Sunday, January 06, 2008

Integrity in recruiting? What a novel idea!

I have ripped Jeff Carroll of the South Bend Tribune pretty good in the past, and I still think he's the definition of an assclown. However, I think every recruit that wants to understand Coach Weis should read this article.

In the wake of a 3-9 season, we have the #1 recruiting class in the country. I've blogged previously about how unprecedented that is.

What's more impressive, however, is Weis' commitment to his word above all else - even getting the top recruiting class.

After last year's last minute defections, Weis was fustrated with the recruiting system, and not just because he got so publicly burned. Weis is a true Notre Dame man, a man of integrity whose word is his bond. And these 18-year-old kids took advantage of his honesty and left him holding the bag.

So almost one year ago, on the afternoon of National Signing Day, Weis established a new regime in recruiting - an all in / all out approach where he will hold his recruits to their commitments. Once they are verbally committed, no more visiting with other teams, or we yank your offer.

That ultimatum was tested earlier this week, when Buford, GA defensive end prospect Omar Hunter was wavering on his commitment to the Irish and had begun talking to the anti-Weis in recruiting integrity: Urban Meyer. Rather than bending over to pressure to maintain the highest profile recruit in decades at the position of highest need for the Irish, Weis kept his word.

Multiple sources have confirmed that earlier this week, Weis told Omar that if he chose to talk to or take a visit from Urban Meyer, that he would rescind his offer. And when Omar called his bluff, he did just that.

After a 3-9 season when it became painfully obvious that we need a lot more talent to finish rebuildng the Notre Dame mystique, Weis just dumped the player most likely to have the greatest impact on the Irish next year.

And I applaud him for it.

I defy you to point to a coach from another BCS bowl team from the past decade that would have the balls to withdraw an offer from a #1 recruit. They just don't exist.

Except at Notre Dame.

Good luck to Omar Hunter - I hope he finds a better place for himself. I have no hard feelings towards him, it's just that if you aren't 100% sure that Notre Dame is the place for you after visiting, we don't need you. Not that we didn't (or still don't) want him here - we do. We just don't want to trick kids into committing here unless they are ready to bleed blue and gold.

To get a sense of what I mean, read this quote:

"Sitting there and looking at stuff, I just got the feeling that this is the place for me. I didn't get a feeling like that from anywhere else as much as Notre Dame. 'This is the spot for me. This is a place I can have a career and keep going.' It was just a good school for me to go to."

That's the nation's top wide receiver prospect Michael Floyd, who was joined this week by another top receiver in Deion Walker of Christchurch, VA. Add in Goodman (who caught the winning TD in the Army All-American Bowl Saturday), and you've got the best receiving class in the country by a wide margin headed to Notre Dame.

Does losing Hunter hurt? Sure. Are we a better football program today because of his decommitment? Absolutely.