The common thought among college football fans continues to be that Notre Dame is the easiest school to recruit for. Because of the rich tradition and popularity of the school, it is assumed that the name sells itself to the best high school football players throughout the nation. Unfortunetly for the Irish though, this myth has been proven to be false. The Irish are beginning to find out that it isn't as easy as you think being Notre Dame.
Disapointments have come frequently to the Irish lately, missing out on several big targets. Although continuing to bring in good classes, missing out on the Defensive side of the ball has hurt them in the recent years. After decommitments from top recruits the past few years, including DE Justin Trattou and DT Omar Hunter (Florida), things weren't falling Notre Dame's way. After a 7-6 season and a slaughter of Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl, 49-6, Weis and his staff knew that they had to keep the momentum going and bring a top ten class. With 18 new commitments, they did just that.
LB Manti Te'o (6'2, 225): Te'o enters his freshman year at Notre Dame with extremely high expectations. Scouts believe Te'o has the frame already to play at the NFL level, and it will only be a matter of time before he wrecks havok on the Irish opponents in the backfield. He is already being projected to be slotted into a starting LB position and make an impact immediately. Before his time at Notre Dame runs out, Te'o will have made his mark in the record books.
RB/KR Cierre Wood (6'0, 192): Like Te'o, Wood has another highly touted prospect. The exciting thing is the versatility he will offer to the Irish this season. More than likely, Wood's biggest impact will be felt on the Special Teams because of his remarkable kick return skills. The time for Special Team touchdowns may again return because of this newcomer.
DT Tyler Stockton (6'1, 290): After enrolling early, Stockton has already gotten some reps in the trenches along with the upperclassmen. Although he may not win a starting spot this year, any servicable time he contributes will be greatly helpful to a questionable Defensive Line. With a few years under the supervision of new additions Defensive Line Coach Randy Hart (Washington) and Graduate Assistant Bryant Young (Former NFL Pro Bowler), Stockton is destined for success.
LS Jordan Cowart (6'2, 225): A long snapper? Really? You heard it right. Weis and his staff decided to erase that question mark of a position and hand out a scholarship to the top long snapper in the country. Many fans have questioned this decision, but it will pay off in the long run. Have you ever seen a team lose a game because of it's long snapper? I certaintly have.
WR Shaquelle Evans (6'0, 223): After the graduation of an underrated David Grimes, Evans will get an opportunity to win the No.3 Receiver job according to Weis. Evans was another highly ranked prospect, coming out of Inglewood (CA), and can give the Irish another deep-threat to go along with their dynamic duo of Golden Tate and Michael Floyd.
LB Zeke Motta (6'2, 207): Many are comparing Motta to Harrison Smith of last year's class. Not only does Motta resemble Smith physically, but his game also involves freakish athleticism. There will be no way Weis will be able to keep this athlete off the field, and don't be surprised if Motta serves a key role on this year's Special Teams.
LB Carlo Calabrese (6'2, 225): The New Jersey Defensive Player of the Year brings lots of intensity and physicality that many Irish fans will begin to love from the get go. Calabrese is a true hitter that many of the fans have been calling for more of in the recent years (Tom Zbikowski-like.) Look for Calabrese to make his presence felt on Special Teams hunting down the opponent's return men.
The Rest of the Class:
- DB EJ Banks (5'11, 182): After enrolling early to school, Banks suffered a set-back when he had to go into the operating room. Look for Banks to redshirt this year.
- OL Alex Bullard (6'3, 275): Building depth on the Offensive Line is a work in progress for the Irish, and Bullard knows this. After a year in the weight room, he could make a push for some playing time in 2010 as a backup.
- TE/WR Tyler Eifert (6'6, 220): A 'tweener as Weis described him, Eifert is a big boy. With the recent news of Joseph Fauria's transfer to UCLA, whether to redshirt Eifert will decide solely on the performance of the returning Tight Ends on the roster. If he is needed, Eifert will get the call over Jake Golic.
- LB Dan Fox (6'4, 220): Another strong and athletic linebacker added to the roster. Fox will need a year to bulk up and work on his game in order to get ready for the next level.
- TE Jake Golic (6'4, 220): Yes, another Golic son. Jake followed in his father (Mike) and brother's (Mike, Jr.) footsteps and committed to the Fighting Irish. Golic will need atleast a year or two before getting his chance.
- OL Zach Martin (6'5, 270): An UnderArmour All-American, Martin is a great prospect for the line in the future. Like the other freshman Offensive Linemen however, Martin will need a year in the weight room in order to get ready for the college game.
- RB Theo Riddick (5'10, 185): Riddick may or not redshirt, depending on his performance in Fall Camp. He has all the athletic talent in the world, but where will the staff find time for him on the field? If its not there, look for Riddick to preserve that extra year of eligibility.
- K Nick Tausch (6'1, 180): Irish fans: cross your fingers that Tausch redshirts. If he sees the field, it means that Brandon Walker is having another inconsistent season.
- WR Roby Toma (5'9, 160): Probably the most unknown freshman in the group. Who is Toma? Manti Te'o's best friend, of course. But many do not know that Toma can actually play some football himself. He is one of the freshmen who you can definetly count on to redshirt, simply due to his size.
- K Ben Turk (6'0, 190): Turk was one of the most touted punters in the country and finds himself waiting behind Senior Eric Maust. He has the leg, but he will have to wait to show it.. hopefully.
- OL Chris Watt (6'3, 280): If it weren't for a recently reported injury, Watt would have found his way onto my impact list. If he is injured, look for Watt to spend this year in the weight room, and trying to find his way into the starting rotation in 2010.