Recruiting Week in Review

To say that Notre Dame's season has not gone according to plan would be a major understatement. A 1-6 record going into the USC game hardly represents the kind of performance for which most Irish fans were hoping and expecting. Despite the dismal year on the field, Notre Dame remains a major force in recruiting.

Even as the Irish look to close out the class of 2008, they are beginning to work hard on the class of 2009. Irish Eyes' Jeff Baumhower caught up with two of these recruits. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes?

Notre Dame's poor season has Irish recruitniks wondering whether the outstanding 2008 recruiting class assembled thus far will remain intact and whether the coaching staff can convince uncommitted recruits to come to South Bend. If Kenneth Page represents the typical Notre Dame recruit, faithful followers of the Irish can rest easy. Page, OL, 6-3, 290, A.C. Flora High School, Columbia, SC has not been influence at all by Notre Dame's poor season.

"I have a lot of interest in Notre Dame," said Page. I'm taking my first official visit there next weekend for the USC game. This season isn't really going to affect me. Teams have their up seasons and sometimes they have their down seasons. You could call this a rebuilding year for the Irish. They don't have an experienced quarterback and that's affecting them offensively. It doesn't affect me though, they're still Notre Dame."

Page's visit for the USC game will be his first trip to South Bend.

"It'll be my first time up there," explained Page. "I talk to coach Weis a lot and I talk to my recruiting coach, coach Latina. We're pretty clear with the interest they have in me and the interest that I have in them, so we just talk about what's going on in my life and how everything is happening on their end."

Page possesses scholarship offers from many other top tier programs, so getting him on campus is huge for Notre Dame's chances of landing the South Carolina superstar. He currently has only one other official visit lined up, but that is certain to change.

"I've only set up one other official visit and that's to Clemson in January," said Page. "I have those two, but I'm not sure of my other visits. I'm still talking to South Carolina. I'm looking at two dates that could work and then I'm still trying to decide on the other two visits. It will probably come down to Georgia Tech, Alabama and North Carolina."

There's one other school that has also impressed Page. He took an unofficial visit to rising power South Florida and they may also get consideration for one of his other three official visits.

Page's high school team is currently 3-4, but Page is by no means ready to wave the white flag on the season.

"Right now we're a 3-4 team, but we're still in the running for the playoffs," explained Page. "We haven't been dominated yet. We lost some close games. We're still a good team. We're weak at a few positions, but we get better and better each week."

While pulling players out of the South is difficult, Notre Dame has traditionally had more success recruiting the Chicago area. The Irish would like to continue that success with Dan Shatz. Shatz, OL, 6-5, 270, St. Viator, High School, Arlington Heights, IL represents one of the top offensive line prospects in the Chicago area and he is high on Notre Dame.

"I really like Notre Dame," responded Shatz when asked about his interest in the Irish. "I actually just got a letter from them today. They send me stuff about who they are playing that weekend and why the school is good. I got a media guide as well so that was kind of cool to get. I've been to a lot of games at Notre Dame. It's a great atmosphere. I love the campus and the stadium."

Shatz has already begun receiving recruiting attention from schools other than Notre Dame. It's actually a bit surprising that's the case considering that this is only his first year of varsity football. He transferred after his freshman year and Illinois High School Association rules required him to sit out one season. Shatz attributes his early notice to his participation in camps and combines.

"I think coaches have learned about me from the combines and camps," explained Shatz. "I went to the Illinois camp, Pudue and the Notre Dame elite camp in early June. You get to learn a little information from here or there that's always useful, so I try to pick up a few things at every camp."

Shatz enjoys the camps for more than just the football. He sees them as a way of getting to know other recruits.

"When you go to the camps, you usually don't know anyone, and I think it's great getting to meet different guys that you don't know anything about," said Shatz. I went to the Purdue camp and met some guys, and then I went to another camp and I saw the same guys and eventually I became pretty close with them because we'd see each other at different places. I still talk to them here and there to find out how their season is going."

Shatz met Irish verbal commitment Darius Fleming at the Main South combine. He described that combine as very challenging and physical, but felt he fared well. He also enjoyed the Notre Dame camp.

"All the Notre Dame coaches were there, which I thought was cool," said Shatz. "I liked coach Latina; I thought he was a really good coach. He really took time to teach you. He just made the drills so much better because if you didn't do something right he'd tell you to give it another try. Coach Weis was there and he'd walk around and talk to everyone and work with guys."

One thing that Shatz won't need from the Irish coaches in recruiting is information about Notre Dame campus life. His cousin is current Irish safety Tom Zbikowski and Shatz already knows a number of Notre Dame players.

"I've met Jeff Samardzija," explained Shatz. "Me and Victor Abiamiri know each other real well. I know Trevor Laws, John Sullivan, Ambrose Wooden and Chinedum Ndukwe. I don't see them a lot, but it seems like we've been friends for years."

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


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