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11 recruits visiting campus this weekend

Pat Leonard | Friday, January 16, 2004

Tyrone Willingham and his coaching staff secured a top-five recruiting class last winter. A 10-3 season and the coined ‘Return to Glory’ of the Notre Dame football program was attractive enough to lure the talent of immediate impact players such as starting quarterback Brady Quinn and defensive end Victor Abiamiri.

The 2008 Notre Dame football recruiting class contains few players like an Abiamiri or Quinn who could have such an impact save maybe Grand Rapids, Mich. running back Justin Hoskins, according to Irish Insider columnist Mike Frank.

This weekend the Irish continue to plug away at the remaining talent pool, welcoming 11 players – including three verbal commitments – on official visits.

Hoskins, offensive tackle Chauncey Incarnato and defensive back Tregg Duerson are all players who have committed verbally but are still making the trip on the first of three weekends the coaches have remaining to sell Notre Dame.

Cornerback Courtney Grixby headlines the remainder of the visiting players.

Grixby, 5-foot-9, 160 pounds, was an explosive quarterback at Central High School in Omaha, Neb. He threw for over 1,200 yards and ran for 800 yards, scoring 14 touchdowns. He also played defensive back on third-and-long situations. In fact, Grixby’s versatility already has coaches brainstorming.

“Notre Dame has started to talk to Courtney about playing receiver,” Frank said. “With the ball in his hands, he is just a deadly player. After the staff looked at his film, they knew they wanted him to have the ball in his hands.”

Nate Lyles, a hard-hitting, 6-foot, 185 pound cornerback, and cornerback Junior Jabbie (5-foot-11, 175 pounds), a late prep-school find out of Parlin, N.J., are two other defensive backfield prospects. Lyles would most likely play safety due to his style of play, and, according to Frank, Jabbie is now talking about switching his intentions to playing running back.

Lyles is one of Notre Dame’s initial offers from the beginning of the recruiting process. Also making visits are offensive guard Jaimie Thomas, running back Samson Taylor and linebackers Maurice Crum, Ronnie Palmer and Justin Brown.

Thomas, a 6-foot-4, 320 pound guard from Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg, Penn., has visited Maryland and Tennessee already.

Notre Dame has already offered Crum a scholarship, although the Florida native is still deciding between the Irish, Michigan State and Tennessee.

Frank thinks the weather in South Bend could be a factor in possibly shying away the 6-foot, 214 pounder.

“Crum is looking forward to visiting,” Frank said. “But with a Florida kid, it’s always hard to know how they’ll accept the environment.”

Palmer is a middle linebacker out of Houston who Frank believes will be a challenge to lure.

“He just visited Arizona and came away very impressed,” Frank said. “Notre Dame has to really impress him, [because] he’s the type of guy you want on your team. He’s a middle linebacker with good size and good speed.”

The final visitor, 6-4, 215 pound linebacker Justin Brown could have potential at linebacker or defensive end. His size reminds Frank of Justin Tuck as an incoming freshman.