Notre Dame, IN (UHND) – So much for the thought that recruits this year would be applying a wait and see approach with Notre Dame after last season’s 3-9 debacle. Notre Dame picked up their 6th and 7th commitments of the year this week when linebacker Dan Fox and offensive guard Alex Bullard committed to Charlie Weis and the Irish. Both prospects carry four star ratings from Rivals.com and bolster what is already shaping up to be a very promising recruiting class.
After a strong haul at linebacker in last year’s recruiting class, the Irish are off to a great start at the position now that Dan Fox has joined Carlo Calabrese on the defensive side of the ball for the Irish. Fox, an up and coming outside linebacker, possess outstanding athletic ability and it is generally assumed that his best days on the football field are still very much ahead of him.
At 6-4 and 218 lbs, Fox moves extremely well and runs the 40 in 4.6 seconds. What his 40 time doesn’t measure is his athleticism though and that is what really separates Fox from most other outside linebackers. He moves very well in space and excels in pass coverage making much more than just a pass rushing outside linebacker.
Hailing from Cleveland’s St. Ignatius high school, Fox continues a recent pipeline which has now sent three prospects to Notre Dame since Charlie Weis’s arrival in December of 2004. Defensive end John Ryan and wide receiver Robby Parris are the other two St. Ignatius alums on the Notre Dame roster.
Fox is also a member of St. Ignatius basketball team which has kept his weight down a bit, but once he hits the weight room at Notre Dame he shouldn’t have any problem bulking up enough to be a very good outside linebacker. He is still a bit raw, but the “upside” with Fox is very high much as it was when for Kerry Neal when he committed to Notre Dame two years ago.
The other commitment the Irish got this week comes at probably the biggest position of need this year – offensive line. Alex Bullard (6-3, 275) is a big time prospect at guard despite being listed by some recruiting services as a tackle. If Bullard were to grow a couple inches by the time he arrives on campus tackle is certainly a possibility, but right now it looks as though guard is where Bullard will make his impact.
Like Fox, Bullard brings a lot of athleticism for his position to the table. As a former wrestler, Bullard has good agility to match his outstanding strength. Not to mention, Notre Dame has had some great success with former high school wrestlers playing along the lines lately (see Trevor Laws).
Bullard is the first commitment along the offensive line for the Irish this year and Notre Dame probably couldn’t have asked for a better first commit along the line. The Irish will be looking at taking a full set of offensive linemen this year after getting four in last year’s class.
Bullard’s early commitment is a bit more surprising than Fox’s considering Bullard grew up in Tennessee’s backyard. Fox on the other was widely assumed to be a lock for Notre Dame as soon as he got his offer a few weeks back. Bullard ended up picking the Irish over instate Tennessee and rival Michigan while having over 20 offers from most of the top schools in the country.