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Weis at the Wheel

Mike Gilloon | Thursday, February 3, 2005

The timing was as good as a Tom Brady-to-David Givens screen pass. Just seconds before Irish coach Charlie Weis was going to announce his inaugural recruiting class, his cell phone rang. And a cellular rendition of the Notre Dame Victory March squeaked through the teleconference speakers. He didn’t answer his phone, but a message had been sent to everyone following college football – Charlie Weis is ready to coach at Notre Dame.

No, the recruiting class that Weis announced is not very highly rated. But it’s not for a lack of effort on his part. Asked if he has been on the phone “every day all the time” Weis responded affirmatively.

“Tbat’s really what I’ve been doing,” Weis said via satellite from New England’s Super Bowl headquarters in Jacksonville. “In some cases it helped, some it didn’t help.”

Weis’ effort landed few big name recruits. But if anyone can get football players to play better than experts expect, it’s Weis.

Brady, his Patriot protégé, was a sixth-round pick out of Michigan before meeting Weis and winning two Super Bowls, with a third possibly on the way.

That is why Irish fans should be excited about Weis. The class of 2009 is full of athletes with huge potential and small egos. They are the type of players Weis has said all along he wants – tough and nasty guys with a driving will to win. Just like Tom Brady.

If Weis can get production out of multiple time all-state selections like defensive back Ray Herring and defensive tackle Pat Kuntz like he got out of Brady, he will succeed.

The problem with Notre Dame teams in the past decade is they have consistently underachieved. Davie and Willingham were like blind men driving a Mercedes. The talent was there, but they drove it into a wall.

This class is not the standard for Notre Dame recruiting. With a chance to build strong relationships next year, Weis will bring baskets of blue chippers to South Bend. And he will not waste that talent.

Imagine Weis behind the wheel of the Notre Dame Mercedes. With Parade All-American offensive lineman under the hood and five-star wide receivers in the gas tank, even the Trojan Horse might have trouble keeping up.

Contact Mike Gilloon at mgilloon@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Observer.