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Recruiting: Over 40 recruits to visit campus

Douglas Farmer | Thursday, April 14, 2011

Having already extended more than 100 scholarship offers, Irish coach Brian Kelly will expect more than 40 recruits of the class of 2012 in town this weekend, Irish recruiting analyst Mike Frank said.

“[Notre Dame has] been doing a very good job of identifying the top players in the country,” said Frank, who runs the ESPN-affiliated website irishsportsdaily.com. “When coach Kelly got in here, he wanted to make sure they got the offers out.”

Leading the onslaught of recruits is running back Ronald Darby. Darby, who has recorded a 4.31 time in the 40-yard dash and has received offers from more than 40 BCS-conference schools.

“If he’s not the fastest player in the country, he’s certainly one of the top two or three,” Frank said of the Maryland native. “He played running back in high school, but he can play a number of positions, running back, wide receiver or cornerback.”

While Kelly and his coaching staff pursue Darby as a cornerback, another possible defensive back has their eye as well. Texan Nicky Baratti has visited Notre Dame once already — during Junior Day in February — but will be back in town this weekend for another taste of campus.

“Notre Dame is recruiting him for safety, but he also plays quarterback,” Frank said. “Right now, he’s trying to decide whether he wants to play quarterback or defensive back. He’s got a lot of big-time schools after him.”

Joining the two high-profile defensive backs this weekend will be two big-name linemen: Andrus Peat and Tommy Schutt, who is from Glen Ellyn, Ill., and will raise many eyebrows at 6-foot-3 and 305 lbs. Meanwhile, Peat, hailing from Tempe, Ariz., checks in at 6-foot-6 and 280 lbs.

“[Peat] fits exactly what they’re looking for at tackle,” Frank said. “He’s a guy that moves very, very well and has real good size. … He’s a guy that is exactly what they’re looking for. He is very high on their list with players they would like to land.”

Among the defensive backs, linemen and 30-some other recruits, two top-of-the-line receivers will also be on campus this weekend, Justin Ferguson from Pembroke Pines, Fla., and Amarah Darboh of West Des Moines, Iowa. Ferguson’s appearance in Indiana impressed Frank.

“Just to get guys from California and Florida to come up here and take a look,” Frank said. “Usually if they can get them on campus, they’ll have a good shot once the recruiting season rolls around.”

As for Darboh, Frank said the raw prospect has a very high ceiling.

“He’s a little raw as far as being polished, but you just don’t see his size and his speed together very often,” he said. “For a player to have both is certainly a plus.”

With so many recruits in town, along with at least a dozen members of the class of 2011, Frank said the Irish fans will be in the spotlight more than usual.

“[The recruits are] looking for fan support,” he said. “How excited and crazy are the fans about their football team?

“It’s a good way for these prospects to get to know Notre Dame’s players — to actually come and hang out with Notre Dame’s players … whether they feel like they fit in well with the players and the team and enjoy hanging out with them.”


For more on Notre Dame recruiting, check out Mike Frank’s irishsportsdaily.com. Email Mike at [email protected] and tell him The Observer sent you.