Giovanni Bernard Commits to Notre Dame

Notre Dame picked up commitment #17 on the season on Monday with Saint Thomas Aquinas running back Giovanni Bernard.  The Fort Lauderdale native visited Notre Dame for the USC game two weeks and visited Colorado this past weekend before picking the Irish.

Bernard is a compact  running back with excellent vision and balance.  He gets a lot of yards after contact because of his ability to stay on his feet.  He isn’t a burner, but he makes plenty of big runs by hitting the hole quick and breaking tackles.  He is a very well rounded back who has the ability to be a #1, work-horse type running back on the college level.

Bernard told Irish Sports Daily that academics were a big part of the reason he selected Notre Dame.

“I picked them because they have a good situation for me,” Bernard said. The St. Thomas Aquinas standout becomes the 17th player to give Irish head coach Charlie Weis his oral pledge, and second running back joining Cameron Roberson. “Coach (Tony) Alford, the running backs coach was truthful to me, and most of all, the education that they offer and life after football is my biggest thing.”

He also told Oregon Live that the coaching staff, and its similarities to his coaching staff at Saint Thomas Aquinas, played a role in his decision.

“It’s just a great program all around and it has everything I am looking for in a school,” Bernard told “I visited there for the USC game. They work like our coaches at St. Thomas. It should be an easy transition for me but I know it would be no matter where I go.”

Tom Lemming rates Bernard as a four star running back mainly for his vision and tackle-breaking ability.

“I really like him,” said Lemming, who gives Bernard four-plus stars on his five-star scale. “I thought he was one of the better running backs in the country. Even though he’s small, he’s the kind of small back you like.”

“He’s got the balance, vision and leg strength that Notre Dame is looking for,” Lemming said. “The height doesn’t matter. What matters is the leg strength and the ability to break tackles.”

Lemming’s opinion on Bernard is backed up by the highlight reel below.


Bernard has been hampered by a hamstring injury this year which has caused him to miss multiple games, but as a junior he ran for 1,528 yards on 160 carries with 15 touchdowns.  That’s an impressive average yards per carry of 9.6.

This gives Notre Dame two running backs with Bernard joining Cameron Roberson and closes out running back recruiting in this class.  Bernard also hails from the same high school as current Notre Dame players Sam Young, Dan Wenger, Ben Turk, and Jordan Cowart.  He also has three teammates – Cody Riggs (CB), LaMarcus Joyner (CB), and Bradon Linder (OT) – that Notre Dame is currently recruiting and hoping will join him in the class of 2010.

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  1. If Bernard is so great, why in the world was he considering Colorado? They are the worst kind of program, and going nowhere but deeper into the rut. I’m very skeptical of any review of a high school guy that says he’s “not a burner” but “stays on his feet.” First, we want a burner, we don’t need another Robert Hughes. Second, I HOPE HE STAYS ON HIS FEET! IT’S HIGH SCHOOL! I’m sure they said this about Armando when he was in high school — and it took him two years to stand up to college defenses. Bottom line, Weis hasn’t recruited a great running back since he’s been here. I doubt he’ll start now.

    1. could have had something to do with academics. that was a huge reason why he picked notre dame. i wouldn’t be so negative on allen or hughes. right now both are averaging over 4.5 ypc. weis’ offense isn’t the best at showcasing the running backs.

  2. Weis isn’t going anywhere, espicially if Clausen stays. The talent is coming and we are seeing progress. Does Charlie make some calls that are too agressive?, Yes. Does Charlie need to ring Tanuta’s neck and figure out a solution to the weakest secondary at South Bend in decades?, Yes. You have to remember, the JR’s on this team are the first class that Weis really got to recruit. Look at how good the underclassmen are…Manti, Floyd, Shaq. We are getting players and we will continue to get better. We are 10 points away from being undefeated. As much as a die hard fan I am, even have family that played on 1988 team, I am also realistic. I live in SEC country, and guys, we are close, but we are not that close. Brian Kelly will not be the next coach at ND. If and when Charlie goes it will be a BIG name, with a BIGGER paycheck. Urban Meyer anyone?

    1. JDG,

      I live in SEC country as well. Our QB, receivers, and passing game is better than anything they have, and that’s not even close. Now if we had a defence have as good as Florida, or Alabama, or Tennessee, WE would be the real deal.

      1. I to live in Gainsville but grew up in SB, and you are correct, we are not even in there class yet, not bashing anyone, but i have seen both teams this year in person and WOW the difference personnel and coaching is light years….weren’t not bad but know where close to being elite.

  3. This is my first comment on this website but I would just like for someone to explain to me why we blitz nearly every down. Sometimes I wonder if our defensive coordinator has a Donaghy complex. I couldn’t watch the last drive against BC this last weekend because I was going to visit the in-laws for a birthday but was watching it on my Blackberry. What happened? How in the world did we allow a 28 yard pass play on 4th and 16? That right there is enough to drive someone crazy. It reminded me of the 4th and 9 against USC in 2005. I just don’t understand how a program that prides itself on having intelligent student athletes can continue to hire morons to coach them.

  4. I think the Irish will lose at least one if not two more games this season (Pitt plus one other, maybe Stanford)and that will be the end of Charlie.
    Defensively, there is enough talent to be a much better defense then they have shown, which is all on the coaching. If you have a top 10-20 team from a talent perspective (which the Irish do) and you are not ranked in the top 10, then the relative difference is the coaching.

    By the way, if Weis goes then Brian Kelly will be the next ND coach

  5. all i can say is time will tell with cincy. i have to disagree that noone on our schedule could run with the “big boys”. we have all seen washington beat usc and take us and lsu down to the wire. msu will get somebody as they just took #4 iowa to the last second. purdue hung with oregon and beat tOSU. navy is looking sharp again and they had tOSU if not for a poor playcall. pitt will be a good measuring stick for cincy and nd. so no i will not relax with the sos angle. there is a reason why ours is high and theirs is low. our opponents have shown to be greater competition than 100 plus other schedules thus far. every team for us here on in, except wsu, will better prove the sos angle.

  6. Cincy is ranked in the Top 10 right now….when is the last time they had a top ten recruiting class?????? IT’S THE COACHING!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. get off cincy already. yes b kelley is a good coach. i think nd would be that high if we played that schedule. oregon state was their only test. 76 toughest schedule compared to our 17.

      for those that want brian kelly for coach right now with nd being 5-2, in the top 25, and having a chance to win out and finish 10-2 and possibly go to our 3rd bcs bowl under weis, piss off and go cheer for the great pretenders of cincy.

      1. My comments never mentioned bringing in Brian Kelly. But if their program is now winning with Brian Kelly as the head coach, why shouldn’t that be looked at. If ND has been recruiting top ten talent, why doesn’t the product on the field reflect that. Haven’t you watched the last six games where the ND defense has been made to look ridiculous for the majority of the time they are on the field. If Weis and his defensive staff don’t realize Harrison Smith is terrible, and the rest of the world does, then there is a HUGE problem.

        And relax with the strength of schedule angle. The teams that ND has played aren’t that good. None of them could handle Florida, Alabama, or Texas. I don’t think any of them, with the exception of USC, would be competitive with Cincy!!

      2. The product on the field does reflect that. Steady improvement and still relatively young talent. Almost beating USC who has also been recruiting top 10 talent but for twice as long. The depth of talent/experience now compared to 2 years ago is pretty obvious. Even on the defensive side of the ball which still has a year or two of catching up to do.

        And the strength of schedule angle? did you not read it all? 17th toughest schedule vs. 76th…. it isn’t an angle, it’s an accepted rank. And I believe that Florida and Texas are both ranked below that 76th last I saw.

        How do you figure that they aren’t that good? Perdue beat Ohio state and Washington beat USC. Michigan State almost knocked off Iowa. I hope you have a rope tied around your neck to help you pull your head out.

  7. From that video there are two things I can see that makes Gio a great fit for the Irish. First, he doesn’t seem to shy away from contact. That can be huge for a team that hasn’t had the strongest pedigree of power backs in a while. Second, he looks like he has the quickness and speed to break open-field tackles, something we haven’t recently seen from Irish backs. Great commit. Very excited to see him on the field for the Irish!

  8. If we keep winning we will keep getting these 4-5 star recruits. I have heard Seantral Henderson is seriously considering the Irish now.

  9. He looks like a solid back and comes from a power-house school for talent. I just hope this is an attempt to land the other 3 players as well. We desperately need CB’s that play physical with speed.

    1. According to ESPN, Barr has eliminated USC, Cal, and Michigan and is now only considering Notre Dame and UCLA. It says he wants to make one more trip to UCLA before deciding. He has already visited ND 3 times including Washington win.

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