Banquet weekend a success

<P>Notre Dame had a successful banquet weekend with 13 total visitors in this weekend. I was not able to reach all of those visitors but will try in the next few days. Early returns show the banquet was a success and Notre Dame is high on the list of many of the guys who visited this weekend. </P>

The first player I spoke to was Tommy Zbikowski. Zbikowski has long been rumored to be leaning towards Notre Dame. Nothing changed that with this weekend and the Irish should be in this race until the end. Notre Dame is recruiting Tommy as a safety and he has been going back and forth on the decision to play safety or quarterback in college.

"I really liked it. I was close to committing but I didn't. I want to take more visits and see but it's going to be very hard to turn down ND now."
I asked him if Ty said he would save a scholarship for him. "We didn't really talk about that. He is a real honest guy, if something were to happen, I am sure he would call and let me know. I really liked hanging out with all the players and I really feel like I fit in there well."
I asked Tom if he would take all his visits. "I don't know, it's fun but it's really draining. I will take my Iowa visit I think and then Nebraska probably. Notre Dame is going to be tough to beat."

My thoughts

I think the Irish are in very good shape with Tommy. It would not surprise me at all if he ended this very soon. I have said recently that I bet he has a decision before the holidays. Tommy is set to visit Iowa next week and Nebraska the following week. I think he will decide before the holidays, I also think he will choose Notre Dame.

The next player I got in touch with was Ambrose Wooden. Ambrose has also spoken very highly of Notre Dame this year and I knew a visit to Notre Dame would only help their chances. Ambrose is a guy they would love to have and could play wide receiver for Notre Dame as well as corner.

"I really liked it. It was awesome. I really felt like I fit in well there. I really had a good time."
I asked Ambrose if he committed. "No, I didn't. I really liked it though."
Is Notre Dame your leader. "Yeah, I would say that."
Will you take more visits or decide soon? "I don't know. I need to talk to my parents. I wouldn't count out that I make my decision soon."
Did Victor like it. "Yeah, he really did. You have to talk to him though."

My Thoughts

Ambrose could be done very soon. He said he would talk it over with his parents and decide if he needs to take more visits. He seemed very impressed with Notre Dame and Boston College is his other school he is considering. I still think Ambrose will likely take one more visit before he decides. He could commit this week but I bet he takes another visit before deciding. Ambrose is set to visit Penn State next but talked recently of canceling that visit. He might switch that visit to Stanford this week because I think that is the only other school he has a strong interest in. Regardless, I think Notre Dame will get a commitment from Ambrose sometime this month.

I also caught up with Lewis Baker. Baker is an OLB prospect the Irish have been chasing since July. He was also very impressed with Notre Dame and Coach Willingham in particular.

"I didn't commit but it was awesome. That place is amazing. With Coach Willingham there, Notre Dame is going to be back. He is going to get all the great recruits out there every year. I wouldn't be surprised if they got the vast majority of guys there this weekend. All of them said it was Notre Dame and one other school they were considering and I bet Coach Willingham gets most of those guys."
Will Lewis visit more schools? "I told Coach Willingham that I don't want to do what I did at Texas. I owe it to myself to look around and check out other schools and compare it to Notre Dame. I am sure most won't compare but one might. I told him I wanted to be 100% sure and he respected that. I will take my Oklahoma visit and my Vanderbilt visit for sure. I will probably schedule a visit to Georgia Tech, maybe January 10th and I might look at Texas A&M as well. I want to take some more visits to be sure but there is a really, really good chance I will choose Notre Dame. Coach Willingham asked me if there was anything I didn't like about Notre Dame and I literally sat there for a couple of minutes and I could not think of one thing."

My Thoughts
Notre Dame will eventually sign Lewis I believe. He says Notre Dame leads very large for him but that all could change. Don't get overly excited about this just yet. There are plenty of good schools that Lewis is considering and many impressive coaches he will also be talking to. In the end, I still think Lewis chooses Notre Dame because of the education, the tradition, early playing time and Coach Willingham.

The last guy I was able to get in touch with was Kenny Scott. Kenny is a corner prospect the Irish would love to have. He also had a good visit to Notre Dame.

"The visit went great. What can you say, it's Notre Dame. Everything about it was great. Coach Willingham is such a great guy. If you can't play for him, you can't play for anyone. The academics are second to none."
I asked him if he felt like he fit in with the students and players. "Yeah, the players were great. It was like my high school teammates. It's a family and I really like that. The players are also different in that they are student athletes. They are not there to just play football. The campus is different. Notre Dame really tries to stick to tradition so it's a different campus but it's beautiful. The town was also cool. It's a smaller place and I think I want to play in a college town instead of a big city."
I asked him what he enjoyed. "Man, I got to walk through the tunnel today. I hit the "play like a champion" sign. You just can't find that anywhere. I went into the locker room, it's small but they are updating it. SO much tradition has come from that locker room."
I asked Kenny if the cold was too much. "No, not at all. It's was like 10 degrees and it isn't bad at all. The wind wasn't bad and it didn't bother me at all."
So where does ND sit? "Well, they sit by themselves because I have nothing to compare them to. I like it there and feel I fit in but I could like another place just as well. I like Notre Dame but I need to see some other schools first."
I asked Kenny if ND surprised him. "No, it was everything I expected and more. The recruits that were in there, I really got along with those guys well. I just have to see some more schools and I have a long way to go before I decide. I will take all my visits."

My thoughts
Notre Dame has struggled to land players from Florida. They usually like the visit and Notre Dame but the Irish tend to slide as the weeks go past. If a Florida player comes to Notre Dame, they usually have Notre Dame at the very top after the visit and they remain there until the end. If Notre Dame starts to slip on Kenny's list, I think he will eventually eliminate Notre Dame. I don't feel as confident about Kenny as I do the other three.

In other news, Prescott Burgess did not come in for the banquet. He was scratched at the last minute. I am not sure on the reason why but I will guess that he hadn't received the necessary test score to enroll at Notre Dame. That is purely a guess however but he didn't have a qualifying score last I had heard.

Also, I was able to reach Travis Thomas last night. Travis visited Boston College this weekend and the Eagles appear to be serious competition for Thomas. Travis has runningback coach Buzz Preston in for an in-home tonight. He said he would make a decision sometime this week. I still think the Irish will land Travis.

I also spoke briefly with Wesley Jefferson and LaBrose Hedgemon last night. Wesley has now scheduled a visit to Notre Dame on January 17th as well as Miami (12-13) and Maryland(12-20). Wesley told me that Ohio State and Penn State look to be his remaining two but he is not positive on that. LaBrose has scheduled a visit to Notre Dame on 1-24. He also has visits scheduled to North Carolina (1-10) and Auburn (1-17). I asked LaBrose if the rumors were true and Auburn is leading at this point. "Everyone says that but that is not true. I went to a couple of games there because I could go there. My schedule didn't allow for me to go see Notre Dame and North Carolina but I would have went there too if I could have made it. My visits will decide a leader and who I sign with. I am really open at this point." Top Stories