Tuesday, April 10, 2007

the Poz that Refreshes | by Pat

As you've probably heard by now, Charlie put another easter egg into his basket over the weekend, winning a verbal commitment from a linebacker with some nice bloodlines and a name that sounds ready-made for a John Facenda voiceover: Posluszny. David Posluszny.

Poz had been considered a heavy lean towards the Irish since the start of his recruitment when he caught the eye of Irish coaches during last summer's football camp. After a trip to South Bend this past week, David gave his pledge to the Irish.

"Going into the trip, I knew Notre Dame was pretty much the top choice," Posluszny said. "Walking around campus, meeting the players and talking to the coaches, I knew that's where I wanted to go."

"I like everything about Notre Dame. I can't think of one negative," said Posluszny, who also has played defensive back and fullback at Hopewell. "At Notre Dame, you get an Ivy League-type education. Every year, you're competing for a national championship. So I really don't think you can beat that."
Getting a linebacker for a class that needs plenty of defensive players is a great news, especially considering David's football roots: his brother Paul won the Butkus Award in 2005, and left Penn State as maybe the best linebacker to ever play for "Linebacker U".

Here's the rundown on David. At 6'2", 215 pounds, Poz played fullback and safety for his high school last year after playing wide receiver -- and leading the team in receptions -- as a sophomore. Expected to play inside linebacker at ND, David was hampered by an injury that kept him out of a number of games his junior year. Despite missing some action, he was named Class AAA Second Team All-State, the same honor he earned as a sophomore. It's still too early for star rankings from the recruiting sites, but David is in Rivals "Top 100 to Watch" list. Scouts, Inc. (at ESPN) gave him a rating of 80, which is what they gave Toryan Smith two years ago, for whatever that is worth.

David had offers from Georgia Tech, Wisconsin, Louisville, Pitt, and Rutgers. He hadn't received an official offer from Penn State (not yet, anyway), which seems puzzling given his brother's place in PSU program history. After looking at PSU's recruiting situation, however, I'm not too surprised. Penn State has limited scholarships this year and are trying to get two other top Pennsylvania linebackers, Andrew Sweat and Shayne Hale (both also offered by ND). Paterno and Co. probably felt it was better to hold off on offering David. What probably made them more hesitant is that David was an obvious ND lean the entire time.

Of course, the glittering legacy of brother Paul is something that's going to hang over David, at least until he establishes his own name on the field. It's both a blessing and a curse: he'll have a great resource in his older bro to help him develop in college, but he'll also be saddled with some sky-high expectations from Irish fans eager to have a Butkus winner of their own. David is about the same size his brother was at the time, and his high school coach sees a similar approach to the game.
"He is a heck of a player," Hopewell football coach Dave Vestal said. "I think he has that same instinctive reaction to things that Paul had, but he didn't have a lot of opportunity to show it because of injuries.
As ND tries to rebuild the defense under new coordinator Corwin Brown, getting quality and quantity this season in defensive recruiting is a big key to quickly getting the Irish defense up to par with the offense. With an incoming linebacker like Posluszny joining defensive lineman Sean Cwynar, ND seems to be off to a pretty good start, with the strong possibility of more good news in the coming weeks as the spring game nears.

One final note on the Posluzny story, from the "hindsight is 20/20" department:
"Everyone was really happy," David said. "Everyone wanted me to pick Notre Dame. Even Paul was pulling for Notre Dame because it's such a prestigious school. He said when he was in my position, he would have liked to have had an offer from Notre Dame."
Wow. Are you saying we could have had Paul Posluszny at linebacker these last four years? Well, welcome to the hit-and-miss world of college recruiting. While it's convenient (and probably at least partially accurate) to pin this miss on Ty's poor recruiting acumen, keep in mind that Paul was a 3-star recruit coming out of high school, and had roughly the same stock as Irish recruit Nick Borseti at the same time. Neither Michigan nor Ohio State offered Poz, if that makes us feel any better. And what's more, in that same class we picked up our own low-profile, 3-star wide receiver from Valparaiso who turned into a multi-year All-American. Recruiting is like an easter egg hunt; it's a big field, and you're not always going to find the ones with the $100 bill inside.