All Bundled Up

Tyler Gaffney had to wear some of the same clothes on Sunday, that he wore to Notre Dame's game against Syracuse the day before.

That's because, Tyler Gaffney bundled up in everything he packed to stay warm during freezing game-day temperatures on Saturday afternoon.

"I liked it, I didn't dislike it," Gaffney said of the cold temperatures and snow on the ground.

Gaffney, a 6-foot, 213-pound fullback from San Diego, was making an official visit to Notre Dame, to check out one of his three remaining finalists.

Prior to this weekend, Gaffney had seen snow a few times before. He had seen it in the mountains, and he saw it on the ground on his first trip to Notre Dame for a junior day back in February. On this trip, Gaffney was able to get more acquainted with the campus.

"It was good," Gaffney said. He came with his parents.

"I definitely could see myself playing there, but I think I'm going to take my other officials and kind of compare them because I've never done this before."

Gaffney will visit Stanford on Jan. 9th, and is looking to schedule a trip to USC before deciding.

Arriving early Friday morning, Gaffney met up with the Irish coaching staff and then academic advisors. He had dinner Friday night at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse with the staff, and was hosted by freshman quarterback Dayne Crist.

"He was just real up front," Gaffney said. "He was like this is what I like, this is what I don't like. He was a real cool guy. He's a California guy too. He was pretty up front. When I asked him a question, I knew I was getting a true answer and not a Notre Dame biased answer."

During his visit, Gaffney watched film with offensive coordinator Mike Haywood.

"He was showing me how they give, not Asaph (Schwapp), but the other fullback they have opportunities, and there is a lot of athleticism involved and not just being a big brute.

"The offense would be a good fit. They were saying I'd be their big back in short yardage and goal-line situations, and just a random back after that."

Gaffney is the primary ball carrier for undefeated Cathedral Catholic High. Through 10 games, he has posted ridiculous numbers, rushing for 2,012 yards and 42 touchdowns. He has had one seven-score game, and a few six-score games.

"I'm definitely happy with it," Gaffney said. "I started football later than most people. I didn't start playing running back until my sophomore year, and I knew I would get better and better. I was hoping for a better season than last year, and I kind of did that."

As a junior, Gaffney rushed for 1,600 yards and 23 touchdowns in helping lead Cathedral to the 2007 CIF-San Diego Section D-III title. He added 20 catches for 303 yards and five touchdowns.

A dual-sport star, Gaffney plans on playing baseball in college as well. He met with Irish coach Dave Schrage while in town.

"He was just letting me know I'm welcome," Gaffney said. Stanford and USC have said the same thing. "They hadn't seen much about me, but they're definitely open to me playing both sports if I can do it.

"I haven't seen much on them. Baseball is baseball."

Before leaving on Sunday, Gaffney got one-on-one time with head coach Charlie Weis.

"It was great," Gaffney stated. "He told me what he sees me doing. He was real honest and up front about everything I asked him about. He explained to me that the games, they just need to know how to finish because they were up over 10 points in three of the five games they lost.

"They're on their way up definitely."

Besides Crist and a few other guys on the team, Gaffney spent a lot of time with recruits Manti Te'o and Byron Moore, who were also in town on official visits. Te'o from Hawaii, and Moore from California, were also new to the cold temperatures.

"They were having fun," Gaffney said.

"I think we all kind of handled it the same," Gaffney added of the cold. "We all realized it was freezing but we didn't pay any attention to it."

Gaffney signed autographs for kids on gameday and said that his parents had a good time. The 24-23 loss to Syracuse didn't dampen the trip.

"It's just real energetic," Gaffney said of the environment. "It never dies down, winning, losing whenever. Everything about it was loud."

And cold.


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