Friday, February 03, 2006

Seen and Heard | by Pat

In what was one of the bigger days in their lives thus far, Notre Dame's recruits all went through some sort of celebration as they signed their Letters of Intent and officially became college football players. Some had subdued signings with family, many took part in a ceremony at their high school, and some even took part in larger scale organized events, such as Morrice Richardson (right) who joined high school teammates and other local players in a signing event at the ESPN Zone in Atlanta.

Here is a collection of quotes from the newly minted Irish football players and their coaches on Signing Day and the few days leading up to it.

"It was August 6 at 11:23 in the morning in Coach [Charlie] Weis’ office. When I left his office at Notre Dame, I was ready to sign."

- Bartley Webb, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

"You really have to see it for yourself. You hear about it and think, 'Oh, wow that's nice.' But to see that building, it's just, well, really you have to honestly be there to understand what it's like."

- Leonard Gordon on Touchdown Jesus, The Leaf-Chronicle

"I think every kid dreams about playing Division I football in front of 80,000 fans every Saturday on NBC on national television. It's a dream come true. When you commit, it's a different story, and then when you finally sign, it's official, there's no turning back. This whole day has been great."

-Leonard Gordon, The Leaf-Chronicle

"I am excited to learn. Between (Quinn) and coach (Charlie Weis) it’s going to be one (heck) of a learning experience."

- Zach Frazer (left), Sentinel Online

"This is a big event. It’s not very often that these kind of opportunities come along for a kid to get a full ride to an institution like Notre Dame. You’ve got to enjoy it while you can, it might not happen again.”

- Bob Lichtel (Frazer's coach), Sentinel Online

"After that we went to the football stadium and walked around. I walked down the stairwell and onto the field. I had been there once before in the summer but walking down that stairwell never gets old. It will probably always give me goose bumps just because of all the tradition and history. I tapped the `Go Irish' sign three times and then tapped the 'Play Like a Champion Today' sign once. That's the tradition.''

- Sam Young, Miami Herald

"It just feels great knowing that it's finally over and that my dream has become a reality. Everyone asked me if I had any influence on [Young] or vice a versa, but it really came down to each of our individual feelings on Notre Dame, and apparently we both had the same ones."

- Dan Wenger, Miami Herald

"It was hard to turn [USC] down, but it was the perfect fit for me. At Notre Dame, it just felt right."

- Konrad Reuland, Los Angeles Times

"It was more of the senior’s team than anyone else’s and they had more at stake. Those guys took us a long way and Toryan (right, in suit) was a leader because of what he brought to the defense.”

- Sid Fritts (Toryan Smith's coach), Rome News-Tribune

"He's a kid that's going to succeed. I don't think you'd ever understand his work ethic unless you were around him. He kind of lives for football, it's kind of his passion."

- Chris Faircloth (Jashaad Gaines' coach), Las Vegas Review Journal

“I don’t think it puts more pressure. I kind of like that. It gives me the ability to prepare for it and get ready.”

- Ryan Burkhart on the pressures of replacing DJ Fitzpatrick, Journal Gazette

And last, but certainly not least, future media quote machine, Demetrius Jones in the Chicago Sun-Times.

"You don't choose your college based on people. People can leave. I was considering Notre Dame when they had Coach [Ty] Willingham, and look what happened to him."

- Jones on reasons for choosing a college.

"I hear it all the time, from everyone. But they hated Jesus, so I won't go through anything he didn't. No one is going to be able to go to school for me or play for me, so I had to pick the place that I felt right in.''

- Jones on being told Notre Dame wasn't the right place for him.

"He always had the talent, they just tightened the screws."

- Jones on Brady Quinn's junior year improvement.

"I saw a lot of schools and a lot of traditions, but never anything like that. It was incredible, having thousands of people there just to watch you walk over to your field."

- Jones on the team walk from the Basilica to the Stadium.

"They might be underestimating me because I haven't gotten the most extensive training or had the best facilities. But if they wanted to move me, I'm sure they would have picked up Mustain."

- Jones on moving to another position.

"It's not going to be easy at first. But nothing that good ever is. It's a lot of people's dream to go to Notre Dame, and I know I'll be fine. If you're a baller, you're a baller."

- Jones on playing quarterback at Notre Dame.