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Football Recruiting: Frazer, Jones bear responsibility for strong group

Mike Gilloon | Thursday, February 2, 2006

It’s only been about 24 hours since Irish coach Charlie Weis secured the signatures of the recruiting class of 2010. But the quality of this group of Notre Dame commitments has likely been assured since last August.

That was when quarterback Demetrius Jones delivered a verbal commitment to Weis, giving the Irish another blue-chip signal-caller in addition to Pennsylvania product Zach Frazer. But Notre Dame received more than a couple highly-rated quarterbacks – it got a pair of athletes that “went out of their way” to encourage other high school standouts to come to South Bend and make this a consensus top-five recruiting class.

“These were guys that we identified very early in the [recruiting] process,” Weis said at a press conference Wednesday announcing the Irish crop. “We feel that we’ve got two great leaders in [Jones and Frazer]. Both [of them] went out of their way on their own to encourage other guys to be a part of this class like true leaders would do.”

One member of the group of 27 who can attest to his future coach’s statement is Darrin Walls.

A four-star cornerback out of Pittsburgh, Walls said Jones and Frazer were both concerned that Walls might be leaning toward committing to Florida before he verballed to Notre Dame last October.

“I talked to [Jones] throughout the process,” Walls said in an interview with The Observer Wednesday. “He just wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to Florida. Zach was on me about coming [to Notre Dame] too.”

In all, 17 Irish recruits verbally committed after Jones – who The Observer could not reach for comment Wednesday – gave his word on Aug. 15. Frazer had been committed since April 14.

While both have done their part to help the Irish load up on talent, only one of them can hold the starting quarterback role for Notre Dame in the future.

Frazer is the purer passer of the two, as he set the Pennsylvania state record with 3,674 yards passing as a junior at Mechanicsburgh High School.

He then struggled in 2005, going 140-for-253 with 1,839 yards, 9 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.

Meanwhile Jones led his Morgan Park High School squad to an Illinois state title this past season.

He tallied 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns passing along with 1,000 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground during his senior year at the Chicago Public League high school.

While Frazer’s stock dropped a bit after his subpar senior season – most of his national accolades came between his junior and senior years – there is no question in the Notre Dame camp about the ability of both quarterbacks.

“Demetrius, he can throw and he can run,” Irish wide receiver recruit Richard Jackson said Wednesday. “Zach is more of a pure passer. It’s like having Brady Quinn in two people.”

“They’re both really good people as well as players,” Walls said.

“I expect both of them to come in and compete. It’ll be an interesting battle but I think both can lead the team to a national title.”