Saturday, September 24, 2005

Safety Dance | by Pat

One bright spot from the Michigan State weekend was the verbal committment of two more high school recruits, bringing the total to 15. Leonard Gordon of Kentucky and Jashaad Gaines of Nevada both liked what they saw while visiting campus this past weekend and made their pledge to the Irish.

Gordon didn't even wait until he got home to make his choice. He saw enough while on campus to know that Notre Dame was the place for him.

"Coach Weis was talking to (receivers coach and recruiting coordinator) Rob Ianello, and I told my mom (Cassie) that I guess God told me this is where I wanted to be, because this feeling came over me," Gordon said. "I pulled coach Weis aside and asked him if there was any formal way to commit. I guess he didn't quite know what I was talking about, so I told him, 'I want to go here. I want to be an Irish Man'. He told me "Welcome to the family," and that they were really glad to have me."
Gordon is a 5'10" 185lb safety who also might see some time at cornerback for the Irish. Reports note his aggresive nature on the field and hard-hitting approach to defense. For his hometown Fort Campbell team, he has one interception so far this year that he returned for a touchdown after recording 94 tackles and four interceptions as a All-State junior. The heady (3.9 GPA) Gordon also plays quarterback for his high school team, which can only help him when it comes to adapting to the mental aspects of playing defense on the D-1 level.

With offers from LSU, Louisville, and Penn State, Gordon eventually chose the Irish
over finalists Duke, Vanderbilt, and hometown Kentucky.
"I'm committed now, so I'm looking forward to getting there," Gordon said. "I can't wait to put on that blue and gold, and play."
Jashaad Gaines didn't pull the trigger while on Notre Dame's campus, but rather waited to return home to announce his verbal commitment to Notre Dame. The Las Vegas High star was rumored to be a heavy lean, due in part to the fact that his sister, Tulyah, plays on the Notre Dame women's basketball team.
"It was definitely a big deal,'' Gaines said about attending the same school as his sister. "But it definitely wasn't everything. I wouldn't be going there if I didn't like what I saw.''
Like Gordon, Gaines is a top student (3.9 GPA) who hopes to step in and contribute early at Notre Dame. At 6'1" 200lbs, Gaines will come in as a safety, but also has the size to potentially move to the Apache linebacker spot down the road. He injured his knee last season, but had a strong summer attending camps and combines and now looks like the type of player who flew under the radar a bit before having a great senior campaign. The other schools that considered Gaines worthy of a scholarship offer included Oklahoma, Nebraska, Stanford, Washington, and Utah.

From the sound of Gaines' coach, Jashaad is the kind of player that will try to make an impact wherever he can.
"He's brought leadership to our defense," Faircloth said. "He helps the defensive backs identify what the situation is. He adds a real positive chemistry to the team as far as being one of the kids that's out to help the other kids. He takes nothing and asks for nothing in return.
If you have a subscription to, they have a nice little video feature on both Gordon and Gaines.