Recruiting week in review.

Notre Dame's disadvantages in recruiting are well known by Irish recruitniks. South Bend is too cold and too small town. The admission requirements are too high and the academics are too rigorous. However, Notre Dame does possess at least two major recruiting advantages that enable its coaches to garner the interest of top recruits.

First of all, it's one of only two Division IA football programs at Catholic institutions. Secondly, the tradition and name recognition of Notre Dame at the very least gets recruits to take a second look. Charlie Weis and his staff have been outstanding at selling these two components to high school players. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes?

Xavier Su'a-Filo's first piece of mail from Notre Dame was a written scholarship offer. Su'a-Filo, OL, 6-5, 275, Timpview High School, Provo, UT was stunned by the offer.

"I was thinking what, this is crazy," said Su'a-Filo. "I got to talk to the offensive line coach first. Coach (John) Latina was telling me why they were calling and what was going to happen. He said they watched my film and they were impressed. Then I got to talk to coach Weis. He seemed like a real nice guy."

Su'a-Filo's conversation with Weis represented his first real direct contact with anyone or anything associated with Notre Dame. However, like most high school players, he's heard of the Irish.

"…He (Weis) introduced himself to me," Su'a-Filo explained. "He said I'm coach Weis, the head coach of the University of Notre Dame and I'm calling to offer you a scholarship. They looked at my film and thought I was a good player and he asked me how I felt about it. I was excited. I told him I don't know much about Notre Dame, I haven't been out there. I told him I've heard nothing but good things about their tradition and how they do things out there. I'd like to go take a look and see what they have, because Notre Dame is big time."

Su'a-Filo couldn't wait to tell his parents about the offer and apparently it impressed them as well.

"We think that's someone he's going to take a serious look at," said Xavier's father Ifi. "We don't know a whole lot about Notre Dame except they have a very rich tradition. They're kind of one of the mainstays of college football."

Su'a-Filo led his Timpview team to a 13-0 record and a Utah class 4-A state championship. He played right tackle and earned first team all-state honors. Su'a-Filo attributes his success to many factors, not the least of which is his speed, a bit of an uncommon skill for an offensive lineman. Apparently, most of the dozen college programs that have offered him a scholarship agree.

"They just like how I can move really fast," said Su'a-Filo. "We have this play where it's designed to pull one offensive tackle. I love leading for the running back with my speed, just go and pick up a linebacker or a defensive back. They (college coaches) like how aggressive I am and how physical I hit, and they say there aren't many offensive linemen running like that."

Su'a-Filo plans to take several unofficial visits this summer to begin to narrow his ever-growing list of suitors. Notre Dame is on target to get one of those visits after coach Weis alleviated any of Su'a-Filo's possible concerns about the Irish being sensitive to the needs of his Mormon faith.

"He asked me if I was Mormon, and he asked me if a mission was something I was planning on doing," said Su'a-Filo. "He said, just so you know, lets get this out of the way so it doesn't come up in the future, if you want to go on a mission, that's cool. I thought that was pretty neat."

Su'a-Filo reports a 3.2 grade point average and has been clocked at 4.98 in the forty.

The Notre Dame coaching staff recently offered a scholarship to yet another recruit from the Rocky Mountain west region. Nick Kasa, DE, 6-7, 250, Legacy High School, Broomfield, CO received a Notre Dame scholarship offer a couple of weeks ago. Apparently, his head coach, Wayne Voorhees and his parents knew of the offer before Kasa did. So when Kasa was called to coach Voorhees office to talk to a Notre Dame coach, he thought it would just be another recruiting pitch.

"I was thinking they were just going to tell me they were interested and to keep it up," said Kasa. When his parents walked in, he began to suspect something more special might be in the offing.

"I was like, why are you here," Kasa said. "And they kind of smiled. I knew then something was going on. Then my coach had me call (Notre Dame) and they put Charlie Weis on the phone and he said he had an offer letter in his hand and if I'm interested he'd give it to me. I was like, of course."

Notre Dame's offer represents one of thirteen offers Kasa holds. His most recent came from Miami. Some of the other schools in the mix for him are Florida, Nebraska and Colorado, just to name a few.

As a Catholic, Kasa's offer from Notre Dame is special.

"He was pretty excited," said Voorhees. "Obviously he is a Catholic boy. He was supposed to go to the Catholic school down the road, Holy Family, but ended up going to the bigger school with more notoriety."

Kasa has long been an Irish fan. As a boy, he and his family would drive by South Bend on their way to Cape Cod.

"They're definitely in my top five," said Kasa of Notre Dame. "I know just how if you don't make it in football, there is something else for you. If you graduate from there it means something, you'll get a good job after that. It's a good education."

As a junior, Kasa recorded 63 tackles, 20 for a loss and 8.5 sacks. Legacy finished the season at 9-3. Voorhees attributes Kasa's success to his speed and athleticism.

"The thing about it is his speed," explained Voorhees, also the track team's sprint coach. "He's a low 4.6 kid. He runs the 100 (meters) in 11.1. The thing about it is, it's one thing to not run at him, but you can't run away from him either."

Kasa reports a 2.65 grade point average, but that's up substantially from the beginning of his junior. He admits to not taking his academics very seriously his first two years of high school, but told Irish Eyes that he earned nearly all "A's" his junior year.

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


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