Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Early Returns | by Jay

It would be an understatement to say that Charlie has a lot riding on the Corwin Brown hire. In fact, I think even he'd agree that he's effectively wagered his ND future on this promising, but unproven rookie coordinator. Roll craps, and the Notre Dame legions will start gathering torches and pitchforks. But if it comes up seven...

The dice have been cast, but they'll keep spinning until the cleats hit the field this Fall. In the meantime, we've got some rosy indications that Corwin Brown has jumped into this job at a full run. Whatever else transpires with the defense, know this: we've got a bona fide recruiter on our hands. Check out these quotes from some '08 recruits who have had contact with Hurricane Corwin (all text culled from various Scout and Rivals reports).

Brandon Beal: "I just spoke to Coach Corwin Brown yesterday and we text back and forth all the time. I like him because we just seem to click and he's a guy who can have fun and crack jokes with you or be serious and get the job done. I really think Notre Dame is in great hands with Coach Brown because he'll bring a creative and aggressive defense to match their excellent offense with young guys like Jimmy Clausen coming."

Robert Blanton: "I've been talking to coach Brown the last couple weeks. I think he's a great guy. We've had a lot of great conversations. I looked him up on the internet and I like his style. He's pretty wise and he knows a lot about football. Sometimes we talk about family. We talk about the campus, and about the type of players they recruit. He seems like a great person."

Sean Cwynar: "Notre Dame is interested in me as a defensive lineman. They like me in the five-technique (defensive end) in their three man front and playing three-technique in their four man front. They said they liked how I play in space and I talk to Coach (Corwin) Brown a lot right now. He's a great guy and just brings a lot of energy to everything he does. I think he'll really bring that defense to a new level. I went to Notre Dame for the junior day and was very impressed."

Cwynar: "I talked to coach Ianello for a while when I first got there. Then I talked to coach Corwin Brown. I really liked him. I probably talked to him the most. He's got a lot of energy and he seems like a straight shooter. He's just a really nice guy. He's a nice guy to be around. He's funny, he cracked some jokes and he seems like a good football coach. He seems like he's got a good football mind..."

Cwynar: "I'll be playing defensive end in their 3-4 which is different from what I'm used to coming from a four man front in high school," Cwynar stated. "Once Coach (Corwin) Brown and I broke down film together this weekend it really helped me become completely comfortable, and frankly excited, about what I can do in that scheme. I like it because there are a lot of things I can do with my size and speed in terms of dropping into coverage, playing contain, crashing against the run and rushing the passer from my position."...."The thing I really liked about Coach (Corwin) Brown is that he wasn't trying to sell me when we talked. He was a genuinely nice person who just gave me the facts and didn't speak in a negative light about any other programs I was looking at. He just helped to answer all of my questions and make me feel comfortable with Notre Dame in general. The coaching staff was definitely another reason why I decided to make this decision."

Cwynar: Cwynar learned plenty about the 3-4 look during his time with Brown...."Watching tape with him of the Jets, how versatile the defense is and how many things it can do really impressed me," Cwynar said. "I really wasn't familiar with the 3-4 front, but the meeting cleared up some confusion and answered questions about where I fit into the system."...Brown's personality didn't hurt Notre Dame's cause either...."He's definitely a great coach and has a ton of energy," Cwynar said. "It's just electric when you talk to him. He's excited about the program and where he can bring this defense. He really knows his football and is excited to get this defense back on track."...Cwynar is eager to help that cause too. While a handful of top defensive prospects shied away from the Irish last year following late season collapses against USC and LSU, Cwynar wants to be part of the class that turns the corner defensively in South Bend...."The offense is definitely rolling and the defense is definitely nothing but stock rising," Cwynar said. "Corwin, he's going to do great things with the defense and I want to be part of something special. I think the defense will be pretty amazing in the next couple years. With a good recruiting class this year, it will be exactly right up there with the offense."

Steve Filer: "I met coach Corwin Brown and I liked him. He's a really cool guy. He's real nice and real down to earth. He showed us some film of the defense while we were there. The defense that they're going to run is very similar to the Mount Carmel defense. He pictured me at the 'Will' or 'Jack' spot. He broke it all down for me and that's the position that I really like. It's a position that I get to run east and west and make plays. The defense funnels everything to the linebackers."

Darius Fleming: "I've been texting a lot with Coach Corwin Brown at Notre Dame too lately", Fleming explained. "He seems really cool and is from this area, so we have a lot in common. He really sounds like he wants to make the best out of each individual player and is a relationship builder."

Donnie Fletcher: "I get letters every day and Notre Dame sends me a lot of text messages," he said. "I'm getting real close with (new Irish defensive coordinator Corwin) Brown. I went to their junior day last Sunday."...It isn't often that Notre Dame recruits Glenville High School, but Fletcher's talent and his 3.5 grade point average could be just what the Irish are looking for...."They don't have my tape yet but they liked how I presented myself while I was there," he said. "I guess they saw me at a camp or something and said that I could fit in their program."...Fletcher has spent a lot of time talking with the Irish coaches and those conversations have helped him build a strong relationship with the Notre Dame coaches...."I talked to their defensive backs coach and the coach that is recruiting me, coach (Rob) Ianello and coach Brown," he said. "I like (Brown's) style of coaching; he's real intense."

Kyle Harris: "There was just some really important academics stuff that stood out to me"....When the recruits met with their positions coach, Harris met with Notre Dame's new defensive coordinator, Corwin Brown and linebackers coach Brian Polian...."There were two kickers there and they actually put us with the linebackers, so it was coach Polian and coach Brown. Coach Brown was actually the kicking coach at the last school he was at (Virginia). I had a nice conversation with him, and he does know his stuff about kicking. He emphasized mechanics and the little things. Some coaches will go watch a tape and watch the ball flight. He concentrated more on the small mechanics. He said not to worry about timing right now, instead follow through with your leg speed and get comfortable with kicking off the ground. I have kicked off the ground a lot. I've been working with Pat Leahy for the past three years. He kicked for the Jets for a long time. He's a family friend that has developed into my kicking coach. We'll have sessions where I'll kick off the ground and then kick off a tee. We move back and forth."

Dan McCarthy: "I really enjoyed it, it was a great experience," McCarthy said. "I got to talk to the coaches to see where I stood with them. We talked about where I fit in their system."....McCarthy did more than talk. He had the chance to watch film with new defensive coordinator Corwin Brown...."We talked about how I fit into their new 3-4 defense," he said. "The thing I was excited about it, we run a similar defense at (Cardinal) Mooney so I knew some of the terms. Their safeties are pretty interchangeable; I liked that."

McCarthy: "I was very impressed with the new defensive coordinator, coach Brown. It seems like he really knows his stuff. He explained the new '3-4' defense that they're moving to. Coach Brown showed us some film on what they were going to do. It's a lot like our high school's defense, so I was very familiar with a lot of the terms he was using."

Anthony McDonald: "Notre Dame is definitely contacting me the most," he said. "Ole Miss, I call them about once a week or so; Oregon, they aren't really contacting me much. (Notre Dame defensive coordinator) Coach (Corwin) Brown sends me a text message about every day. I call and talk to him about once a week."...Notre Dame plans on installing a new defense in 2007. They have indicated that McDonald would be slotted to play Mike linebacker...."That fits me perfectly," he said. "The 3-4 is fine with me. I'm just going to make plays; I don't care what kind of defense we're playing."

McDonald: "I get texts from coach (Corwin) Brown every morning and throughout the day and they just stay in touch with me the most. I have a close relationship with the Notre Dame coaches right now. They're doing a good job."

Jonathan Meyers: "On Sunday, I met early with the coaches. I got to know them better including my recruiting coach Powlus and defensive coordinator Corwin Brown. I really like him and the scheme they run. He's got that pro mentality and he even singled me out about coming off the edge for them."

Meyers: "I talked to Corwin Brown, he's got that pro style coming from the Jets," Meyers said. "I think he is a really good coach with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of fire, and he has that great scheme. He kept telling me about how he liked the intensity I brought on my highlight tape."

Brandon Newman: Brown and Brandon Newman had been texting or talking on a daily basis for two weeks at that point. Brown responded to Newman's question with, I'm going to text you to call me in a few minutes after coach (Charlie) Weis gets out of a meeting. When he finally did make that call, Newman was getting his second offer, the first coming from Kentucky. "He makes me feel comfortable talking to him even without yet meeting him face to face," Newman said.

Nick Plato: At junior day in January, head coach Charlie Weis told Plato they would be in touch following national signing day. Since then, he has been in regular contact with assistant coaches Rob Ianello and Corwin Brown...."We've been talking about a scholarship, and they have been telling me about how many tight ends they are taking in this class," Plato said. "Pretty much, they told me they are going to take two tight ends and it was kind of battle between me and two other kids."

Kyle Rudolph: "Coach Brown is recruiting this area, and I interact with him well," Rudolph said. "I think he's great for the program. He seems like he's pretty energetic and excited about the opportunity at Notre Dame."

Special thanks to our friend Matt for pulling these together.