Taylor Bell on the Irish recruiting situation...
By obtaining oral commitments from defensive end Darius Fleming of St. Rita, linebacker Steve Filer of Mount Carmel and defensive lineman Sean Cwynar of Marian Central, according to recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CSTV, the Irish have demonstrated that they are "back in business as a force in Chicago and the Chicago Catholic League after a 17-year absence."
"Since 1990, when Notre Dame signed Bryant Young (Bloom), Oliver Gibson (Romeoville), Pete Bercich (Providence) and Brian Hamilton (St. Rita), all consensus All-Americans, they were content with losing kids to Illinois and Michigan. They didn't dominate the Chicago area as they had for years under coach Lou Holtz," Lemming said.
He credits Notre Dame's new-found success to coach Charlie Weis, who is proving himself to be one of the leading recruiters in the country; assistant coach Rob Ianello, the architect of the Irish recruiting plan; and new assistant Corwin Brown, a Julian and Michigan grad who has many contacts in the Chicago area.
Fleming, Filer and Cwynar are among eight top 100 prospects in a class that ranks No. 1 in the nation. Notre Dame has 19 commitments to date, including 16 in the top 200. Filer's cousin is former All-America running back Jerome Heavens, who starred at Notre Dame in the 1970s.
The class is so deep and talented that the Irish don't have room for highly touted lineman Garrett Goebel of Montini because they already have commitments from five of the best defensive linemen in the country.
But Notre Dame, which doesn't figure to field a nationally ranked squad this fall, still is looking for talent. Weis is in the mix for two of the top 12 players in the nation--defensive lineman Marcus Forston of Miami, Fla., and wide receiver Michael Floyd of St. Paul, Minn.
The Irish also are recruiting at least four other top 100 players--wide receiver Brice Butler of Norcross, Geo., running back Ryan Williams of Manassas, Va., offensive lineman Trevor Robinson of Elkhorn, Neb., and linebacker Etienne Sabino of Miami, Fla.
Robinson is an interesting case study. He already has committed to Nebraska but visited Notre Dame and Michigan last week.