"Keep In Touch"

Dan Fox was standing on the Notre Dame Stadium sideline in front of the student section just before the Irish were set to host Duke in the home finale, when assistant coach Brian Polian eyed the Cleveland St. Ignatius standout and approached him for a quick word.

"He was like, we're really, really interested in you," Dan Fox said. "Keep in touch."

Fox definitely will.

The 6-foot-3 ½ inch, 215-pound Fox plays safety for St. Ignatius, but projects more as a linebacker on the next level. That's where the Irish like the 2009 prospect, and are sending him letters every two or three days.

Notre Dame isn't the only school. Fox has yet to receive his first scholarship offer, but programs like Ohio State, Illinois, Iowa, Purdue, North Carolina State, Northwestern and Vanderbilt are all showing a lot of interest.

"Coach Polian will be in this week or next week," St. Ignatius head coach Chuck Kyle said. He has been the head coach for 25 years, and also coaches Fox during track season. "He always stops by once or twice a year. He'll be here."

A couple years ago it was to check in on current Irish players, receiver Rob Parris and defensive end/linebacker John Ryan. This year, Fox is the main attraction, but the Irish have also shown some interest in Ryan's little cousin Connor Ryan, a 6-foot-2 inch receiver, and Andrew Holland, a 6-foot-1 inch quarterback.

In helping St. Ignatius to a 8-3 record this season, Fox had 42 solos, 19 assists and three interceptions. One of those was an 80-yard pick six against Glenville High in the first round of the state playoffs. Unfortunately for Fox, his second-ranked squad fell to No. 7 Glenville, 26-23.

"Danny is a three-sport guy," Kyle said. "Right now he's in basketball. He runs very well, last year in the 4.6 range. He's also in track and field and is a high hurdler, so he definitely works on his running. He was a regional qualifier, and with another season of high hurdling, I think you'll see better (40) times.

"He plays a strong safety/outside linebacker position we have. We play a 3-5. On offense he plays some tight end. He made a lot of plays this year. We blitz him at times. He has a nice pass rush. Does well in space. I can see how people see him as a linebacker on the next level. We let him run around a little bit, cover people, wide receivers, backs out of the backfield. We're very comfortable with him covering them."

Fox is trying to get comfortable with the recruiting process. A lot is coming at him right now, and he is just trying to get his bearings.

He does know that he likes Notre Dame after visiting.

"We got in late Friday," Fox said. He went with his parents. "We came early on Saturday and watched the players walk into the stadium. That was pretty sweet how they're all dressed up.

Fox got a chance to check out the Guglielmino Athletics Complex, where the weight room, football offices and Loftus Center are located.

"That was nice," he said. "That was a really nice facility. I liked the indoor field they got and the weight room was real nice."

Inside the locker room after the game, Parris and Ryan called Fox over and made sure he met some of the Irish players.

"They were seniors when I was a freshman so they used to push me around," Fox laughed. "So it was nice to see them again."

Fox has been on a few other campuses to check things out. He saw Illinois upset an undefeated Ohio State team in Columbus.

"They lost but it was still pretty sweet," Fox said. "I just talked to (head coach Jim) Tressel for a little bit. Not really too in depth. I talked to coach (Luke) Fickell (co-defensive coordinator/LB coach) for a little bit. I went to the Ohio State camp over the summer, and he saw me at the game and said he was impressed with me at the camp because I won the hands competition."

Earlier in the year, Fox caught a game at Northwestern.

"I liked it," he said. "I think they like me there. My cousin's wife went there. She talked to me and said it was a really nice school, and that their graduation rate is like 100 percent now. That's really important to me."

Fox has a 3.6 GPA, and also attended the Purdue football camp over the summer.

"It was really nice," Fox said. "The dude's there looked like they were having a lot of fun. The team was working out while we were there."

As far as a decision goes, Fox said he is just waiting for his first offer and doesn't really have a timetable set.

In doing what Polian said, Fox's highlight tape just got finished, and he plans to send it to the Notre Dame football offices this week.


IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories