UT, N.D. Top Donald's List

Notre Dame football is back and — after beating the Vols in both the fall of 2004 and 2005 — the Fighting Irish are in Tennessee's backyard in the spring of 2006 looking to beat UT for the prospect many consider to be the best in the Volunteer State.

Chris Donald, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound linebacker from Huntingdon, confirmed to Inside Tennessee tonight that he has just received an offer from the Fighting Irish.

"Recruiting is going pretty good." he said. "I got an offer from Notre Dame yesterday so I'm pretty happy about that."

Donald is so happy about the offer that he has altered his finalists list and now has Notre Dame as his co-favorite along with Tennessee. Ths Irish have also recently offered Harrison Smith of Knoxville Catholic.

"Tennessee is in my top two with Notre Dame," Donald said when asked about his favorites. "Coach Matt Luke is recruiting me for Tennessee. I get along with him real well. Coach Fulmer came by my high school. I like him a lot, too."

Donald has been working out to get ready for a busy summer visiting campuses and taking part in camps.

"I'm working out and running on my own," he said. "I got a little tendentious in my knee but I'm working it out."

Donald's summer is going to be a whirlwind of unofficial visits. He's not sure of his entire schedule but says three schools are definites on his list.

"I'm going to camps at Tennessee, Notre Dame, Ole Miss and some more probably," he stated. "I'm going to visit a lot because I want to make my decision before the season starts."

Donald, who will be a four-year starter, put up some outstanding numbers with 120 tackles, 14 sacks, 32 tackles for losses, five forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and an interception. And that's only on defense. He also rushed for 1,673 yards, plus 287 receiving yards, for 1,960 yards in total offense with 27 touchdowns to pace the Mustangs to a 12-2 record and the Class-AA state semifinals.

"He's been our outside linebacker but we do a lot of things with him," said Mustang head coach Mike Mansfield. "We walk him up to the line, let him put his hand on the ground and be a rush type end. We move him around quite a bit and do different things with him. If you want a cover guy he's a cover guy, you need a pressure guy he can rush the passer. He's got tremendous instincts and he's athletic enough to be a heck of a strong safety. At our level he can play anywhere."

Donald, who is fully qualified, was reportedly timed at 4.47 in the 40 at UT last summer.

"We've had some success here and Chris has been a big part of that," said Mansfield. "Not only is he a heck of a high school football player, he's a heck of a kid too. He really keeps things in perspective. You know he's getting a lot of attention and stuff but he handles it really well. The kids like him and rally around him. He's just a top notch kid."

In a great year for prospects in Tennessee, Donald may be the best. We'll keep you advised as this one heats up over the summer. .

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