I was shocked when Morgan Park's Demetrius Jones left Notre Dame. The way Notre Dame is playing, he could be back in the mix in a week or two. But, football-wise, he made a great decision. he will be the starting quarterback at Northern Illinois on the day he becomes eligible. If he had opted to go elsewhere, he would have had to battle for a job. Sure, he didn't look good in his opening game against Georgia Tech--but he has great talent. He could have been a major player at Notre Dame. He will be at NIU.
What has happened at Notre Dame? Vinny Cerrato, who coached at Notre Dame for nine years and was Lou Holtz' chief recruiter, said it comes down to one of three things: Notre Dame doesn't have talent, the coaches aren't teaching or developing the players on the football field or they are not developing them in terms of strength and speed.
"Every year, coach Holtz' seniors played the best of their career. They played better each year. They improved each year," said Cerrato, now personnel director of the Washington Redskins. "We had all three phases. The coaches did a great job teaching. Today, something is lacking."
The offensive line is in for considerable criticism, especially after freshman quarterback Jimmy Clausen was sacked nine times against Michigan. He simply didn't have enough time to set up in the pocket to throw passes. It was a massacre.
Well, the offensive line boasts several high school All-Americans, players who were recruited by every major program from USC to Florida. Sam Young was the No. 1 offensive lineman in the country two years ago. Five years ago, Neil Sullivan was the No. 1 center in the nation. Dan Wenger turned down Florida for Notre Dame. Matt Carufel was nationally recruited. None of these guys were sleepers. All of them were recruited nationally. You do the math.
I think it's only a matter of time before these young and inexperienced players develop, youngsters like running backs Robert Hughes, James Aldridge and Armando Allen. They were three of the most recruiting running backs in the country over the last two years.
Meanwhile, Arthur Brown of Wichita, Kan., the nation's top defensive player and my choice as the No. 4 prospect in the country, has dropped four schools--Notre Dame, Florida State, Texas A&M and Mississippi. He is leaning to Oklahoma, Nebraska, USC, North Carolina and Miami (Fla.). He is a 6-2, 218-pound linebacker with 4.4 speed who runs faster than most backs and hits like a defensive lineman.
Michigan State got its biggest recruit in John Adams, a 6-0, 180-pound defensive back from Akron, Ohio, who has 4.37 speed. The Spartans got him away from Illinois, Pittsburgh, Iowa and Syracuse.
Davin Meggett, the son of former NFL player Dave Meggett, committed to Maryland. When I saw him in February, the 5-8, 203-pound running back from Clinton, Maryland, didn't have any offers. Maryland didn't like him early, then offered. He chose Maryland over Illinois, Rutgers and Virginia.