Something Crazy Did Happen

The Notre Dame coaching staff continues to find new targets for the 2010 recruiting class. The latest is athlete Derek Roback from Waverly High School (Ohio). Roback was not only familiar with Brian Kelly and his staff while they were at Cincinnati, but he also made an unofficial visit to Notre Dame when Charlie Weis was the head coach.

Notre Dame recruiting fans may not be familiar with Derek Roback (6-foot-2, 221-pounds), but that doesn't mean that Brian Kelly wasn't aware of Roback. While at Cincinnati, Kelly recruited Roback, and now that he's at Notre Dame, Kelly would like Derek to join him.

"When they were at Cincinnati I worked out somewhere and they were there," Roback said. "I went to their camp later that summer. I didn't hear much from them after that, but then they got in touch with my coach and my parents, and wanted me to come up form spring ball. I think it was around Thanksgiving break when they offered me. At that point, they were recruiting me just to play quarterback.

"When they left Cincinnati coach Hinton called and told me that I might hear from him in the future or I might not, because at that time he didn't know if he'd have a job offer. I hadn't heard from until yesterday until my coach called me and told me that I had an offer from Notre Dame. Now I'm going up on an official visit this weekend."

Although Kelly recruited Roback as a quarterback at Cincinnati, at Notre Dame he's recruiting Derek as an athlete.

"I talked to coach Hinton and coach Kelly," he said. "Coach Hinton came down (Wednesday), and said that they are offering me as an athlete and not just as a quarterback. Coach Hinton said that I could end up at tight end, outside linebacker, quarterback or safety. He just said that they'd try to get me on the field somewhere."

"Coach Kelly likes to recruit big athletes and once they get you on campus, he figures out where you can play after that. I think I definitely fit that mold. I definitely think that I'm versatile. If I can't play one position, I can play somewhere else. I can help the team in some way. I think that's one of my biggest assets; I can be moved around and do whatever needs to be done.

"Right now I don't have a preference what I play," Derek explained. "I just want to play. I love football. I love doing everything. I played receiver my freshman and sophomore year. My junior and senior year I played quarterback. I probably have equal time at both and I can't rate one high than the other. I played safety my first two years. I didn't play as much when I was a junior and then I played even less safety this year, because I got injured." .

At this time Roback is currently committed to Toledo, but that could change this weekend.

"I committed to Toledo in August," Roback said. "When Cincinnati came in, when coach Kelly was there, I definitely thought about looking around. It was really intriguing, No. 5 team in the country with coach Kelly, then he left I really thought it was over. With this Notre Dame offer, it's something that is really, really exciting. I'm very, very surprised. I've been telling people, that I'm going to Toledo unless something crazy happens, unless coach Kelly wants me to come to Notre Dame. I never thought it would happen, but it has.

"It would be tough (to turn Notre Dame down). It would be very tough. I know when I get there and I meet the coaches and I meet the players, once that day is over, on Sunday I know that I'll know what is right for me. I'm going to think that over and make the decision quickly.

"I came up my junior season for the Pitt game when Charlie Weis was there," he said. "It was pretty amazing. The atmosphere was insane. I went to the ‘Irish Walk' and that was pretty cool. I liked it big-time."


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