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Football: Recruits stay true to struggling ND

Chris Hine | Thursday, October 11, 2007

For a 1-5 team that has the No. 1 incoming class in the country, according to top Web sites, no news is good news on the recruiting front.”That’s the best news you can get,” said Mike Frank, who covers Notre Dame recruiting for irisheyes.com. “You’re hopeful, if nothing else, you hang on to these guys that you have, but there are still some big targets out there.”Over the past few weeks, none of Notre Dame’s 19 verbal commitments for the Class of 2012 have defected and taken back their intent to attend Notre Dame despite the team’s 1-5 start. “We’ve spoken with pretty much all of them recently and they all seem very solid,” Frank said. “There are a few that are getting hit with a lot of phone calls from various coaching staffs around the country, and they’ve been getting a lot of mail. But everyone now seems to be very solid.” Frank said Notre Dame’s first win of the season last weekend against UCLA helped take some of the pressure off Notre Dame’s coaching staff and the recruits themselves. “You know they have a lot of people giving them a hard time about Notre Dame’s season and stuff like that and I think a win really helps Notre Dame and the staff by just quieting some of that for a week,” Frank said. “They’re starting to turn around and play better and that’s a big plus. People are seeing Notre Dame is not as bad as people think.”Even though the Irish have a class filled with four- and five-star recruits, Frank said the coaching staff still has some holes to fill.”In my opinion, they need to land two more wide receivers, a running back and at least one more offensive lineman to kind of close this class out,” Frank said. “I think if they can get those four players, anything else would just be icing on the cake.”Notre Dame has offered scholarships to three running backs who have not yet verbally committed to any school – Cyrus Gray, Ryan Williams and Chris Harper. High on Notre Dame’s list of receivers are Virginia native Deion Walker and Saint Paul, Minn., native Michael Floyd, the No. 6 and No. 7 receivers nationally, according to scout.com. “They need elite receivers,” Frank said. “Right now they’re in on some elite receivers that they have a very good shot at.”On the offensive line, the Irish are pursuing Trevor Robertson from Elkhorn, Neb. Robertson originally committed to Nebraska, but later took back his commitment.Frank said USC’s 24-23 loss to Stanford last season could hold repercussions for the Trojans when they try to recruit outside of their backyard in Southern California.”This year, I don’t think it’ll affect them too much, but where it might impact is probably in next year’s class,” Frank said. “The last 10 or 11 games they’ve played, they lost a couple. They’re not as unbeatable as they once were. When they’re not in the national championship game, they’re just like everybody else.”That bodes well for Notre Dame. Notre Dame has commitments for next year’s class from all around the country, and a weakened USC could benefit the Irish next year as well. “[USC is] doing really well still with the top players in California and probably always will, but when it comes to competing for guys maybe out of the state – USC has done a really nice job of bringing guys in from out of state – [the loss to Stanford] probably impact more guys like that more than it probably will the Southern California kids, where they do the majority of their recruiting,” Frank said.