Notre Dame has had more success recruiting the Cincinnati area under Charlie Weis than it had had under previous coaches. Matt James (6-foot-7, 285-pounds) is an important target for this staff and they'll be happy to hear that James has the Irish among his leaders.
"I have a pretty solid top-five," James said when asked about his recruitment. "I have a top-three that I'd say are all pretty even; Ohio State, Notre Dame and Cincinnati. I'm still looking at schools like Florida, Boston College and maybe Wisconsin.
When James weighs his options, he'll be comparing three programs that he is very familiar with.
"I'd say the three most popular schools in this area are Notre Dame, Ohio State and Cincinnati," James said. "I'd say I Notre Dame's their (football) tradition and their academic tradition. I know Kyle Rudolph so that helps. He really loves it up there. He likes everything about it. He went to grade school with me, but we ended up going to different high schools. He thinks it would be a really good fit for me.
"I think I've been up there three times. I went to the Pittsburgh game. I went to one of their spring practices, and the spring game. I like coach Verducci a lot. He seems pretty knowledgeable and I like him a lot. I thought that the offensive line played a lot better than the year before. Coach Verducci felt that they will be a lot more successful. I feel pretty confident that they'll do really well this year.
The home-state Buckeyes and hometown Bearcats will provide the Irish with stiff competition.
"Ohio State has been a very dominant program the last several years," James explained. "They always seem to go to a BCS bowl, or at least have the potential of going to one. I like the caliber of player that they put out every year. I like that it's pretty close to home as well.
"Cincinnati, I think they're a program on the rise. They went to their first BCS bowl last year. Looking at the competition that they play, things are going to go very well for the program the next couple years. I like the coaching staff a lot. My dad actually played for them and my brother and mom went there. They're kind of my favorite team to root for, because they're the local team."
Although James is familiar with his top programs, he doesn't have any immediate plans to make a decision.
"I don't have a certain date that I want to decide by or anything," James said. "I might take a couple more visits, but I really don't have anything planned right now. I'm pretty much undecided right now and when I make up my mind, I'll announce my decision. I really don't know when I'll have it decided by. I think I have a good idea about all the schools that I'm looking at right now. I'm sure there are some things I don't know, but I'm just trying to figure out where I feel comfortable."