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Recruits visit campus before, during weekend

Douglas Farmer | Thursday, April 22, 2010

Throughout its first month on campus, the Irish coaching staff focused on the recruiting class that will join Notre Dame in the coming fall. As soon as National Signing Day passed in February, the coaches refocused their efforts on making up the ground lost in recruiting battles for members of the high school Class of 2011.

“We were way behind after Signing Day … It wasn’t just getting through last recruiting season, it was starting our next one,” recruiting coordinator Chuck Martin said. “We’ve caught up to a large extent, and now we’ve just got to keep plowing away. I really feel like we’ve closed the gap.”

With about a dozen recruits visiting campus for the Blue-Gold Game, this weekend could be a big step in closing that gap Irish recruiting analyst Mike Frank said.

“This is going to be a pretty exciting weekend for Notre Dame,” said Frank, who runs the ESPN-affiliated website irishsportsdaily.com. “There are some big-time players coming in, and there is a chance they could get some commitments this weekend.”

Chicago-area wide receiver DaVaris Daniels could potentially commit this weekend. He is one of the most-sought after players in the country, and his offer list includes the likes of Alabama, Cincinnati and Michigan.

“[Daniels] fits perfectly into Brian Kelly’s system,” Frank said. “They aren’t going to take a whole lot of wide receivers in this class, maybe two at the most. So getting his commitment would be pretty big, and allow them to focus on other positions.”

The most likely to commit before leaving campus this weekend is linebacker Jarrett Grace, from Cincinnati.

Linebacker Sean Duggan, another Cincinnati native, and offensive lineman Conor Hanratty were both raised on Irish football lore by fathers who graduated from Notre Dame. Hanratty’s father, Terry Hanratty, quarterbacked the Irish to the 1966 National Championship.

“[Conor is] coming this weekend, and I think he gets in Thursday, so he’ll be here awhile,” Frank said. “Who knows if he’ll pull the trigger or not, but I think Notre Dame has a real good chance at landing him.”

Quarterback Bubba Starling visited the Irish early in the week, departing Tuesday, and afterward listed Notre Dame as one of the top five schools he is considering, along with Alabama, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

“I think Notre Dame would like to get a quarterback,” Frank said. “I think he’s a guy that they’re pretty high on. They really like him a lot, a tremendous talent that needs to be fine tuned a little bit.”

Cornerback Matthias Farley also visited earlier in the week and committed to Notre Dame Wednesday.