The Final Piece

Anthony LaLota likes to check in with Charlie Weis on a regular basis, and the five-star defensive end from Princeton, N.J. caught up with the Notre Dame head coach just before he headed across the Atlantic Ocean to visit with U.S. troops in the Middle East.

Weis delivered a firm message to Anthony LaLota.

"He was telling me he was trying to get a lot of Jersey guys this year, and I'm the last piece he is looking for," the 6-foot-6, 260-pound LaLota said.

Weis, a Jersey man himself, and the rest of the Notre Dame staff has already been able to gain three verbal commitments in this class from players hailing from the Garden State. They are four-star linebacker Carlo Calabrese, four-star running back Theo Riddick, and LaLota's prep teammate Tyler Stockton, a four-star defensive tackle from The Hun School.

The Irish are in the race to add number four in LaLota, but there is certainly more recruiting in this situation to be done.

LaLota claims no favorites, but would like to trim his list of 35 offers from programs like Florida State, Florida, Ohio State and Penn State, down to a manageable five this summer.

Notre Dame will get a second look from LaLota, and another chance to impress.

"Either June or July," LaLota said of when he'll be back on campus. His first time in South Bend came in April for the Irish spring game. "If my mom can make it, we'll bring her, and if not, it will be just be me and my dad."

The only trip LaLota currently has scheduled, is a visit to Boston College this weekend. Other than Notre Dame, he isn't quite sure where he wants to go this summer.

"I still have to think about that," LaLota said. "There are already schools I visited this past spring. I'll have to see what other schools I'm going to go to, I'm not really sure yet.

"I'll probably do a couple one-day camps over the summer. I'm not sure what camps I'll be going to, but I'll make a couple more visits."

LaLota also checks in with Irish defensive coordinator Corwin Brown on a regular basis, and defensive line coach Jappy Oliver was by the school recently, so LaLota's communication with the Notre Dame staff is constant.

"I've spoke on the phone with coach Weis and coach Brown a few times. They just told me how important I am to them and how much they want me.

"It's usually just staying in touch and letting them know how everything goes."

"The academics, they're great," LaLota said. "It's a great school. I just think it's a good situation."

Though LaLota wants to trim his offers down to a few finalists this summer, he isn't quite sure when he will make a verbal commitment. He is hoping before the fall.

"If I'm not ready, I'll just make it afterwards."

This fall will be LaLota's second ever playing football. As a junior, he jumped on the recruiting map by registering 40 tackles, 10 sacks and two forced fumbles, in helping The Hun School win another league title.

Weis and Brown aren't the only two recruiting LaLota as the final possible piece from the state of New Jersey. Stockton is in his ear a bit as well.

"He's been telling me about it," LaLota said. Top Stories