Hinder's A High Priority

Future U.S. Army All-American quarterback Austin Hinder, has been keeping in regular touch with Notre Dame assistant coaches Tony Alford and Ron Powlus.

On Wednesday, the Steamboat Springs (Colo.) High standout bumped into the two of them while walking to gym class.

"It was perfect timing," Austin Hinder said.

Alford and Powlus were by the school to show Hinder that he's a high-priority Irish recruit in the class-of-2010. He is one of the first prospects to receive a visit from Notre Dame, since the staff just hit the road for spring evaluations at the start of this week.

"They seem pretty interested, and I'm really interested in Notre Dame also," Hinder said. "They're doing a really good job, that's for sure."

While NCAA recruiting rules didn't allow Alford and Powlus to speak with Hinder for long, they were able to visit with his head coach for quite awhile. Hinder was happy to meet with two guys he's been talking to and communicating with for the last two months.

"I talk to them on a weekly basis, and I feel comfortable talking with all their coaches," Hinder said. "Coach Alford, I love him. He's a fun guy to talk with, and so is (head) coach (Charlie) Weis and the quarterbacks coach, coach Powlus. It's fun and they have a good coaching staff, a great coaching staff actually."

The Irish staff thinks just as highly of Hinder.

As a junior, the 6-foot-5, 180-pound Hinder completed 67 percent of his passes for 1,228 yards and 16 touchdowns. He only threw four interceptions, and has since racked up scholarship offers from places like Alabama, Arizona, Florida State, California, Stanford, UCLA, Colorado, and of course Notre Dame.

Favorites are starting to emerge, and Hinder says eight-to-10 schools are beginning to standout for him. He doesn't want to go public with his list because he says things could still change, as many programs are visiting the high school in the coming weeks. However, four programs are no-brainer locks to make Hinder's first cut.

"Notre Dame, Cal, USC and UCLA," he said. The Trojans have yet to offer Hinder or any other quarterback in this year's recruiting class for that matter, but remain in regular touch as well.

When the Irish offered Hinder in early March, they quickly became a program that stood out to him. Alford, Powlus and Weis have done nothing to change that.

"They have a great coaching staff and the tradition at that school is beyond so many other schools, it's ridiculous," Hinder said. "That's probably the biggest thing."

Since then, Hinder's learned a few more things about Notre Dame.

"At first, I didn't know they didn't take a quarterback in last year's class," he said. "The great thing about that, is there is some distance. They got Dayne Crist who is a top-notch quarterback, and they didn't get one last year, so that would be some space in between. I want to go in and compete, but that's also nice to know."

Hinder catches up with Weis about once every week and a half.

"It's amazing actually," Hinder stated. "He knows so much about the game and he doesn't do anything to pressure me into committing, and he says the right things and we have normal conversations."

Hinder will likely hold off on making a college decision until taking a couple official visits in the early fall. He has already seen the campuses at Colorado, Colorado State, California, UCLA and Stanford. He is going back to Palo Alto and Berkley for camps this summer. He'd also like to get a better look at the two in-state programs again, as well as trips to LSU, Florida State and Notre Dame.

"It might me be this summer," Hinder said of South Bend. "If not, I know I'm taking an official visit. No question."

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