robinson (6-foot-3.5, 212 pounds) to tell the Arizona coaching staff that he was going to open up his recruitment, but he felt it was best for him in the long-run. Once Robinson made the decision to look around, Notre Dame wanted to be in the mix.
"They called my coach during practice and he came and got me and that's when they offered me," Robinson responded when asked how he had learned of his Notre Dame scholarship offer. "I talked to coach Weis and he's the one who told me. I also talked to coach Ianello and coach Oliver, so it was pretty cool. He said that they looking for big athletic wide receiver and that I fit that mold."
Robinson's coach, Steve Belles is a former Notre Dame player and he might have been more pleased to hear the news about the Notre Dame offer than Gerell was.
"Coach Belles was happy… he was really happy," Robinson said. "It was funny to see his reaction. He was real proud. He had a big ‘Kool-Aid' smile on his face and he said, ‘That's a big-time honor.'
"He's mentioned Notre Dame. He always said that Notre Dame would be a good fit for me, but he didn't know why Notre Dame took so long to offer. Now that they did, he suggested to take a visit and see what it's like."
Robinson is a tremendous athlete, and Notre Dame appeared to be interested in him early in the year and into summer, but no offer materialized. Part of the reason Notre Dame seemed hesitate is that Gerell has always played quarterback and the Irish coaches wanted to offer him as a wide receiver.
"I kind of understood why they hadn't offered earlier," Robinson explained. ""They said they were reluctant to offer a lot of people, and they don't really like to offer recruits that are already committed, but when I reopened things it gave them an opportunity to offer me.
"[Also] I had never really played wide receiver before until this year and I'd never been taught the position. I always felt the best way to get the ball in your hands was to play quarterback and being able to make a play. I just found out this year that I can excel more at receiver. I just want to be in the open field with the ball in my hands, with the ability to make plays. As long as I'm able to do that then it sounds like a good deal to me. It's definitely a big evaluation process that they have to go through, but I understand now, especially since I have the offer."
Now that he has the Notre Dame offer in hand, Robinson is looking forward to seeing what the Irish have to offer.
"This definitely puts them up [toward] the top, especially with the program that they have," Robinson said. "I like the academics, the storied history that they have and they're always on national TV. It seems like they have a business-type of attitude around the program and they take care of business. I like that about Notre Dame."
The first two seasons under Weis, the Irish have taken care of business on the field. Although the 2007 season has been tough on the Irish, Robinson isn't concerned about the direction of the program.
"You're going to have your rough years," Gerell said. "Everyone knew that going into the season, especially with all the seniors that they lost. They have a really strong recruiting class and I think that says enough about them.
"I've watched the UCLA game, the Michigan game and the Penn State game. It seemed like the quarterback was more comfortable and it seemed like the team has made progress. Obviously starting out the season the way they did isn't the best way to do it, but at least they're showing progress."
The next step for Robinson is to figure out his official visit schedule. He is working with the Notre Dame coaches to find a date that will fit his schedule. Gerell would like to take all five of his official visits before his makes a decision.
"Earlier I had thought about taking a visit [to Notre Dame] for the USC game," Robinson explained. "But then it didn't look like they were going to offer, so I've already made plans to go back to Texas to see some of my old friends that weekend. They told me that they have five home games in the next five weeks, and I told them that was fine and that we'd stay in touch and see what works out.
"The only official visits that I've set up, are to Oregon on November 3, and Georgia Tech on Thanksgiving weekend. I want to take my official visits to the top schools that I have in mind, and after I get done seeing what I have to see, and see all the campuses and what's around it, I'll be able to make a more informed decision.
"I don't have a solid top five, but I'm looking to take my visits to Notre Dame, Oregon, Georgia Tech, Oregon, Tennessee and ASU," Gerell said. "I wouldn't say those are definitely my final five, but Notre Dame will definitely be there."