The Irish struck gold again in California when another talented, highly-acclaimed high school football player, wide receiver Shaquelle Evans, chose Charlie Weis’s Notre Dame Fighting Irish. EPSN ranks Evans as the third best wide receiver in the country. He announced for the Irish over USC, UCLA, Michigan, Colorado, California, Oregon, Ohio State, LSU, and others.
ESPN describes Evans: “Big, fast, and explosive are the three words that best describe Evans. He is a true difference-maker in the return game and moves like a smaller, quicker receiver in the open field. Has good size and has room on his frame to get even bigger. Shows an explosive surge off the ball and eats up a cushion quickly.
"Uses his body effectively to shield defenders from the ball. He isn't afraid to go over the middle and can catch in traffic. Has big, soft, strong hands. Can pull the ball away from defenders when fighting for it in the air. Can catch over his head and pluck on the run. He's a smooth and fluid route runner and shows some explosiveness out of his breaks. Possesses a good feel for finding soft spots in zone coverage.
"Shows good body control and balance. Can adjust to poorly thrown balls and is effective working the sideline. He's a vertical threat because of his size and speed. Has the wide wingspan and leaping ability to be a weapon on fade routes, especially in the red zone.”
Evans, who initially committed to USC, disclosed his reactions to his visit to Notre Dame for the Purdue game to Scout: “What made Notre Dame special to me was the fans. The fans were passionate and the students are supportive, they stand up the whole game carrying their team. Everybody was into the game. It was crazy to see that. A great college town. That helps out a lot when you have fans like that behind you.”
Evans lives seven miles from USC, but chose the Irish who are over 2100 miles away. What was Weis’ reaction when Evans called on Thursday night? “He said he can see great things at the school for me both academically and athletically. He said everyone was excited.”
Shaquelle joins Cierre Wood, the nation’s top ranked running back from Oxnard, and Marlon Pollard, a four star defensive back from San Bernadino in the Irish’s 2009 recruiting class. The Irish now have commitments from two of the top six high school football players in California, according to Rivals’ rankings. Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen and Dayne Crist were the top quarterbacks from California in 2007 and 2008. Joining Crist last year were fellow Californians Joseph Fauria and Anthony McDonald, whose father played for the Trojans.
In Notre Dame’s offensive skill positions, the only upperclassmen with significant playing time are WR David Grimes, a Senior, and RB James Aldridge, a Junior. The Irish returned 17 starters from last year’s squad and will return 17 starters next year. Evans will join a talented, young wide receiver corps of Golden Tate, Michael Floyd, and Duval Kumara. Jimmy Clausen has good reason to be excited.
LA Times video of Evans' announcement: http://www.latimes.com/video/?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=3112799