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Recruiting: Visitors impressed by MSU win

Matt Gamber | Thursday, September 24, 2009

Notre Dame was a big hit in the eyes of the three recruits who made official visits to campus for the Michigan State – but that could have changed rather quickly had Kyle McCarthy’s late interception not secured a dramatic Irish victory.

As Notre Dame continues to battle some of the nation’s top programs for the country’s best prospects, there is no better recruiting tool than winning, Irish recruiting expert Mike Frank said.

“At the end of the day, the very elite kids want to go play for a winner, a place where they’ll win a lot of games and challenge for a national championship,” said Frank, who runs the ESPN affiliate irishsportsdaily.com. “Notre Dame needs to show these kids they’re an elite school, that they’ll be playing in these BCS games in the near future.”

Though home games are typically much more important than away games in terms of recruiting, the state of the Notre Dame program – and particularly rumors concerning Charlie Weis’ future that circulated at the end of last season – is on the radar of recruits whether the Irish are at home or on the road.

“There are a lot of kids right now keeping a very close eye on Notre Dame and their season,” Frank said. “Charlie Weis has done a good job, but I think a lot of players are looking at it and saying, ‘Hey, we want to see if they’re going to win there.'”

Saturday’s win over the Spartans certainly went a long way in securing a commitment from safety prospect David Amerson, one of the top players on the Irish coaches’ recruiting board. Frank said Amerson, who is choosing between Notre Dame and North Carolina State, has been quiet since his visit, “which is usually a good indication he’s close” to making a decision.

“From things I’ve heard, that’s probably the case,” Frank said. “I think Notre Dame did a great job and he’s very impressed with the whole situation. I’ve got to feel that because he’s been so quiet, chances are he’s probably in decision mode, or at least trying to figure out what his next step is.”

Defensive tackle Louis Nix remains a prime target despite his status as a Miami verbal commit. Frank said that if Nix were to waver on his decision to play for the Hurricanes – and there’s a chance he will – Notre Dame would be at the top of his list.

“Obviously they’re going to battle Miami, and there’s a couple things to overcome. One is distance, and two is he has a lot of friends with him that play or are going to play for Miami,” Frank said. “That’s the hometown school pretty much, and it’ll be tough to turn that down. But if he’s going to make a switch, it’s going to be Notre Dame.”

Defensive back Toney Hurd was also very impressed with the Irish program after his official visit. Obstacles to his commitment still exist, however, as Notre Dame remains high on a few other defensive back recruits while only having room for one, maybe two, in this class, Frank said.

“I think it’s just a matter of time and making sure things fall the right way,” Frank said. “Hurd’s a great player and a great fit, and he’d be hard to pass up. I’d be very surprised if Notre Dame didn’t land him if that’s the way it works out.”