Tuesday, July 12, 2005

the Parris Option | by Michael

The image “http://ndparis.free.fr/notredamedeparis/photos/petit/facade/notredame_facade.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
no, not that Paris, and
not that Notre Dame
Rob Parris, a 6'4", 185 lb wide receiver out of St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio became the ninth verbal, and the second WR, of the 2006 Irish recruiting class. Last year Parris caught 39 passes for 900 yards and 13 touchdowns. Here's the writeup from the SB Trib and the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
"It seems like a good fit for Robby," said St. Ignatius football and track coach Chuck Kyle. "It looks like there will be some very good opportunity early to get playing time. The receivers coming back [at Notre Dame] are all upperclassmen so, once they graduate, the spot is open. Plus it's a great fit academically."
Earlier this spring, Parris received written offers from Iowa, Kansas, Miami-Ohio and Illinois, but both Notre Dame and Michigan had asked Parris to participate in their summer camps before they would extend an offer. It was rumored that both staffs were interested in evaluating Parris's speed, and apparently he was fast enough for both programs. After strong performances in Ann Arbor and South Bend, Parris got offers from both schools.

The Irish held two advantages that ultimately swayed Parris in our direction. First, there was the promise of early playing time with a thinning WR depth chart at ND (the Irish will lose Matt Shelton, Maurice Stovall and Rhema McKnight after the 2005 season). Per the Scout article:
"When I talked to Coach Carr, he said that he can't make any guarantees, but that I'd get the chance to play early on. Down at Notre Dame they told me that they expected me to come in as a freshman and be ready to play," said Parris.
Secondly, there was teammate John Ryan, who had verballed to Notre Dame in early June. As Parris related to BGI, “He was really pumped up. Johnny was a big factor. He was a big tie-breaker.”

High school teammates within the same recruiting class are not a new phenomenon at Notre Dame. Willingham’s recruits actually featured three sets of classmates: Ambrose Wooden & Victor Abiamiri, Chinedum Ndukwe & Brady Quinn, and finally, Jeff Samardzija and Carl Gioia (a preferred walk-on who earned scholarship in 2004).

What’s different about this case is that none of those other schools is a high school football juggernaut on par with St. Ignatius, which has won nine state titles since 1988. The school is constantly sending kids to D1 programs, and even as I was watching two highlight videos of Parris, I couldn’t help but notice the talent of a lot of the other players, too. Check out this list of other D1 football players who have graduated from St. Ignatius since 1990 (thanks to our friend Glass for his help in brainstorming this list):

LB Kareem Ingram – Colorado State
DL Jamie Bennett – Colorado State
QB Joe Pickens – Duke
(transferred from Ohio State)
WR Mark Ruddy – Northwestern
DL Trent Zenkewicz – Michigan
OL Juan Porter – Ohio State
LB Chris Gizzi – Air Force
QB Scott Mutryn – Boston College
RB Eric Haddad - Purdue
WR Drew Haddad - Buffalo
OL LaCharles Bentley – Ohio State
OL Jim Massey – Ohio State
DL Chris Hovan – Boston College
DL John Favret – Wisconsin
TE Dan O’Leary – Notre Dame
OL Jason Brooks – West Virginia
(transferred from Michigan)
QB Dave Ragone – Louisville
OL Jacob Bell – Miami (Ohio)
RB Doug Gizzi – Air Force
DL Pat Massey – Michigan
LB John Kerr – Ohio State
(transferred from Indiana)
OL Kevin Sheridan – Boston College
WR Anthony Gonzalez – Ohio State
OL Mike Eynon – Ohio U.
OL Steve Miller – Ohio U.
LB John Haneline – Bowling Green
DB Darnell Martemus – Vanderbilt
TE Mike Massey – Michigan
QB Brian Hoyer – Michigan State
DB Sean Kavanagh – Miami (Oh.)
TE Jim Ramella – Boston College

There are probably a few missing from that list, but you get a good idea of the pipeline of talent from St. Ignatius. (The talent isn’t simply football-centric, either.) Now that Charlie Weis has refocused on recruiting in the midwest, and especially Ohio, as my colleague Pat pointed out in his rundown on teammate John Ryan, here's hoping ND can start tapping into regional powerhouses like St. Ignatius again.

On a final note, Parris won’t be the only Irish/Wolverine recruiting battle decided this summer; defensive back Steve Brown has a top three of Notre Dame, Michigan and Purdue and his announcement could occur in a day, a week or a month. Most recruitniks believe it’s a two-team battle between the Irish and Wolverines, and similarly to Parris’s recruitment, early playing time could be the biggest factor in his decision.

In any case, a quick welcome to Rob Parris. (And if this pic from the SBT is any indication, he's already got the SYR wardrobe covered.)