USC Weekend Recruiting Roundup

There was a ton of talent from the Class of 2010 on hand for Notre Dame’s heartbreaking loss to USC this weekend.  Despite the tough loss for the Irish the big game atmosphere and thrilling game seems to have paid off on the recruiting trail for Notre Dame.  Here’s a quick roundup of all of the news regarding some of the visitors who were on hand this weekend.

Tai-ler Jones, son of former Notre Dame defensive lineman Andre Jones, committed to the Irish giving Notre Dame 16 verbal commitments on the season.  For a full recap of his commitment along with some video of him, check out our post from earlier tonight.  To briefly recap though, Jones is a four star wide receiver who had previously been committed to Stanford and plans on enrolling at the mid-term in January.  Jones joins Bennett Jackson and Daniel Smith as wide receiver commitments in this class.

Another player who came to Notre Dame this weekend despite being committed elsewhere was Corey Cooper.  Cooper, a wide receiver/safety from Chicago, is currently committed to Illinois, but is strongly considering Notre Dame after his visit this weekend according to Bill Kuerlic.

“It went well,” Cooper said. “He told me how he planned to use me. He said I could come in and get on the field on either offense or defense. I could play wide receiver or safety.”

However, Cooper was not ready to follow the lead of Jones, at least at this point. He still plans to make official visits to Illinois (Oct. 30), Arizona (Nov. 21) and Tennessee (not scheduled yet).

“I’m still committed to Illinois,” Cooper said. “But I’m definitely considering Notre Dame. I’ll still take the rest of my visits.”

Anoter safety recruit, Dietrich Riley, also had a great time on his visit and is even planning on coming back to Notre Dame again this year on an unofficial visit.   And if Riley coming back for another visit isn’t promising enough, he said that got along really well with cornerback recruit Josh Shaw during the trip and the two discussed going to school together.

“It was cool having Josh (Shaw) there because we’ve talked a lot about going to college together. We both loved the visit and can easily see ourselves at Notre Dame together. We all got along great with the players on the team and it was cool to see Dayne (Crist) and some other Cali players.

“Dayne was supposed to host me, but he had family in town so Robby Toma was my host. He was cool and showed me a good time. I’ve had two great trips and plan to take my other three but right now, Notre Dame is definitely high up on my list. I wasn’t ready to come home and I’m looking forward to going back with my mom later in the year and she already told she’s very interested in seeing the place for herself.”

Running back recruit Jordon James came away very impressed with the Irish as well.  He told Greg Biggins that he is considering Notre Dame more than ever after his visit.

“In fact, I would say following the visit, I’m considering Notre Dame a lot more than I ever was before. My eyes were definitely opened up to a lot of things there. At Notre Dame, it’s not just about football, it’s about life after football and the support the students have really prepares them for after they graduate and that’s important to me.”

There were plenty of other highly touted prospects on campus this weekend as well.  Kyle Prater (WR), Chris Martin (DE), Louis Nix (DT), Lamarcus Joyner (CB), and Seantrel Henderson are all five star quality recruits who visited either officially or unofficially this weekend.  Nix was making an unofficial visit since he had already visiting officially and there was some hope that the Irish could get a commitment out of him this weekend, but as of now he is still considered a soft commitment to Miami.

If Notre Dame can close of some of these elite prospects – Henderson, Martin (who is still considered a Notre Dame commit), Nix, and Prater specifically – the talent gap that still exists between Notre Dame and Southern Cal will shrink some more.  Martin and Nix are particularly important recruits since Saturday’s game really showcased how much more talent USC has along its defensive line than Notre Dame.

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  1. ND has 3 achilles (all 3 definitely have an impact on the other), and I don’t believe any of them are caused by lack of talent:

    1.Tackling… Tackling… Tackling… If the defense made the simple tackles 90% of the time (those that they have clean opportunities to make), the defense would spend considerably more time on the side line instead of starting a new set of downs.

    2.Play Calling… I won’t comment on CW’s offensive Genius (or NOT). What I will say is ND is to predictable on offensive. Consistently very good teams win the numbers game against a defense. On Running plays, you split the field in half and you have one more blocker on the attended running side then there is tackler. In the passing game, if they play a soft two deep zone you attack the middle 10-15 yards a pop. If it is tight man to man with saftey help you run slants/crossing patterns, No saftey help you attack deep if you are more talented (which ND has shown for the most part) but everyone caught on to this in the second half of the NC game last year. And when you have a dominating Tight end, he needs to be a weapon more than a blocker (btw – if you ever look at the last 3 plays in the USC game again, the defense alignment told the offense that Mike Ragone was the player who was going to be the best Scoring opportunity right in the middle of the field (15 yard pass at most), everyone in the stadium, watching on TV, and on the ND and SC sideline new the Jump ball fade was coming (please excuse the recap). Lastly on play calling, yes your objective is to score, but it is also to protect your defense. When you gain 6-8 yards on 1st down, and start calling plays that are high in difficulty to execute on 2nd/3rd downs, and don’t convert to get another set of downs and have to punt, it is a double edge sword. It stresses the defense (and does them an injustice) and lets your opponents defense of the hook, and spells trouble (games having to be won at the end of the 4th quarter).

    3. Urgency throughout the game (the lack of it), until the last quarter (which plagues the majority of college teams). I think this exist in all sports today, the mentality that there is always another quarter, minute, second. This is NOT the NFL, and and that way of thinking in COLLEGE gets you an 8-4 or 9-3 record. Which might be o.k. if there was a playoff, BUT there is NOT. Teams that score 42+ points a game usually don’t lack urgency, because you can’t and score that many points. College kids play with emotion, and this can work to your advantage or disadvantage. One thing is for sure, most teams will fold when down by big numbers early (ND shows that they are NOT one of these teams this year). But one thing is for sure, if they played with 4qtrs of urgency, these games would NOT all come down to the end every week. Take NOTE of that.

  2. About CW recruiting. Yes he is getting some great 4-5 star players to come to ND. But hey have all been more or less offesive players. I see great promise in Teo, but as a whole we need more talent on D side of the ball. I see people blaming Harrison, and I can’t say there is not merrit to the complaints, but to say our loses are do to a saftey not playing as good as he should be would be wrong. I painfully saw the issue being that we could not preasure the QB near enough. We stacked the line with our LBers, rushed 7-8 players at him. And rarely got pressure on him. Sure it did a great job most of the time stopping the run but the QB had all day to pass the ball. Was like they were pass the pigskin out in the front yard. I personally would have hated played corner or safety in that game. It is too hard to cover ever inch of the field. If you can’t get real pressure off your front 4, and you are luckly to get preasure from your lbers/corners that is sad when you are rushing so many in. Could this be a learning curve to a new system, might be. But odds are in favor of 7-8 people being able to get past 5-7 players protecting the QB, this was not the case. Can’t Blame coaching on that. If we had one solid d -line that caused chaos up front, where teams had to throw double teams to slow him down you would see a different Qb throwing the ball last game.
    Now with the lack of preasure issue being covered, our corners and saftey positions are lacking the game breaking players, they are not breaking up enough passes and you will rarely see an interception even when the ball hits the D-back in the hands. If they don’t have the skills to defend the pass they should at least be able to play contain d. But this too seems to be an issue. They are often getting burnt, juked out of their shorts, biting on fake run plays and pump fakes. Personally in my opinon, this is result of poor coaching. This should be something pounded into the heads of every d-back, don’t let your man by you.
    Last comment in this lengthy post about the D, our tackling has been horrible, I know the runners at USC were good, but seriously. Some special attention needs to be made on how to tackle.
    There are many issues I see on the team, O-line is looking better, but still let preasure in with only a 4 man rush last game. Wild cat needs to go, give the QB the ball, and play the game like our 2 minute drill, we seem to be very effective when we are rushing the clock. Clock management means jack if we are losing or always in the position that we need to stage a comeback. Score fast make the other team have to score to win, more likely that a young inexperienced QB will make errors. I love ND with all my heart but lots of room for improvement. First step get rid of CW.

  3. Well I already found your site and couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it!
    Your favorite Music: “Fight songs of the ACC”???
    Why don’t you just take a sharpie and write DORK across your forehead.
    How About the Virgina Tech fight song? You could hum a few bars while you do the Hokie Pokie, and turn your self around.

    1. I agree and disagree…(yes its possible)…What we need is a proven communicator! Charlie is still living in the NFL! Finding the right person that handle the pressure and NOT pass that pressure onto the players is important, Charlie large EGO and overall attitude of being the smartest man in the room has gotten very old quickly…It doesn’t matter if it is the NFL or College the right attributes in a coach have to be found to match the size of this position!

  4. CW is recruiting better than we have in the last ten years. when looking at the past 3 recruiting classes, we have had some top recruits, clausen, crist, floyd, and tate were all considered top-rated at their position, along with teo and gary gray among others. All in all, about 11 high 4 star to 5 star athletes. However, USC had 21 similarly rated players in the same time period and Florida had 19. While these rankings are imperfect predictors of future success, the numbers that USC and FLorida send to the NFL directly correlates with the amount of highly touted recruits they pull in.
    People bitching about the overall talent level are right, we don’t have the same caliber of talent at many positions, but we do have just as good, if not better talent at other positions. Ultimately, it is a team game and until we consistently pull the best recruits at all positions, the parity will not be there.
    On a side note, i am irritated by the flaw in many people’s argument regarding CW. I hear people complain that he doesn’t know how to coach/can’t get the best out of his players, yet everyone thought usc was WAY more talented and yet we almost pulled it off. its either we have the talent and he sucks at coaching, or we dont’ have the talent in which case we are probably sitting where we should at 4-2. You can’t have it both ways!

  5. In a way i wonder if it really matters. We’ve had some top flight recruiting classes the past few years, in the top ten a few times if im not mistaken. Unfortunately we havent finished anywhere near the top ten despite this talent. Is it due to coaching up the players? Were the recruits rated wrong? Were they overrated? Do recruiting classes have any relevance to success on the field? Well maybe its a little bit of everything. The fact remains we need to get these recruiting classes to perform the way the were rated. In my opinion all the high hopes i had for a few of our past recruits have been totally smashed. Teams with less highly rated recruiting classes nowhere near ours are consistenly hanging with us in games and beating us.

  6. The big issue with the defense in the beginning of the year was not being able to stop the run. They worked on stopping the run which has shown improvment but have forgot about the pass. The corners are not playing up to their potential which falls squarely on the shoulders of Corwin Brown. These corners need to step up. The LB core is young and it will take time to develop. The d-line has shown improvement and is also young. We will see how the last half of the year plays out. I think this defense can still get better. I agree with your scav that we need to stick with a philosophy.

  7. I’ve been thinking about this defense and was wondering why they seem to be going backwards. It could be that the system keeps changing or there are too many chefs in the kitchen.

    However, I think it boils down to a lack of confidence and not having that one player that can lead them. The defense reminds me a lot of the offense last year. Showed some potential, but just couldn’t get it done when they had to. Now, the offense has players with skill, experience, and confidence. They also have a player they can rally around.

    I don’t see the same thing on defense, but I think it’s coming. I think they are starting to get some studs on defense, they are just young and inexperienced. I think they have a leader emerging in Manti. They just need some confidence that good things are going to happen. I know people are saying the rest of the schedule is “soft”, but I think it can provide a place for this defense to gain confidence in the new system. Remember, they went from a 3-4 to a 4-3 philosophy, so I’m sure there are changes in the way they play. I think the 5-star DE Martin will come if we lay off Weis. If we go 9-3 or 10-2 the rest of the way, I think we will get some other surprises as well.

    I’m hoping that this year will play out like 05 and 06 with a BCS Bowl or at least a New Years Bowl and not like last year.

    1. I agree. There are a few studs that show a lot of promise. And a few others that have their shining moments. Something just haven’t quite clicked yet. But it feels at times like it is all ready to fall into place. Times like the big goal line stands, and then that pick at the end of the game. Like all of the talent is there, but they only have moments that they are playing to their true potential. But once it clicks, it could develop into something sustaining pretty quickly.

  8. Safety has to be the most responsible (defensive) postion on the field, allowing receivers to get behind you is unacceptable. It is the basic function of the safety and I for the life of me can’t understand why HS is allowing this…or the coaches are not calling him out on this. Maybe that is why Weis and company have extended offers to so many safties (9 total). The guy I really want is Riley- big, fast, and smart (however that is what I said about HS;0( ). He loved his trip out to South Bend and is coming back again with his mom…looking good!?

    1. I’ve liked him too. I like shaw at corner too. The talk of them discussing going to school together looked good to me. 2 big strong, fast guys added to the secondary.

  9. I agree shazamrock presure always bust pipes but even with no pressure n someone actually playin safety we would have still pulled it out and I think we would b undefeated right now with good safety play but I do agree with you that with pressure it can negate the mistakes that are being made by the safeties

  10. Am I crazy?!?…everyone is talking about the talent gap between ND and USC is shrinking, BUT USC had nine new starters on defense and four including the QB on offense and came into South Bend and dominated the game! I know the final score was close but the game was out of hand till a major shift in momentum occurred–penalties & turnovers were the fuel, and it was a fantastic effort by the team but I still feel if you review a tape of the game, the amount of talent on the USC side of the field was incredible! Sorry Charlie but lets make a drive to bring in GRUDEN! Charisma along with a Super bowl ring as the HEAD COACH will put ND back where we belong!

    1. How do you know Gruden can recruit. He won with Tony Dungy’s players and now he is an analyst on ESPN. I realize people are thinking “Pete Carrol did it at USC so why not Gruden at ND”? Its a risky chance right now. It’s like we have something good right now and the season isnt even over with yet.

      1. Hiring a new coach is always a risk..Weis was our second choice at the time as we could not convince Urban Meyer not to take the Florida job. Recruiting is not a one man show but a team effort that take tireless effort…it is a well known fact that in Gruden’s time in the NFL he was considered one of ther hardest working say he won with Dungy’s players is unfair as Tony never pulled it off at Tampa and Gruden lead a disfunctional NFL team (Raiders) to two AFC West Championship and Tampa to three NFC South Championships

  11. I think we have a great chance with Henderson.

    I do think Floyd is a factor in that recruitment. But I also think Henderson will be smart enough to realize that if he comes to ND he has a shot to compete to play early. Especially if he’s as talented as he seems to be. Not that we’re weak, but we are about to graduate at least a couple linemen.

    It’s also worth noting more than anything else, this weekend should prove to recruits that ND is still a big player on the national scene.

  12. Am I foolish to feel good about Henderson? Not many gave us a shot with T’eo and we saw where he landed. It would be great to have the nation’s best offensive linemen taking care of the nation’s best quarterback next year. I know, you all think that Jimmy is leaving early, but I see him coming back. He’s bright — and knows with a healthy Golden and a healthy Floyd, things will be good.

    Defensively, though, we have to improve. We need some quickness on the defensive front. Giving up 500 yards in front of a bunch of 5-star defensive recruits was unfortunate. Nix would be a nice addition. I don’t feel good about Lamarcus Joyner, who recently listed his top schools and omited ND.

  13. They bring so many guys from the secondary. The screen for six was clearly because they caught us in a corner blitz. I yearn for the day that we can get pressure from just the front four. Man on man just beat your man. The talent gap has been closed a bit but not that much on D i don’t think.

  14. KLM might be the only d-linemen that i’v really been impressed with so far this year. i think he might become a stud going forward.
    i’d also like to see more of steven filer.

  15. There is no question that Weis has improved the recruiting talent at ND – let’s hope that the program continues to improve. It’s nice to see quality recruits for O – the D is much needed at this point.

  16. I agree they need to offer some sort of explaination, but lets not get hasty. Give the man some time to bring in recruits that fit his style.

  17. I 100% agree with you. i am VERY down on Tenuta right now. i dont care if his style has worked everywhere else, it aint workin here!

  18. Brother could we use a dominate defensive tackle. I’m still pissed at Corwin Brown and Jon Tenudta for another weak defensive effort last Saturday. They had an extra week to prepare and ND still gave up 500 yards.
    Here was a chance to grab a quality DT, and take some heat off themselves, but they have yet to close the deal. My faith in these two is wavering big time. I for one want some answers. And not from CW. Frick and Frack should face the media and explain what they do to earn their paychecks.

    1. It had nothing to do with the D line sat we need 2 find a free safety and fast harrison smith has been stinking it up all yr he is not a realiable enough source to have as the last line off defense we need to make a change at free safety b4 we lose anotha game we can go 10-2 wit a decent safety if he stays for the remainder of the season as the 1 we are dewfinately gonna lose at least 1 more game

      1. I agree the saftey play, and corners for that matter has been lacking, but they get absolutly no help from the D-Line. The one time we got pressure and in Barkley’s face he threw a pick that was nearly returned for a TD.
        They have been pretty good agianst the run, but no QB pressure or blocked passes. I don’t know if there is another QB on our schedule that can pass for 250/300 yards so if we stop the run we might get by.

      2. I think we need to get a system and stick with it. Since CW has been at ND we have had three different d-coordinators, with three different systems. The players need to play in the same system for the entire time they are at ND. The problem I see with Harrison Smith is he played LB last year and not saftey. He has
        Tommy Z’s problem of coming up to quick and getting beat deep. Our safties need to stop worring about the run and play their position.

      3. jack,
        The last good D-Line coach we had was Greg Mattison who coached under Bob Davie. Then along came Willingham. Mattison was let go and quickly scooped up by Urban Meyer and Florida. Soon after his arrival, Florida promptly won a national championship largely in part because of the efforts of their defence of which Mattison was coordinator.
        Thanks agian Ty.
        He is currently the Defensive Coordinator for the NFL Baltimore Ravens, a team that plays pretty solid defence these days.

      4. Shazamrock,

        We just got a new d-line coach Hart from Washington and Bryant Young is the coach in waiting. I don’t see the issue of scheme as the problem, I see to much thinking and not enough reacting. Our defense thinks to much and is a step slow in where they need to go. We are young a couple of key positions which is a problem. HH is a first year starter at Saftey. Manti and Flemming are young at LB. We have a young d-line. Walls sat out last year which hurt him as far as growth mentally in the secondary. These players need to mature. I see improvement in some areas and regression in others. I think this defense has the talent and another year under Tunuta and Brown some of these players will thrive. I don’t think dumping the coaching line up this quick is smart.

      5. Shazamrock just wanted to let you know, that would be Charlie Strong not Mattison, he was the defensive line coach, charlie strong built that D in Fl. back when Zook was still there, Urban kept him over, although another Lou prodigy….

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