What A Difference A Year Makes

Notre Dame has recruited the state of North Carolina very well over the past several years and they hope to continue their fortunes with this recruiting class. Last year the Irish landed two of the state's top prospects and they're hoping defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan from Asheville High School (N.C.) will follow in their footsteps in 2011.

Notre Dame landed Prince Shembo and Kendall Moore from North Carolina in the 2010 recruiting class and the Irish hope they'll be just as successful in their pursuit of Jeoffrey Pagan (6-foot-3, 255-pounds) in 2011.

"I'm glad they offered me," Pagan said. "I really just heard from the new staff, they kind of just popped up. I think they got in touch with one of my assistant coaches, but I'm not sure how they found out about me. I hear that they're really good academically. I'd like to get down there and see if I fit in with their program.

"It's a cool school. I saw the movie Rudy. I thought it was a really good school with a lot of tradition. That plays a big role in me picking a school, not just the movie, but their success with their players and their academics. I just need to research them further and check out the school.

Pagan hasn't seen the Notre Dame campus, but he'd like to get that chance the chance to do so this summer, they will be battling 24 other schools for his time.

"I'm wide open to anything and everything," he said. " I have offers from Notre Dame, Florida, Alabama, USC, Tennessee, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Clemson, that's a few.

"Coaches have said that they like my versatility. I can drop back in coverage. I can play on the line and I can even play a standup backer. Mainly they say that I can fit into their defensive schemes and that I could be a successful player in their defense."

The fact that Pagan is playing defense at this time is almost as much of a surprise as his 24 scholarship offers.

"This time last year I was playing JV football at A.C. Reynolds," Pagan explained. "At that time I was playing wide receiver and I didn't even play defense. I talked to a few people so I could change schools, so I could get an opportunity to play college football. I transferred (to Asheville) still thinking I'd be a wide receiver with the hope that I could go on and play wide receiver in college.

"I ended up pulling my groin, so I lost some of my speed. My new coach said that he still wanted me to touch the ball, so he put me at tight end. Shortly after that he said that they wanted to see how I'd do at defensive end. I made the change and at the snap of a finger I started getting all this attention and all these scholarships, it came all of a sudden and I'm blessed. Playing defense seemed to come natural. It was something that was innate."

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