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Recruits excited about Weis tenure

Mike Gilloon | Tuesday, December 14, 2004

As new Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis walked through the Joyce Center doors Sunday night a large Super Bowl ring sparkled on his right ring finger. Apparently it caught the eye of Irish recruits.

Marshall, Mich. quarterback Evan Sharpley was enthusiastic at the idea of playing under a man who developed New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady from a sixth-round draft pick to Super Bowl MVP.

“He has a great track record,” Sharpley said. “Pretty much everywhere he’s gone he’s done pretty well. It’s fun to watch him on Sundays as the Patriots have an exciting offense and they use their players well.”

The combination of being on the coaching staff of three Super Bowl winning teams along with running one of the best offenses in the NFL is another selling point.

“He’s a pretty good head coach,” Hartford, Conn. fullback Asaph Schwapp said. “He really has the experience. He’s done a heck of a job in the NFL. It’s pretty exciting to know that he’s won a couple Super Bowls.”

Highland Park, Ill. linebacker Scott Smith agreed with his future teammates.

“I’m definitely excited that they found a guy like coach Weis to come in,” he said. “I don’t know much about him but I’m looking forward to getting a chance to talk with him.”

David Bruton, a safety from Miamisburg, Ohio, wasn’t as thrilled as Sharpley but still felt Notre Dame made a good choice.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Bruton said. “I still don’t know much about him or how he coaches or his personality or anything like that.”

When contacted none of the recruits said Weis had talked to them. However, both Sharpley and Smith indicated that they were expecting a call from Weis sometime Monday night.

“I’m looking forward to that call,” Sharpley said.

Sharpley, who carries a 3.97 GPA, phoned a number of players who have already given their verbal commitments to the Irish and other potential recruits after Weis was hired.

“I called some guys [Sunday] to see what their opinions were,” he said. “A lot of guys were excited. I mean, who wouldn’t be?”

One player Sharpley specifically mentioned was Kansas City, Mo. wide receiver D.J. Hord. He has an official visit scheduled with Notre Dame but Nebraska, Oklahoma and LSU are among the schools competing with the Irish for Hord.

“I’m talking to him a lot right now,” Sharpley said. “It will be good if we can get him here in the next couple of days.”

One of the potential drawbacks to Weis is his lack of collegiate experience. His only time spent at the college level was as a graduate assistant and assistant recruiting coordinator at South Carolina from 1985-88.

“He has the NFL experience, yes, but now he’s with a college team,” Bruton said. “I figure that it will be different [for Weis].”

On the other hand, Smith does not see any problems with Weis’ coaching experience.

“I don’t think [Weis’ lack of college experience] is a negative at all,” he said. “Just look at what he’s done as a professional coach. He’s won a couple of Super Bowls.”

So far the only verbal recruit to totally retract his commitment from Notre Dame is Dayton, Ohio defensive back Brandon Harrison. Lawrence Wilson, a defensive end from Akron, Ohio, has taken away his verbal commitment but still has the Irish on his list along with Ohio State, Pittsburgh and Michigan.

Harrison is considering Michigan and Iowa.