Thursday, April 19, 2007

Big Hitter | by Pat

We're a little late with this, but last Wednesday, linebacker Anthony McDonald from Sherman Oaks, CA, committed to Notre Dame. The seventh player in the Class of 2008, McDonald is the second linebacker in a class that is in need of both quality and quantity at the linebacker spot.

McDonald is slotted to play inside linebacker and adds plenty of size at 6'3", 220 pounds. Likely to get bigger by the time he enrolls, McDonald should be a very solid force in the middle and help to bulk up a linebacking corp that is trying to add size with the move to the 3-4. As a junior, McDonald was 1st team All-CIF as he totaled 101 tackles and 10 sacks for Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks.

A heavy ND lean from the start, McDonald chose the Irish over offers from Oregon, Boston College, and Ole Miss. And as the various recruiting services start to roll out their star rankings -- which of course change throughout the year -- lists McDonald as a 4 star linebacker and the 43rd overall prospect in the nation while Rivals has him listed in their Top250 to Watch list. Over on ESPN, he is listed as the #8 inside linebacker and the 112th overall prospect. Assuming the 4-star status on Scout sticks, McDonald would be only the 2nd 4-star linebacker, according to scout rankings, that has committed to ND in the past 8 years.

If you want to check out his high school highlights, you can find them here. His high school position coach clearly thinks the Irish have landed a tough player.

"I have been waiting for a guy like this to come along for a long time," said Notre Dame [high school] linebackers coach Mike Curiel. " He is such a student of the game, I have to constantly feed him tape. He always wants to learn and get better... Anthony is hard-nosed," said coach Curiel. "He takes aggressive down-hill angles – he's just not a side-to-side kind of player, when we commit to go vertical he can flat out attack."
And just like ND's other linebacker commit, David Posluszny, Anthony comes from some pretty good defensive bloodlines. His father, Mike McDonald, played for USC before spending time in the NFL with the L.A. Rams. It's not very often, if ever, that kids of Trojan players decide to head to South Bend to play football, but McDonald is happy with his decision and is ready to move away from rooting for his dad's alma mater.
"I have Notre Dame blood in me now," Anthony McDonald said Thursday. "The SC blood's gone, no more SC blood."
The strong Irish recruiting, in particular with the defense, continues and hopefully will get even more good news in the coming days. McDonald's high school teammate, Dayne Crist, has already hopped on board (more on him in a bit) and with the Blue-Gold game in two days, the Irish could land a few more players and keep up the strong recruiting momentum.