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Football Recruiting: Coaches snatch receiver recruit

Lorenzo Reyes | Friday, October 3, 2008

Just as the Tennessee Volunteers were parting ways with wide receiver prospect Nyshier Oliver, Notre Dame was there to swoop him up. Back in August, the multi-talented athlete out of Jersey City, N.J. decommitted from the Volunteers and went back on the recruiting market.

The Irish offered him a scholarship the next day, and immediately became contenders. He is listed as a four-star safety on Scout.com, but Notre Dame likes him as a wideout. After his visit during the Michigan game on Sept. 13, Oliver had been blown away and wanted a couple of weeks to clear his mind and make his decision. Yesterday afternoon, he made it official and called coach Charlie Weis to give him his verbal commitment.

Mike Frank, who covers Notre Dame football for Scout.com said Oliver will fit right in with the offense and sees flashes of one of the current Irish playmakers in the St. Peter’s Preparatory High School product.

“I think it’s a big commit,” Frank said. “He can change field position in a hurry. I think he’s got a lot of Golden Tate in him in the way that he can stretch the field and go deep. A big, big part of it was the visit. He thought that this was a school were he could see himself at and doing some things on the field.”

Other recruits on campus this weekend:

Shaquelle Evans

As the closing seconds ticked away for the Purdue Boilermakers at Notre Dame Stadium last Saturday, an odd chant could be heard from the student section.

Many were bewildered as to why hundreds of students from sections 31 and 32 were yelling, “dump SC, dump SC,” with enthusiasm. One person who heard the cheer loudly and is well aware of its context is high school senior Shaquelle Evans.

The star wide receiver from Inglewood High School in California is a soft verbal commit to the University of Southern California, but still considering his options. Last Saturday, Evans was in South Bend on his official visit to check out the Irish.

As he underwent the Notre Dame experience, he came away impressed with both the football program and the atmosphere surrounding the campus. Some of the students even ventured to ask if the blue-chip prospect wanted to be hoisted in the air for 14 pushups following an Irish score in the second quarter.

Frank said this visit is just what the Irish needed to get back into the race for Evans.

“ND is in great shape with Shaquelle after the visit,” Frank said. “It all boils down to whether or not he wants to leave his home. He knows that the Irish are building something, and they could use a receiver like him, because he’s a special player and can change a game with one play.”

So did the Irish coaching staff do enough to pry him away from Southern California?

“I think it’s down to ND or SC,” Frank said. “One of those two. It’s hard to say at this point. He’s battling that in his mind now and it’s going to come down to distance. He told me that sometimes you have to leave your home, though, to grow up and mature. That sentence right there let’s me know that he’s strongly considering the Irish.”

Zeke Motta

Motta, a four-star safety out of Vero Beach High School, has turned heads lately and will be on campus this weekend. The Irish liked what they saw early on in the process.

It all started in early July when Motta visited Notre Dame to partake in a football camp for high school talents. Weis and the rest of the coaching staff were impressed and extended him an offer shortly after. Since then, the Irish have been in the list of favorites for the safety’s signature.

Frank said his official visit on Saturday could swing the momentum in favor of the Irish.

“I think it’s going to be really important,” he said. “He likes Notre Dame a great deal. The staff likes him too. He’s a great blitzer, and has the type of body that could develop down the road into a linebacker.

“Playing for coach [Corwin] Brown is something that he is fond of, and if he were to switch to linebacker, coach [Jon] Tenuta is just as an attractive option. I think he’s one of the most underrated football prospects out there in the nation right now. He’s a fast kid, but more importantly, he’s a great football player.”

Also visiting

A pair of verbal commits will also be in attendance this Saturday against Stanford including running back Cierre Wood and cornerback Marlon Pollard. Wood is considered one of the best halfback prospects in the nation and has put up some imposing stats thus far in his senior season at Santa Clara High School in Oxnard, Ca.

Through four games, Wood has amassed 54 carries for 751 yards resulting in an impressive average of 13.9 yards per carry to go along with 10 touchdowns. The five-star running back also has four catches for 100 yards and two receiving touchdowns in addition to one completion for 28 yards and a touchdown.

Pollard also comes from California, out of Cajon High School.

Another class of 2010 prospect will be visiting Notre Dame for the Stanford contest is running back Anthony Barr. Out of Loyola High School located in Los Angeles, Ca., Barr is an impressive back with imposing physical gifts. Frank said Barr could be the top-ranked player in the state of California next year, thanks in part to his speed that goes with his 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame.

Barr has ties to Notre Dame, as he is Tony Brooks’ son, and nephew to Reggie Brooks, both Irish greats in their own time. Because of this connection to the Irish, Frank said Notre Dame could be in the early lead to land the talent