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Football Recruiting: Parker, Roberson, Utupo to visit

Matt Gamber | Thursday, September 3, 2009

Though game planning for Nevada has surely occupied the Irish coaching staff all week, there’s no doubt a few Notre Dame assistants will be thinking about, and keeping an eye on, two major recruits this weekend.

Four-star safety Sean Parker and three-star running back Cameron Roberson will both be in attendance Saturday as they make their official visits to campus for Notre Dame’s matchup with the Wolfpack.

Parker, a 6-foot, 185-pound safety out of Harbor City, Calif., has nearly 30 scholarship offers and is likely months away from making his college choice. But Irish recruiting expert Mike Frank thinks Notre Dame is a legitimate contender for Parker, who posted 68 tackles, five interceptions, two sacks and two fumble recoveries as a junior at Narbonne High.

“He’s a big, big-time player, and Notre Dame needs safeties pretty bad. He’s very vital to Notre Dame’s recruiting efforts,” said Frank, who heads the online ESPN affiliate Irish Sports Daily. “I expect him to take all his visits and be a late-decision type of guy, but he’s as good as you’re going to find.”

Most of the nationally-prominent programs are on Parker’s radar, though Frank said he believes the high school senior is high on Michigan and is rather open to leaving his home state of California.

“He’ll probably play free safety because of how well he can run. He could play corner, but he’s a big body, too,” Frank said. “He’s a tremendous talent and I think he’s one of the very top players in the country. He’s as elite as you’re going to get.”

At 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, Roberson is a bruising back out of Newbury Park, Calif., where he rushed for 18 touchdowns as a junior at Newbury Park High. Notre Dame and Northwestern represent Roberson’s top four, though Washington and Arizona were also on his radar, Frank said.

“There’s a chance he’d commit this weekend, but he’ll probably wait to take a visit to Northwestern to figure out his situation,” Frank said. “He’ll figure out what school he really likes.”

Three-star commit Justin Utupo will also be on campus this weekend. The Lakewood, Calif., defensive lineman committed on July 6 without ever visiting campus. He recorded 10 sacks as a junior at Lakewood High.

As an aside, Tuesday was the first day coaches could extend scholarship offers to the high school class of 2011. Irish coach Charlie Weis and his staff offered nearly 25 scholarships on opening day, compared to a previous high of five, Frank said.

“They’re way ahead of pace from where they were in previous years, and the staff did a tremendous job of getting prepared for this year,” Frank said. “They did a real good job of researching, finding top players in the country who have a really good shot at qualifying [academically at Notre Dame].

“Getting in on these kids early is very important, and Weis understands that. It should certainly have a positive effect.”