The majority of the class of 2009 will represent depth rather than filling immediate needs. That is not to say that the members of that class will not have the opportunity to earn early playing time, but rather that the Irish coaches won't need them to earn early playing time.
Last week Irish Eyes spoke to two 2009 recruits that, while they may not be needed to contribute immediately, their talent might enable them to do so. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes?
Manti Teo, LB, 6-2, 230, Punahou High School, Honolulu, HI has already received a Notre Dame scholarship offer. While the Irish don't currently have any Hawaiians on their roster, they would definitely like to change that with Teo.
"Notre Dame hasn't been in touch with me, but they've been in touch with my coaches," said Teo of Notre Dame's contact with him. "They started recruiting me in the spring of this year. Coach Ianello came down and looked at me and one of my teammates."
Despite the attention, Teo was surprised by the scholarship offer.
"They had sent me about three envelopes," Teo said. "They were the regular things about their upcoming games and things stuff that. My coach said that he had been talking to some of the coaches as well as coach Weis. That's all I really know and then one day this big envelope came in that had a big Notre Dame emblem on it and it was my offer letter. I was shocked. There haven't been many athletes from Hawaii that have received a scholarship from Notre Dame.
Teo doesn't know much about Notre Dame, but what he does know has interested him in learning more.
"I know they have a strong tradition in football," Teo said. "I've seen pictures and I've heard stories about how beautiful the campus is, and when I see pictures of the campus I can't believe how beautiful it is. It's a great school academically and they've had great people that have gone to school there."
Teo says that he has heard great things about coach Weis and his passion for the game. He also says that his favorite player on the team is Tom Zbikowski because "he's a hard hitter."
Passion for the game is definitely something with which Teo can relate. He believes it's his enthusiasm for the game that sets him apart from other players.
"I think the difference [between me and the other players] is my passion for the game," explained Teo. "I'm always striving to be the best and I'm always trying to climb up the ladder. It's my passion for the game that carries me through."
Notre Dame will need to out-recruit some of the nation's best football programs if they hope to land Teo. He currently holds scholarship offers from USC, UCLA, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Stanford, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, BYU, Hawaii and Tennessee.
Notre Dame is also looking west, though a bit less far west, for another top defensive prospect in the class of 2009. Devon Kennard, DE, 63.5, 235, Desert Vista High School, Phoenix, AZ may end up being the best 2009 prospect in the state of Arizona. The Irish coaching staff has been speaking to Kennard's head coach, Dan Hinds.
"They've stopped by to see him, so they are very interested in him," opined Hinds. "They came out last spring to look at a couple of our seniors and they also asked about Devon as well. They've shown great interest and they seem to be real excited about him."
Of course, with the way Kennard has been playing this year, nearly every major program will be showing interest in him. Despite being targeted by opposing offenses, he has registered incredible numbers.
"He plays defensive end for us. He plays both sides of the line for us strong side and weak side. He requires a double team on every play so we move him around. I believe he has twenty-five sacks already and over 100 tackles," said Hinds. "People just have trouble blocking him. Last week he sacked the quarterback, scooped the ball and scored.
Kennard has benefited from some outstanding coaching from someone with whom he's very close, his brother.
"His older brother Derek is the defensive line coach and he's just a great coach," explained Hinds. "He taught Devon how to strike. He'll strike you five or six different ways. He's got so much in his repertoire, as far as moves go, that guys don't know what is coming next. He's the total package."
Kennard is not only the total package on the field, but off it as well.
"He's just one of those phenomenal kids all the way around," Hinds said. "He's a great football player and he has a 3.9 g.p.a. He's only had one "B" in his high school career."
As is always the case with great players, Notre Dame will face stiff competition for Kennard's signature. In addition to Notre Dame, the entire Pac-10, Florida and LSU are heavily recruiting him.
These two summaries represent just a sample of Notre Dame football recruiting information available each week on Irish Eyes.
Recruiting week in review.
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