Waiting For The Call

Back in 1985, Tim Grunhard hoped that every time the phone rang, it was Notre Dame on the other line, ready to offer him a scholarship.

Now the head football coach at Bishop Miege High (Shawnee, Kansas), Grunhard, a former Notre Dame offensive lineman and Pro Bowler for the Kansas City Chiefs, is hoping the same thing on behalf of one of his players.

Justin McCay.

The Irish are showing a lot of interest in the 6-foot-4, 200-pound class-of-2010 receiver prospect.

"Charlie (Weis) has expressed interest, and we're waiting for Charlie to make a call and offer in person," Grunhard said. "But Notre Dame has expressed a high interest in Justin.

"That's kind of where we sit."

McCay is sitting on quite a few scholarship offers already, from places like Florida, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State and Oregon.

"I would really like Justin to go to Notre Dame," Grunhard began. He played for the Irish from 1986 through 1989, helping Notre Dame win a National Championship in 88. "I had a great experience there.

"I believe Justin can help out the school. Selfishly, I hope (Weis) does decide to offer Justin, and Justin decides to go there. But Justin has big decisions to make. When Urban Meyer calls from Florida, and Kansas and Missouri have called, you have a lot of good options.

"When I was being recruited, when Notre Dame called me, you jump at it. That's how it was. That's what we need to get back to. That's what we need to strive to as a program, alumni base, and school. When Notre Dame calls, that's the number one offer. We're not there right now. There is a lot of different options people are looking at. I'd a never thought of going to a Kansas or a Missouri over Notre Dame.

"I believe Charlie can do that, get us back there, but these kids don't remember what happened in the 80s, 70s or 60s, they barely remember what happened last week."

McCay does indeed remember attending camp at Notre Dame two years ago, and the Irish program is one he is very much interested in hearing more from early in the recruiting process.

"Tradition, you can't beat tradition," McCay said.

"I like them. I just like them. I don't really have a reason. I just like Notre Dame. Since I was a kid I've been liking them."

Grunhard now enjoys giving back to the game of football. He also teaches theology at the high school, and every summer he works the Notre Dame camp. Two years ago he brought McCay with him.

"It was nice," McCay said. "It wasn't too spread out. Everything is in one place kind of."

"He had a great time, a great experience," Grunhard added. "He really thinks it's a great place. He liked the spiritual side of it, and the academic side of it. He is more dimensional than just a football player. He was impressed with The Grotto, and the Basilica where I was married in, and I showed him the classrooms, and I think he might've been more impressed with that stuff than the football side of things."

McCay's play on Friday nights has separated him from other players in his class.

"One out of every five times he touched the ball, he scored a touchdown this year," Grunhard said. "Whether it's returning punts or returning kicks, or running or receiving, he scored, so that's the kind of the explosive guy he is.

"I hate to compare him to Plaxico Burress after all the problems he's had, but that's the guy he is most compared to. He is the kind of guy, when the ball gets in his hands, he makes things happen. His YAC, his yards after catch, is unbelievable. He's a big guy. He doesn't look as fast, but he's a legit 4.5 guy. You can see it in the film. Every time a college person comes in, I just have to put on the first four or five plays."

McCay hasn't put much thought into recruiting, and is taking the process slow. He took unofficial visits to Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri this past fall.

"I'm going to just wait and see where I go, and see the pros and cons about each school, before I start making early judgments," McCay explained.

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