Recruiting Week in Review

After several weeks of quiet on the recruiting front things have suddenly heated up for the Irish. The commitments of Michael Floyd and Jonas Gray reenergized Notre Dame recruitniks and there are more players out there for whom the Irish appear to be making a serious play.

Against Navy, Notre Dame finally got its running game untracked, rushing the ball sixty-three times out of a total of ninety-one plays. That type of running attack requires a very good and a very deep stable of running backs. If the Irish hope to continue to develop this type of rushing attack, they're going to need to recruit talented running backs and game-breaking receivers that can keep a defense from piling eight or nine players in the box. Notre Dame has scheduled official visits from two such players. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes?

Notre Dame hopes to turn their future backfield into a "Gray" area. Last week the Irish received a verbal commitment from Jonas Gray. They hosted Cyrus Gray for the Navy game and would love to add him to the class of 2008. Gray, RB, 5-11, 190, DeSoto High School, DeSoto, TX is a Scout.com four-star player and the eleventh ranked running back in the nation. Irish Eyes' Jeff Baumhower spoke with Gray's head coach Dave Meadows last week and confirmed that Gray would indeed be taking an official visit for the Navy game.

"Yep, he'll be there," confirmed Meadows. "Cyrus is having an unbelievable year. He injured an ankle a couple of weeks ago, and in that game he was right at 300 yards. Last week he was still pretty stiff so he didn't play much. He had 1400 yards in seven games, and of course didn't really add to that in the eighth game."

Meadows acknowledges that he'll need a healthy Gray to win a district championship. According to his head coach, Gray is the type of player that can put a team on his back and carry them.

"There aren't a lot of athletes like him," explained Meadows. "He has the vision, the moves, the strength, the quick burst of speed. He has the speed over the long haul. In the division we play in, guys in the secondary can run 4.4's. Cyrus will have a burst to get open, and, if someone is on his heels, he has another burst to pull away. He's got all the things you want in a quality back. The most important of all is the person that he is. He doesn't have one selfish bone in his body. If there is such a thing as a dream guy, I think he's probably it."

Notre Dame was Gray's first official visit. He has other official visits planned to Louisville, California and Florida.

Game-breaking receivers are sometimes overlooked in developing a strong running game. They prevent defenses from stacking the box which can really open up the running lanes. Notre Dame recently received a verbal commitment from one such receiver in Michael Floyd and has had John Goodman in the fold for several months. They would like to add at least one or two more. Gerrell Robinson, WR, 6-3, 210, Hamilton High School, Chandler AZ is high on the Irish coaching staff's wish list. Robinson is a Scout.com four-star player and the seventeenth ranked receiver in the nation. Notre Dame is recruiting Robinson heavily and has set his official visit.

"I talk to coach Oliver and coach Ianello more than anyone else," Robinson responded when asked about his contact with the Notre Dame coaching staff. "I'm coming up to the Duke game. As far as I know, that's the only game we've been talking about. I haven't received my itinerary yet, but I should be set for that game. I'm not sure if coach [Steve] Belles (Hamilton head football coach) is going to come with me. I know he'd love to go if he could. My mom might come to Indiana with me. If she doesn't come with me, I'd definitely want coach Belles to come out with me. The only other visit I have locked down is Oregon and that is this weekend. My dad is going up to Oregon with me."

Robinson wants to keep an open mind on his official visits. Rather than look for specifics, he wants to take in the entire atmosphere.

"I'm just going to take it all in and see if I'd fit into the system, the program and the school," explained Robinson. "It's really about my comfort level. All programs have a lot to offer. Exposure-wise Notre Dame is on TV every week, so that's a plus, but it's really about my comfort level.

Notre Dame's depth at wide receiver, specifically those recruits in the class of 2008 already committed, as well as those still considering the Irish, won't affect Robinson's decision.

"I heard about Mike Floyd committing," said Robinson. "I know they have Deion Walker coming out for a visit. I have no problem competing with the best of them. I know what I can do and I know where I stand. If they can play on the field, I'm ready to battle."

Robinson doesn't want to drag out the process of recruitment, but his own football season takes first priority. Once the season is over though, he plans to take as much time as he needs in order to be certain of making the right decision.

"We have one regular season game left and then we start the playoffs," said Robinson. "We play Taylor (7-2) our cross-town rival. This is the biggest regular season game of the year. Our offense has been really productive. The last couple of games I've been back at quarterback because our other quarterback was out, but he'll be back this weekend."

Robinson finished his last game with 130 yards passing, fifty-seven yards rushing on only four carries and three touchdowns in a 44-8 win. Making those numbers even more impressive is the fact that he only played in the first half.

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


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