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Football Recruiting: Recruits happy to learn that Weis will continue to coach ND

Lorenzo Reyes | Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Among the chaos and confusion that a potential coaching change brings, one thing was made certain about Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis during perhaps his moment of greatest adversity in his four-year career – despite his struggles on the field, Weis can recruit.

After the disappointing Irish loss at the hands of Southern California, Weis and the rest of the coaching staff hit the recruiting trail to attempt and convince potential commits that the program was in sure hands.

With the uncertainty surrounding the head coaching position, most of the high-school prospects currently committed to Notre Dame were hearing recruiting pitches from rival programs. Mike Frank, who covers Notre Dame football for Scout.com, knows that Irish commits were bombarded with these sorts of comments.

“I think, originally, they were hearing a bunch of things,” Frank said. “Stuff like, ‘Coach Weis is not going to be back, he’s not going to be coaching them,’ and I think the big thing was when Notre Dame finally came out and said something, it made a lot of people more comfortable with their situation.”

Frank said he feels that this is the nature of high school recruiting – especially when a season doesn’t quite live up to expectations.

“Well kids are going to be hearing things from other schools whether you have a 6-6 record or a 9-3 record or even a 11-0 record,” Frank said. “That’s the nature of the beast. I can’t remember too many recruiting classes that have gone by where Notre Dame didn’t lose one of their committed players at one point, but they usually gain some guy that nobody knows about as well.”

Despite all the other programs attempts to get in the committed players’ ears, the Irish coaching staff can restore the

“The big thing is, I think you have to battle it from the word ‘go’ and say, ‘look, here’s what people are going to be saying about us and what’s happening here and here’s why what they’re saying is not true,’ so I think you have to battle it head on and let people know what is coming,” Frank said. “The big thing is staying on top of recruits that they have committed and let them know what to expect because there will be plenty of negative recruiting from now until February.”

To combat these negative pitches aimed at the Irish program, Weis and his staff have focused on giving recruits personal attention with in-home visits.

“Coach Weis has never been a guy to stand on the sidelines when it comes to recruiting,” Frank said. “He works extremely hard. He’s probably the hardest working coach I’ve ever seen at Notre Dame. When it comes to recruiting, I think his motto is ‘Hey, I wouldn’t ask anybody to do something that I wasn’t willing to do,’ and I think that it really speaks volumes about him. The fact that he has this bum knee and he packs his things up and flies across the country to see just one guy.”

Although the 2008 Notre Dame season certainly won’t be labeled as anything near ideal status, there is one thing the Irish can do to make at least a small stride on the recruiting trail – a bowl win.

“I think it’s really important,” Frank said. “For the 2009 kids to see Notre Dame bounce back from a rough stretch and get things back in order. I don’t think it will make or break anything but for the 2010 kids, they were off to a tremendous start with the 2010 kids. They’re in really god position with some of the elite guys and I’m not sure what kind of damage a 6-6 season can do. I know one thing – a win will certainly help. What they can’t have is to see ‘Notre Dame keeps its bowl losing streak alive’ all over ESPN and that’s the kind of thing you need to avoid, so it’s very important for the future of the program to win this game.”