January 10, 2005 // Recruiting

Turkovich, Duncan first Commits of Weis Era

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Notre Dame, Ind (UHND) — The first big recruiting weekend of the Charlie Weis era at Notre Dame has resulted in a pair of commitments from two offensive linemen — Paul Duncan (6-6, 285) and Michael Turkovich (6-7, 255). The two linemen give Notre Dame their first offensive line commitments in this class.

Weis started the last month of recruiting with a bang for the Irish by getting Duncan and Turkovich to commit this weekend. Notre Dame has had trouble in past years with offensive line recruiting. Willingham’s staff was able to land some good talent, but numbers were always a problem with Notre Dame missing out on many of their top targets.

Duncan and Turkovich give Notre Dame some momentum heading into the stretch run in recruiting. Duncan is a 4 star recruit from theScout.com and ranked as the #20 offensive linemen in the country. He had offers from LSU and Oklahoma as well as Duke and UCLA so Notre Dame beat out some good competition for his commitment.

The commit from the weekend is Michael Turkovich did not receive an offer from the old regime, but received one shortly after Weis took over. He had offers from LSU, Wisconsin, and Boston College as well as Notre Dame. Weis closed fast with Turkovich which is a good indication that Weis has the ability to be a very good recruiter.

While Notre Dame got 2 verbals this weekend, they lost out on two other prospects in Montario Hardesty and James Drey. Hardesty did not make his scheduled trip to Notre Dame this weekend and basically eliminated them from consideration while Dray committed to Stanford on his official visit this weekend. Dray was supposed to visit Notre Dame later this month, but has decided on Stanford.

Other prospects who did make it to Notre Dame this weekend included DJ Hord, Ray Herring, David Grimes, Asaph Schwapp, Patrick Kuntz, David Bruton, Kevin Washington, Rafael Eubanks, David Bruton, and Joey Hiben,

Early reports indicate that Tuckovich and Duncan might not be the only commitments to come out of this weekend. Hord is expected to announce at the All American Bowl this coming weekend and the Irish are right in the thick of the race for his signature. Hord could be the first big name skill position player for Weis and the new staff.

Notre Dame is also very much in the race for Ray Herring and Patrick Kuntz. Both players would be outstanding additions to this class and commitments from them would give the Irish some more momentum.

Rafael Eubanks is currently committed to Iowa, but still visited Notre Dame. Getting Eubanks from Iowa would be a huge accomplishment for Weis and staff. Eubanks had Notre Dame at the top of his list before Willingham was fired, but committed after Willingham was let go. Weis and offensive line coach John Latina have their work cut out for them, but there is still a chance they can land him.

All in all it was an excellent recruiting weekend for Notre Dame. If Notre Dame can get Kuntz, Hord, and Herring as well from this weekend it would give them a shot in the rankings and really help salvage this class. Hord would be huge because he wants to announce during the All American Bowl — having a top ranked skill position commit to Notre Dame on national TV at that game would be a good sign that Notre Dame will be major player in recruiting once again.

Closing the deal on these other visitors this weekend will be vital to having a successful year this year. There are not many numbers left out there for the Irish with the list of prospects diminishing. There is a little margin for error down the stretch, but I have a lot of faith in Weis and his staff that they will get the job done.

It’s going to be a wild ride this last month of recruiting and if Weis can get a top 20 class it would be a major accomplishment at this point. There’s 24 days until Signing Day and Notre Dame will need every one of them to bring in a good class.

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