A Small Request

The next time Carlo Calabrese visits Notre Dame, the four-star linebacker from Verona, N.J., will have a small delivery for head coach Charlie Weis.

He'll be bringing a bag of poppy-seed bagels with him.

"The New Jersey poppy-seed bagels," Carlo Calabrese said. "He said next time you come down here, you have to bring me a poppy-seed bagel. I said oh yeah."

A New Jersey product himself, Weis is hoping he gets those bagels soon, and not because he has a craving. It will be another opportunity for him to sell the school to the inside linebacker. Notre Dame had the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Calabrese on campus for a junior day back in March.

"I don't know, maybe this summer," Calabrese said of a return trip.

Calabrese is currently sporting nine scholarship offers. Besides Notre Dame, he has full-rides from Florida, Rutgers, Maryland, Syracuse, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Boston College and Cincinnati on the table.

Of those schools, it appears that Notre Dame is recruiting Calabrese the hardest.

"I guess you can say that," Calabrese said.

Notre Dame was the first program to reach Calabrese at the start of the evaluation period a few weeks ago. He spoke with offensive line coach John Latina, linebackers coach Jon Tenuta, and Weis. Latina went by Verona High last week, and Tenuta will be visiting the school today. No other program has yet to visit twice.

The Irish are sitting in good position, even though Calabrese said he hasn't started narrowing down schools yet.

"They're up there with the top of the list," Calabrese said.

The attention from Notre Dame has been flattering, especially getting to talk with Weis again.

"I like it because you see him on TV all the time, and I'm like wow, I'm talking to this guy," Calabrese explained.

"It makes me feel good," he said of Latina's visit. "And the linebacker coach coming makes me feel even better.

"He's nice. I like him. He sounds like a real Jersey guy. He was just telling me they really like me and all that."

What's not to like?

The first player to start as a freshman at Verona High since Notre Dame graduate Anthony Fasano, Calabrese racked up 104 tackles with 34 of those coming for loss including six sacks. He also forced three fumbles, picked off two passes and used his 4.7 speed to rush for 800 yards as Verona High's quarterback.

Calabrese, who is also the team's kicker, is expecting to play even more this fall. In preparing for the grind, Calabrese has increased his bench press to 320 pounds, and his squat is 400 pounds.

"I'm going to be playing a lot of positions next year," Calabrese said. "They like to put me everywhere, fullback, running back, tight end and quarterback."

Calabrese will be sticking to just linebacker on the defensive side of the ball.

Since visiting Notre Dame, he has been out to see Florida, Boston College, Penn State and Rutgers. At this point in the process, Calabrese has visited just about every school that he has a desire to see.

"I'd like to see Virginia, and Michigan came to school the other day," Calabrese said.

Calabrese commented on each program he recently visited.

Rutgers: "I've been there a bunch of times. It's nice. They're building their new stadium, and they said it will be ready for my freshman year."

Boston College: "It was my second time. I went last year for a junior day. I liked it. It's a nice campus. Real nice coaches."

Penn State: "I went another time for a game. It's nice. A real big school."

Florida: "It was nice weather, nice coaches, beautiful campus. Palm trees were everywhere. It was nice."

Notre Dame: "Notre Dame's campus is beautiful I think. I like it a lot. They compare with Boston College's campus."

Calabrese isn't sure when he is going to make a college commitment, but would like to have a smaller list of five favorites by the summer.

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories