Irish eyeing California

After earlier concentrating on Midwest, Eastern and Southeast connections, new Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly has shifted his focus to California.

Since mid-June, Kelly has made offers or inquiries to nine Californians, among them some players either already committed to USC or highly coveted the Trojans.

Among those sought by Kelly are: wide receiver George Farmer of Gardena Serra, Greg Townsend of Beverly Hills, Max Wittek and Victor Blackwell of Santa Ana Mater Dei and Jason Gibson of Serra. Wittek, a quarterback, and Blackwell, a receiver, already have committed to USC.

Other Californians now being recruited by the Fighting Irish are wide receiver George Atkinson and cornerback Josh Atkinson of Livermore, defensive end Troy Niklas of Anaheim and running back Brendon Bigelow of Fresno.

Under former coach Charlie Weis, Notre Dame always made a strong California effort, but Kelly appeared to be ignoring the Golden State until he shifted gears in June. Top Stories