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Linemen give their word

Mike Gilloon | Thursday, January 13, 2005

Notre Dame received a verbal commitment from one of the top high school quarterbacks in the country this summer. Six months later, the Irish have found some players to protect him.Offensive linemen Paul Duncan and Michael Turkovich are the ninth and 10th additions to Charlie Weis’ first Irish recruiting class after making their verbal commitments during a visit to campus this past weekend.Notre Dame quarterback recruit Evan Sharpley was excited by the decision of his future teammates.”They’re a couple of big dudes,” Sharpley said. “They should really be able to help our team out.”Duncan, from East Paulding High School in Dallas, Ga, is rated the 20th-best lineman in the nation and has earned a four-star rating from Scout.com. Standing 6-foot-6 and weighing 288 pounds, he is projected to play offensive tackle for the Irish.”What I like about Notre Dame is the tradition they have and the academics that are so strong,” Duncan said on Scout.com. “I feel that Notre Dame can get back to what it once was and the excitement involved in that is pretty enticing.”Mike Frank of Irisheyes.com believes Duncan is a promising player. “He was wanted by a lot of big-time schools like Oklahoma and LSU,” Frank said. “He is a huge pick-up for Notre Dame.”After playing tight end during most of his career at Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Penn., Turkovich will move down the line and play offensive tackle for Notre Dame. The three-star prospect gained 50 pounds in order to play tackle during his senior year at Valley Forge after three years as a tight end. “I committed because of the education and I believe in what coach Weis is going to do,” Turkovich said to Irisheyes.com. “I believe in him. I think very good things are on the way for Notre Dame.”Neither player will be committed officially to the Irish until they sign their national letters of intent in early February. Duncan is successful off the field as well, carrying a 3.4 GPA and a 1090 SAT. His choice came down to Notre Dame and Duke. LSU was in the running for him until Nick Saban resigned to coach the Miami Dolphins. Turkovich had his prospective schools narrowed down to Boston College, Wisconsin and Notre Dame before his commitment to the Irish. “He’s quick footed and a really solid player,” Frank said. A handful of prospects will be making their college choices known this weekend at halftime of the Army All-America Bowl in San Antonio. Among these high school stars will be wide receiver D.J. Hord from Rockhurst High in Kansas City. The 10-ranked player at his position according to Scout.com, Hord has narrowed his list to Kansas State and Notre Dame. “It was so much fun,” Hord said to ESPN.com’s Tom Lemming about his recent visit to Notre Dame. “I met a lot of players, Coach Weis was a really nice guy. I finally got to meet him face to face with my family. Overall, it was a really great experience.”