Thursday, February 07, 2008

Crossing the Finish Line | by Pat

"After the record that we had, as disappointed as everyone was and obviously me at the head of the pack, I think our program needed this boost. This is a significant boost."

-Charlie Weis, 2-6-08

Charlie's third full recruiting class is in the books and it's his best effort yet. 23 recruits officially became members of the Notre Dame family yesterday after what was an extremely impressive recruiting performance by the entire football staff. Without further ado, let's get down to the nitty gritty.

• The Official Notre Dame Signing Day Press Release
• Charlie Weis's Signing Day Press Conference (Transcript /Video)
• 2008 Recruits Bio and Highlight videos
• Offical Signing Day show video
• Inside Signing Day video
• The South Bend Tribune - 2008 ND Recruits

As always, the press conference transcript is a must read. This year has some extra video options including new highlight video footage of all the recruits and the Inside Signing Day video which provides a behind the scenes look at the ND 'war room' on signing day. For all those who wonder what it's like for the coaches on Signing Day, you can now watch the faxes roll in and the coaches on the phone congratulating the recruits. Those who can't access the videos via the streaming link can download them through iTunes, although the behind the scenes video doesn't appear to be available there now.

Rank 'Em

Watching the coaches call the recruits, it's clear they are all very excited about the incoming group. And for good reason if you consider the final rankings of the class by the four major rankings sites.
2nd - Rivals
2nd - Scout
2nd - CSTV
9th - ESPN
Only ESPN prevented a clear sweep of the #2 spot (Alabama was the #1 pick by all except for ESPN's choice, Miami). All in all, one of the best recruiting hauls in a long time.

What we said

Going back through the past 12 months, here's what we said about each recruit when they publicly committed. We don't have one for Kapron Lewis-Moore yet, but that's coming shortly and the link will be updated when we post it.

QB - Dayne Crist, Nate Montana (invited walk-on)
RB - Jonas Gray
WR - Michael Floyd, John Goodman, Deion Walker
TE - Kyle Rudolph, Joseph Fauria
OL - Braxston Cave, Lane Clelland, Mike Golic, Jr., Trevor Robinson

DL - Ethan Johnson, Sean Cwynar, Brandon Newman, Hafis Williams, Kapron Lewis-Moore
LB - Steven Filer, Darius Fleming, David Posluszny, Anthony McDonald
CB - Robert Blanton, Jamoris Slaughter
S - Dan McCarthy

Bloodlines. We started to note this as the recruits began picking ND, but it bears repeating. The football bloodlines in this class are impressive. To wit:
Mike Golic, Jr. - father Mike and uncle Bob were stars at Notre Dame
Dan Posluszny - older brother Paul starred at Penn State and currently is a Buffalo Bill
Anthony McDonald - father Mike played for Southern Cal and the L.A. Rams
Lane Clelland - older brother Lance was an offensive lineman at Northwestern
Joseph Fauria - uncle Christian starred at Colorado and in the NFL.
Dan McCarthy - older brother Kyle is currently a safety with the Fighting Irish
Nate Montana - father played football at Notre Dame. Not sure what happened after that.
Braxston Cave - named after former Irish running back Braxston Banks
Deion Walker - named after Primetime Deion Sanders
Ok, so the last two are a bit of a reach. Still, lots of football talent flowing in the families of the current latest Irish recruits.

Two out of Three. According to Coach Ianello, Notre Dame extended 66 official scholarships offers. Of those 66, 33 made a trip to campus to check things out. In what is a very impressive hit rate, 23 of the 33 players that visited campus wound up faxing in their letter of intent. We don't have the numbers from prior years on hand, but it's unlikely they are much better.

Can he kick it? One position of interest and concern that wasn't addressed in this current class was kicker. Or was it? At 280 pounds, defensive end Sean Cwynar took over kicking duties for his high school team when their starting kicker went down with an injury. Cwynar took kickoffs, extra points, and even nailed a 33 yard field goal in the state semifinals.

Double Dip. Some recruiting fans like to use a windowing function when looking at recruiting classes and look at two-year totals. It helps to see how each classes compliment each other and helps to identify possible areas of need for the following class. Here's the breakdown of what ND has brought in in the past two classes.
QB - 2
RB - 3
WR - 5
TE - 3
OL - 7
DL - 7
LB - 8
CB - 3
S - 2
K - 1
O Captain, My Captain. If you're looking to get really ahead of yourself and predict future team captains from this class, Dayne Crist, Braxston Cave, and Jonas Gray certainly have a great shot based on the way Coach Weis lauded their leadership in keeping the current recruiting class a close knit group. Then again, Robert Blanton and Michael Floyd have already spent some time as NFL team captains....kinda. Blanton was named a Carolina Panthers Community Captain, which included on-field recognition at a home game, for his work with the local community. Floyd served as an honorary captain for the Vikings for their Monday night matchup with the Bears as a reward for being Minnesota's Mr. Football.

Your Honors. I'm just cribbing this straight from the press release because they did all the hard work for me. Here's the collected honors, awards, and Top 100 lists assorted acheivements of the Notre Dame class of 2012.
* Four members of the Parade prep All-America team - quarterback Dayne Crist, linebacker Steve Filer, wide receiver Michael Floyd and running back Jonas Gray.
* Five players who received All-America accolades from USA Today - first-team selections Robinson, Floyd and tight end Kyle Rudolph, plus second-team picks Filer and defensive back Dan McCarthy.
* Eleven players rated among the top 100 nationally by CSTV and Tom Lemming - Crist (eighth), Floyd (13th), Rudolph (19th), linebacker Darius Fleming (31st), Filer (35th), defensive lineman Ethan Johnson (51st), Robinson (64th), wide receiver Deion Walker (76th), Cwynar (86th), defensive back Robert Blanton (90th) and offensive lineman Lane Clelland (99th).
* Seven players rated among the top 100 nationally by - Rudolph (20th), Crist (25th), Floyd (27th), Johnson (32nd), Robinson (37th), Gray (72nd) and Fleming (89th).
* Seven players rated among the top 100 nationally by - Floyd (16th), Rudolph (21st), Crist (45th), Johnson (49th), Fleming (56th), Walker (58th) and Filer (72nd).
* Seven players rated among the top 100 nationally by Sports Illustrated/ - Walker (22nd), Rudolph (23rd), Filer (24th), Johnson (26th), Floyd (28th), Crist (45th) and linebacker Anthony McDonald (68th).
* Ten players rated among the top 150 nationally on the ESPN 150 list - Crist (22nd), Floyd (29th), Johnson (82nd), defensive back Jamoris Slaughter (86th), Gray (89th), Fleming (94th), Walker (103rd), Rudolph (105th), Filer (115th) and offensive lineman Braxston Cave (125th).
* Eight players named to the EA Sports All-American Team - Filer and Floyd (both first-team picks), Robinson (second team), Crist, Goodman, Gray, McCarthy and Rudolph (all third-team selections).
* Fifteen players selected for the U.S. Army All-America Bowl in San Antonio last month -defensive back Robert Blanton, Clelland, Crist, Cwynar, Filer, Fleming, Floyd, offensive lineman Mike Golic, wide receiver John Goodman, Gray, Johnson, McDonald, defensive lineman Brandon Newman, Robinson and Rudolph.
* Three players selected for the Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando last month - Cave, Slaughter and Walker.
* Seven players named to Detroit Free Press Best in the Midwest team - Rudolph (second), Floyd (third), Filer (seventh), Gray (13th), Fleming (17th), Cwynar (18th) and Goodman (20th).
* Three players named Gatorade Player of the Year in thier home states - Filer (Illinois), Floyd (Minnesota), McCarthy (Ohio).