Recruiting recap

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One of the better ways to pull ourselves out of the USC hangover is to take a quick look at the recruits that came and visited over the weekend. As I mentioned before the game, there was an abundance of talent on campus, and from the sounds of it, the early returns are very good.

First some info on the commitment that Notre Dame snagged this weekend.

* Tai-ler Jones has to be a great get for Notre Dame fans. Originally committed to Stanford, but still taking official visits, Irish faithful had to feel like they had a good chance at swaying Jones once he saw campus on a game day, especially when you take into consideration that his father Andre Jones played for the 1988 National Championship Irish.

Turns out that hunch was correct. Right after Jones got home from the visit he decommitted to Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh and called up Notre Dame recruiting coordinator Rob Ianello.

“Awesome,” Jones told Irish Illustrated about Ianello’s reaction. “He said he can’t wait to get my application in and get me enrolled in January.”

The fact that Jones is an early enrollee has got to be more good news for Irish fans, as the ability to poach a recruit is much harder with him getting on campus after the holidays.

Another plus is the fact that Jones is immediately going to work for the Irish staff.

“I’m going to try and work on Seantrel and Louis Nix,” Jones said. “I spoke to both of them and they said that they enjoyed their visit a lot and had a lot of interest in the school. That’s a good base to have.”

* Other big name recruits had plenty of good things to say about the weekend as well.  Blue-chip safety Dietrich Riley, who is also being heavily courted by USC had such a good time this weekend that he’s going to come back again, this time on his own dime, so his mom can see Notre Dame.

“It was incredible,” Riley said. “It was better than I expected. I
loved it there. I want to go back but this time, take my mother with
me. There were so many great things about it but ironically, the thing
that probably stood out the most for me was the area itself.

“A
lot of college coaches have been telling me negative things about it,
saying Notre Dame was in the middle of nowhere but I really liked it.
It’s a family environment and reminds me a lot of my high school. The
people there were so kind and it’s just a first class place. Even the
girls there all dress professionally and you don’t see that at a lot of
other places.”

Surprise, surprise on the negative recruiting tactics, but it’s still great to see that Riley obviously enjoyed the visit, and it also looked like he formed a bond with fellow California recruit Josh Shaw. Those two would be great reloads for the ND secondary.

A few other names that I’ve been seeing that enjoyed the weekend:

* Seantrel Henderson wasn’t talking yet, but his dad talked to Irish Sports Daily, and he said all the right things about Notre Dame.

* Chris Martin spoke with Irish Illustrated, and gave a quote that must make Notre Dame fans feel better about their chances.

“I did learn that this team is a lot closer than what I expected to
being a national power like it used to be,” Martin said. “That was two
great football programs battling it out in a long-time rivalry. Nothing
more, nothing less, just a big-time rivalry game and a really good
game.”

It remains to be seen whether or not ND can withstand the heat schools like Florida and USC are putting on, but the visit came at a perfect time.

* Illinois wide receiver Kyle Prater, who is verbally committed to USC, opened the door a bit and now says that the Irish are in the running for him, though he’s still “committed” to the Trojans.

* Another Illinois wide receiver, Corey Cooper, is committed to the Illini, but with the SS Zook sinking, he’s taking a look at other schools. Cooper was on hand in South Bend, and was hosted on his visit by a graduate of his high school, Sergio Brown. Cooper is being recruited on both sides of the ball, and he’s going to make a decision on signing day… a sign that has to be considered a positive one for the Irish.  

There have been rumors swirling that there are a few other recruits very close to pulling the commitment trigger, but nothing has been announced just yet. Either way, it’s pretty easy to tell that the game’s final score didn’t do much to take away from the experience of the recruits on campus.