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Herrring, Hord say ‘yes’ to Notre Dame

Mike Gilloon | Monday, January 17, 2005

D.J. Hord did not make a reception in Saturday’s Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. But the biggest grab of his life may have come at halftime when he reached into a duffel bag and pulled out a Notre Dame baseball cap, signifying his intention to play football for the Irish next season. A four-star wide receiver according to Scout.com, Hord chose Notre Dame over Kansas State and will be able to officially sign with the Irish on February 2. “I always felt comfortable with those guys,” Hord said to Mike Frank of Irisheyes.com. “I saw that Notre Dame degree and I knew I could do something with that after football.”Hord is the 12th verbal commitment to Notre Dame this year and the second commitment the Irish received in the last week after safety Ray Herring verbally committed to the Irish on Wednesday. Notre Dame’s recruiting class is currently rated 24th nationally by Scout.com. Hord, from Kansas City, caught 36 passes for 560 yards and six touchdowns his senior year at Rockhurst High School. As a junior he tallied 600 receiving yards and 10 scores. But Hord’s speed and quickness is what makes him the 10th-rated wide receiver prospect in the nation by Scout.com. He has run the 100-meter dash in 10.39 seconds and has a 35-inch vertical leap. “I’m tall and have good speed,” Hord, who is listed at 6-foot-1, 190-pounds, said to Irisheyes.com. “I’m a finesse and flashy type of player.”Herring, from Melbourne, Fla., is a three-star prospect according to Scout.com. He made 76 tackles and nine interceptions his senior year and recorded 401 tackles and 25 interceptions during his career at Holy Trinity Episcopal School. Herring ranks seventh in state history in career interceptions. He documented his experiences as a Division I recruit in the form of a diary for his local newspaper. He chose the Irish over Georgia Tech and Maryland after an emotional visit to the Notre Dame campus. “They pla-yed an ama-zing video about Notre Dame, the traditions, the athletics, the people, just a really inspiring video that got my attention,” Herring said in “Florida Today.” “I don’t know why but I even got a little choked up.”Named to the all-state team every year in high school and carrying a 3.7 GPA, Herring thinks he will be able to handle the athletic and academic pressures at Notre Dame. “I was impressed with how much they care about you as a student as well as an athlete,” Herring said in “Florida Today.” “I like the fact that they have a 99 percent graduation rate among their football players.”Herring is only the second player from Melbourne to accept a scholarship offer from Notre Dame. The other, tight end Derrick Brown from Merritt Island Prep, signed with the Irish in 1988 and was a freshman on Notre Dame’s last national championship team. Brown went on to become a first-round draft pick of the New York Giants. After Tyrone Willingham was fired on Nov. 30, Herring’s interest in playing for the Irish wavered. But talking with Irish coach Charlie Weis and other members of the new staff alleviated any other worries that Herring might have had. “I love [Weis’] attitude and the way he expresses himself,” Herring said in “Florida Today.” “He isn’t cocky but he has real confidence in what he says. “I knew he was a coach I could see myself playing for.”Hord also felt Weis made a good impression during his campus visit the weekend of Jan. 7-8. “Before the visit I really didn’t know who the coaches were,” Hord said to Irisheyes.com. “After talking to coach Weis face to face, that was a big thing for me on the visit.”Herring is rated 48th at his safety spot by Scout.com and Rivals.com lists him as the 57th best player in Florida at any position.But recruiting rankings are only predictions and the two recruits are both eager to live up to the hype. “Everybody is starting all over since it’s a new system,” Hord said to Irisheyes.com. “I think I can come in and make something happen.”