No Weekend Off For Irish Coaching Staff

The Irish football team may have a bye this weekend, and the weekend off, but it's full speed ahead for the Irish coaching staff and the second season—recruiting. The ND coaching staff will be flying all over the country this weekend trying to improve an already surprisingly good 2009 recruiting class.

When a team finishes 3-9 the previous season, it's almost unheard of that they'll follow up the next season with a top 10 recruiting class. Irish head coach Charlie Weis and his coaching staff could very well be on their way to doing just that.

Notre Dame is currently ranked No. 10 in's team recruiting rankings, and they're not finished yet recruiting. There are still a number of elite prospects left on the board, and the Irish coaching staff will be out on the road this weekend trying to close on what is already an impressive recruiting class.

After doing some digging, speaking with a few prospects and high school coaches, and beating the bushes, we've dug up some information on where the Irish coaching staff might be headed this weekend.

The rules indicate that only seven coaches can be on the road at any one time. Also, each prospect can only be visited once between September and November, and some have already been visited by the Irish coaching staff. 2009 prospects Davon Custis and Jelani Jenkins, for instance, have already been evaluated and visited by the Irish coaching staff earlier in the season.

Two Irish coaches, Rob Ianello and Jappy Oliver, are already on the road as of Wednesday. Ianello, we've heard, will visit his usual stomping grounds of Chicago, but also will catch a game Wednesday in Minneapolis as traditional ND feeder school Cretin Derham high school plays a game, and 2010 prospect Seantrel Henderson will certainly be a player Ianello will be watching. He'll also stop by to see 2010 prospect Christian Lombard play on Friday, followed by catching 2009 commitment Chris Watt's game on Saturday.

Oliver will be out in his usual territory, and we've heard four-star defensive end Gabe Ikard is on the list, as is five-star defensive end Nick Kasa's high school. Oliver will be trying to secure an official visit with Kasa on his visit—Ikard has already visited Notre Dame.

Irish defensive coordinator Corwin Brown will be headed to Florida from what we've heard. He'll be watching four-star safety Jawanza Starling and four-star linebacker Frankie Telfort.

Irish offensive line coach John Latina will be watching 2009 commitment E.J. Banks do his magic on both sides of the ball on Saturday.

ND linebacker coach Jon Tenuta will take in one of Ohio's best games every year in the traditional Cleveland St. Ignatius/Cincinnati Xavier game where a number of DI prospects will showcase their talents—both 2009 and 2010 and beyond.

Irish special teams coach Brian Polian will be out in his main area, Southern California, and will be visiting 2009 defensive back commitment Marlon Pollard, who recently returned from his official visit to Notre Dame a few weeks ago. Polian will head back to California the following week to see 2009 wide receiver prospect Shaquelle Evans.

Even the head man will be chipping in. Yes, ND head coach Charlie Weis will also be out on the road this weekend.

The Irish already have a number of elite players on the offensive side of the ball, such as five-star running back Cierre Wood, but Weis and the Irish staff have yet to land his equal on the defensive side of the ball. A number of such players are still left on the board on the defensive side, but none probably more heralded than five-star linebacker Manti Te'o.

Irish head coach Charlie Weis will hop on a plane on Friday for nine hours to visit Te'o and will take in the Honolulu, Hawaii native's game on Friday. Te'o was scheduled to visit the Irish in a few weeks when the Irish take on Pittsburgh, but that visit had to be canceled due to Te'o's homecoming game and festivities. ND expects Te'o to reschedule his visit, and the 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker is probably ND's best chance to land a truly elite player on the defensive side of the ball this season.

I can't stress enough how surprising this recruiting class has been for ND considering their season last year. It truly is unheard of for a staff to finish in the top 10 after a poor season like ND had last year. The Notre Dame coaching staff continues to place a very high priority on recruiting, and it's really starting to pay off as many of Notre Dame's best players are freshmen and sophomores.

The Irish will be adding a lot of "star power" once they sign this 2009 class, and it appears they're in line for another top 10 class. That would be three straight top 10 recruiting classes for Weis and Notre Dame, and one ranked No. 1 (2008). Only the very elite teams in the country can say that.

While the Irish have certainly turned things around on the field in 2008, Weis &Co. have never struggled recruiting, and you're starting to see the results of strong recruiting campaigns paying off on the field.

Weis, recruiting coordinator Rob Ianello and recruiting staff member Dave Peloquin have really done an outstanding job of organizing this effort and continue to do an excellent job. I've followed Notre Dame recruiting for many, many years, and I've never seen an Irish staff this far ahead of the game as this staff is on 2010 recruiting. Early projections for 2010 look outstanding! The future looks very bright for Notre Dame, and they're doing it the right way….good old fashioned hard work. Top Stories