Recruiting Week in Review

The Notre Dame coaching staff can flat out recruit. There's just no other way to see it. Those that considered the recruiting disadvantages that the Irish faced in putting together a solid 2009 class, concluded that it would almost certainly be a down year. In the face of this, all Notre Dame has done is fill well over half their class by the second week of July.

In doing so, the Irish have landed three Scout.com Top 100 recruits out of a total of twelve so far.

Last week Notre Dame received three more verbal commitments. Among them was a five-star Scout.com Top 100 player, while another was a four-star prospect ranked eighteenth at his position. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Eyes?

No one could ever accuse Chris Watt of being impulsive. On Sunday afternoon, Watt, OG, 6-4, 284, Glenbard West High School, Glen Ellyn, IL made a verbal commitment to play football at the University of Notre Dame. Watt made that commitment after having visited more than a dozen different schools, some many times, and having had countless conversations with coaches. When he sat down with his parents to list the pros and cons of each school, the con section for Notre Dame was very short.

"It was just what my thoughts were on each school," Watt explained. "It was quite a long list, just putting the positives and negatives of each school in each category."

Though he was already "90%" certain on Notre Dame, this final exercise cemented his decision.

"It was just the combination of everything, academics and athletics, and just always being Notre Dame football," said Watt. "That's sacred in college football and it's something I couldn't pass up and I'm really excited about it."

After having made his decision, Watt needed to let Charlie Weis know. He caught up with the Irish head coach in New Jersey.

"He was really excited," said Watt of Weis's reaction to the news. "He was in New Jersey and he was waiting for my phone call. He is excited for me to join the Notre Dame family and I'm excited as well. It's a great feeling to be done with the recruiting and be a part of something." Watt projects as a guard and that's probably where he'll play in college. With the earlier verbal commitment of Alex Bullard, the Irish have landed two outstanding interior linemen who, along with backs Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick, could form the nucleus of an excellent future running game.

"They're looking at me as more of a guard, but they also can see me playing all three positions on the line," said Watt. "But they really like me at guard right now and I think that's where I'll be starting off."

Watt's choice was good news to many in his family.

"They were ecstatic," Watt said. "I'm Irish-Catholic growing up so my grandpa was excited, both my grandparents were extremely happy for me. My friends are excited and other coaches and players I've met through the process congratulated me. It's been a long process and they were happy I could pick a school that best fits me."

While recruits like Chris Watt take their time, look at numerous schools, sit down and weigh on the pros and cons, ultimately the decision still hinges on a "feeling." Generally the feeling is one of belonging, of being in the right place with the right people. For some, it takes longer to identify that feeling, while others like Marlon Pollard known it the minute they step on a campus.

Pollard, CB, 6-1, 160, Cajon High School, San Bernardino, CA got the feeling the minute he stepped on the Irish campus.

"It was just the way it made me feel on the inside," explained the Scout.com four-star cornerback. "I've been in California my whole life and I feel its time to spread my wings and go elsewhere."

Pollard's time spent at Notre Dame only reinforced his feeling.

"It was like a connection when I got out there and then when I began to meet people that weren't on Notre Dame's football staff, I was like I can see myself out there," related Pollard.

Pollard was a verbal commitment to UCLA, first committing to former head coach Karl Dorrell almost a year ago. UCLA went through a coaching change, though Pollard's mother Rachael insists that her son's decision to switch involved far more than just that.

"We opened the possibility of looking elsewhere, and we talked with the coaches at UCLA and obviously everyone knows there was a big coaching change," said Rachael Pollard. "Right around that time we thought we should at least explore other opportunities, not because of the coaching staff, Rick (Neuheisel) is a great guy and the people that he's brought on have helped strengthen that coaching staff. We are not leaving UCLA because they don't have the potential to win there. They're a great program with great facilities and a great coaching staff. They've shown us nothing but love and done nothing wrong."

Rachael Pollard continued.

"We are going to a better opportunity for Marlon as an individual. We just want to make sure it's known that UCLA did nothing wrong to Marlon or our family. They've done everything right."

Pollard chose Notre Dame from among several offers including those from UCLA, Nebraska, Arizona State and Washington. Those offers came after Pollard compiled 56 tackles and three interceptions playing for Valencia High School last year. His family has moved though and he will play for Cajon this season. The upcoming move will actually be only the first of two. Rachael Pollard, a human resources director for a major metal company plans to transfer to the Midwest to be near her son when he leaves for college.

"I don't know if it's going to be South Bend, but it's going to be somewhere in driving distance," explain Ms. Pollard. "Because we're not from the Midwest, I don't want Marlon to be in a situation where if he wants to come home for a weekend he has to take a flight. I love my job and I love the fact that I have the ability to do that, so I can continue to support him in his dream."

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


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