Irish Working on Grace

Brian Kelly and his staff know the Cincinnati area very well and it's showing in early their recruiting efforts for the 2011 class. One of the first scholarship offers they extended was to linebacker Jarrett Grace of Colerain High School (Cincinnati, Ohio), and it appears that the Irish will be among his leaders until the end.

Jarrett Grace (6-foot-4, 230-pounds) is one of the top recruiting targets for the new Notre Dame coaching staff and he'll get a look at the Notre Dame campus in a couple weeks, but it won't be his first trip to South Bend.

"I visited Notre Dame last fall when they played USC," Grace said. "I had a good visit, but that was when coach Weis was still there. Coach Kelly was recruiting me at Cincinnati and I was getting a big interest in him. Now that he's at Notre Dame, my interest in Notre Dame has just gone up.

"Right now, I'm being recruited by coach Hinton, and I talk to him every once in awhile. I'm going up there March 20 to check things out with coach Kelly's new staff. I'm really interested in Notre Dame. I like everything they having going on. Coach Kelly is a great coach. Along with football, which is going to improve, they have great academics. It's a prestigious school, so I think Notre Dame would be a great place to play.

"I'd say that the biggest thing that draws me to Notre Dame is the religion aspect," he said. "I'm a Catholic and to be able to have the aspect of my life fulfilled would be a tremendous thing, because first and foremost that is the most important thing for me in my life."

Playing for a coaching staff that he is comfortable with is also high on Grace's priority list. He wants to get to know the new members of coach Kelly's staff, but he already confident that they will be able to point Notre Dame in the right direction.

"They just do a tremendous job," Jarrett said of Brian Kelly and his staff. "They really got things turned around and got the city of Cincinnati coming out and supporting the team. I don't think they'll have any trouble doing the same thing at Notre Dame, and I think they'll get the ball rolling up there.

"Notre Dame already has a good offense and I think the offense will just keep getting better. I think with the defensive coaches they have, that the defense will get better too."

Grace is sitting on 12 scholarship offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Boston College, Stanford, Northwestern, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan State, North Carolina State, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. He's also drawing strong interest from Ohio State and Alabama.

"I don't have a school or a group over the rest, but I can say that I'm going to consider Notre Dame down to the end," Jarrett said. "I really do have a sincere interest in what they have there. I'm very interested in Notre Dame.

"For this spring and this summer, I plan on taking a lot of unofficial visits, hopefully getting out to every single school that has offered me. I may do some camps, so I can get time with some of the coaches and players, so I can get a better feel for things. I'm pretty sure I'll take all five of my official visits, just so I can make the best decision. I'll probably have a final decision during my season or just after my season." Top Stories