November 8, 2006 // Recruiting

Nwankwo Commits to Notre Dame; Benn, Little to Announce Thursday

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(UHND.com) – Notre Dame picked up its 10th commitment of the year on Wednesday morning when Emeka Nwankwo, an offensive linemen prospect out of Florida, picked the Irish over the in-state Gators. Two other Notre Dame prospects, Greg Little and Arrelious Benn, will announce their decisions tomorrow.

Nwankwo (6’4”, 285), the second offensive line commitment of the year for the Irish along with Andrew Nuss, was a very nice pickup for Notre Dame. Offensive line is a position of need for a team that will have just two or three (depending on whether or not John Sullivan returns for a 5th year) upper classmen along the line next year, and Nwankwo is one of the better linemen in the country this year.

Rated as a four-star tackle by Scout.com, Nwankwo is a big prospect with surprising mobility and agility for an offensive linemen. He also gives the Irish some flexibility in that he could move over to the defensive side of the ball and play tackle and with no interior defensive line recruits so far this year and only one last year, Nwankwo’s flexibility is definitely a plus for this class.

Nwankwo had offers from Florida, Florida State, Aurburn, and Virginia among others, but picked the Irish over two of Florida’s big 3. Notre Dame has now received commitments from three offensive linemen from Florida in the last two years with Nwankwo joining Dan Wenger and Sam Young from last year’s class.

Greg Little Announcing Thursday at 11Am
North Carolina wide receiver/linebacker prospect Greg Little will be making his college decision known tomorrow at an 11 AM press conference where he will be honored for being named to the US Army All American Bowl.

Little was supposed to announce last month, but delayed his decision and instead stated only that he was down to North Carolina and Notre Dame. Uncertainty with North Carolina’s head coach played a role in the delay after John Bunting was informed he would not be retained after this year.

On Wednesday Butch Davis was rumored to be named head coach of the Tar Heels which made the timing of Little’s announcement a bit worrisome to some Notre Dame fans, but things still look very good for Notre Dame here. Wednesday night Davis’s agent issued a statement saying a deal was not yet official and wouldn’t be until next week at the earliest. Little visited Notre Dame this past weekend when the Irish beat up on the Tar Heels and it seems unlikely that a highly touted recruit would commit to a school without ever talking to the head coach.
Benn To Announce Thursday Night, Irish In or Out?
The nation’s #1 ranked wide receiver, Arrelious Benn, will also be making his announcement tomorrow, but things do not look nearly as good for the Irish with Benn as they do with Little.

Once considered a lock for Notre Dame, most recruiting services believe the Irish are completely out of the running for Benn with Illinois, Maryland, and Florida State being the finalists for Benn’s services. A recent report on Rivals.com quoted Benn as saying the Irish were still in the race, but his words were not too reassuring for Notre Dame fans.

Should Benn announce for Illinois, Maryland, or Florida State, it would end one of the more bizarre recruiting battles in recent Notre Dame recruiting history. Back in the spring most recruiting experts believed Benn was a virtual lock to join Jimmy Clausen with the Irish. Benn even visited with Clausen over the summer while on unofficial visits to USC and UCLA.

Since the summer, however, not much has been said by Benn favoring the Irish and lately it has appeared the Irish were out of the running. Despite Benn’s comments last week that Notre Dame was still in it, things don’t look good for the Irish here. Stranger things have happened, but at this point it looks like Notre Dame will go at best one for two tomorrow.

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