FOOTBALL RECRUITING: Notre Dame hot on tight end Reuland’s recruiting trail
Joe Meixell | Tuesday, December 6, 2005
Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis has made national waves while leading Notre Dame to a BCS bowl bid. And Mission Viejo, Calif. tight end Konrad Reuland, one of the nation’s top recruits, has taken notice.
“[Weis] has turned a program around in a year from an average team to a powerhouse team,” Reuland said in a phone interview with The Observer Monday night. “With just the way he carries himself, his self confidence, it just seems like you know and he knows that he’s going to get it done.
“They are going to be a dominant team over the next couple of years.”
Reuland said he has developed a close relationship with Weis and special teams coach Brian Polian, the Notre Dame assistant in charge of recruiting Reuland. The two Irish coaches visited Reuland at his home on Nov. 27.
“It went well. We had a really good time,” Reuland said of the visit. “[Weis] stayed over for a while and had dinner. It was really a good time. I enjoyed it, and I think he did, too.”
Reuland has narrowed his list of college choices to Notre Dame, Southern California and UCLA. The Mission Viejo High product plans on announcing his verbal commitment in the near future – possibly as early as this weekend, he said, but definitely by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 7.
Recruits cannot sign letters of intent until February, but Mike Frank of Irisheyes.com thinks the Irish have an excellent shot at landing Reuland.
“I would be very, very surprised if he went anywhere but Notre Dame,” Frank said Monday night.
Reuland took an official visit to Notre Dame for the Navy game on Nov. 12. The tight end came away impressed with the game day atmosphere and the passion of the Notre Dame students and fans.
Reuland is consistently rated as one of the country’s top players. Rivals.com gives him five stars and ranks him as the top tight end and the No. 42 player overall in the nation. The tight end also receives five stars from Scout.com, who rates Reuland as the No.2 tight end nationally.
Weis has secured 22 known verbal commitments. Reuland would be an excellent addition to an already highly thought of Irish class and the second tight end to commit to Notre Dame.
“Anytime you can pick up a five-star player, you are doing well,” Frank said. “Notre Dame targeted two tight ends this year – [Reuland] and [current Irish commit] Paddy Mullen. If they land [Reuland], then they landed the two top guys that they wanted.”
Notre Dame’s competition does have one obvious advantage in the recruitment of Reuland, though – location.
Southern California and UCLA are both a short drive from the tight end’s home in Mission Viejo. But Reuland insists he is not afraid to leave the warm weather of Southern California.
“I definitely think I can handle the cold,” Reuland said. “I lived in Germany in eighth grade, so I’m used to it. Ideally, I’d rather have it like Southern California – great weather all the time. But it’s not going to sway my decision either way.”
Reuland is attracted to different aspects of each of his final three schools. The tight end said he knows he would enjoy playing under head coach Pete Carroll at Southern California.
“It seems like they really have fun over there – everybody on the team,” Reuland said. “[Carroll] would just be a great guy to play for.”
UCLA coach Karl Dorrell and his coaching staff have caught Reuland’s attention with the use of their tight ends, particularly senior Marcedes Lewis. Lewis – along with Notre Dame tight end Anthony Fasano – is one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award, which is given to the top tight end in the nation each season.
“They definitely have it going from a tight end standpoint,” Reuland said of the Bruins.
One specific aspect of Notre Dame’s program has stood out for Reuland – the head coach himself. The tight end cited Weis as the main draw to South Bend
“They’ve shown me a lot of commitment,” Reuland said of the Notre Dame staff. “[Weis] has done a really good job recruiting me.”
Like most recruits, Reuland dreams of playing in the NFL after college. Reuland said he is confident Weis would do an excellent job preparing him for the next level.
“That’s something I want to do is play in the NFL. And Coach Weis is a great link to the NFL,” Reuland said. “He knows so many people. I really feel he could do a real good job of putting me up in the NFL.”
Fasano hosted Reuland on the second night of his official visit to Notre Dame. Reuland said Fasano is exactly the type of tight end he would like to be in college – one who excels in both the passing and running game.
“I’d definitely like to be a balanced tight end like him,” Reuland said. “That would be ideal for me. I just want to be a balanced tight end instead of more of a receiving tight end.”
Frank believes Reuland has already achieved that balance, adding tremendous blocking to his already great receiving skills this season. Frank said Reuland will remind Irish fans of a combination of Fasano and backup tight end John Carlson.
“He’s got the height and the athletic ability of Carlson, who might be a little bit more fluid than Fasano,” Frank said. “But he also has Fasano’s toughness and his blocking ability, so he’s kind of really a combination of both those guys.
“He’s a tremendous player.”