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Football Recruiting: Lineman commits to ND

Ken Fowler | Thursday, November 9, 2006

Two top recruiting battles will be decided today, but Notre Dame got good news early in the commitment of an athletic guard.

The Irish secured their 10th verbal commitment – and second among offensive linemen – Tuesday for the class of 2011.

Emeka Nwankwo (pronounced wank-wo) of Hollywood, Fla., called Irish coach Charlie Weis to inform him of his decision.

Nwankwo is a 6-foot-5, 280-pound guard who also plays defensive line for his Chaminade Madonna College Prep team.

Mike Frank, who covers Notre Dame recruiting for IrishEyes.com, said Nwankwo’s commitment was not a surprise.

“I think Emeka always liked Notre Dame,” Frank said. “I think the big problem was convincing his parents that he should be that far away from home. It just took a little while for him to convince them it was a good thing for him.”

Frank said Nwankwo’s other top option was Florida, where the lineman’s sister goes to school.

“It would have been kind of an easier choice for him to go to Florida,” Frank said.

But Notre Dame’s academic prestige, he said, helped nab the coveted Nwankwo.

“He moves very well for a guard,” Frank said. “And he blocks very well in run-locking and pass blocking, which is something you don’t often see.

“He’s a very, very good athlete. A big man who can move very well.”

Nwankwo’s 40-yard dash time is listed at 5.20 seconds, and Frank said he is a light-footed lineman.

“It’s important because Notre Dame had only one offensive line commitment,” Frank said. “And I know they want at least four.”

The only other Irish offensive line commitment for next year is 6-foot-5, 285-pound tackle Andrew Nuss of Ashburn, Va. (Stone Bridge High School).

Wide receiver Aurelius Benn of Washington, D.C. (Dunbar High School) and linebacker Greg Little of Durham, N.C. (Hillside High School) are both expected to announce their decisions today.

Frank said he expected Little to commit to Notre Dame but Benn to go elsewhere.

Other than Notre Dame, Benn is interested in Illinois, Maryland and Florida State, with Ron Zook’s Illini considered most likely to land the nation’s top wide out recruit.

“You’ll see guys starting to trickle in now, I think,” Frank said.