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Recruiting: Versatile recruits visit Notre Dame

Allan Joseph | Thursday, September 15, 2011

Two multi-position players already committed to Notre Dame will headline this week’s crop of visiting recruits, Irish recruiting expert Mike Frank said.

Texas cornerback Nicky Baratti will take his official visit this weekend, and while he has been recruited to the Irish on the basis of his secondary play, Baratti continues to turn heads on the offensive side of the ball.

“He’s really being recruited as a safety at Notre Dame, but if he continues to play well at quarterback they’re going to have to take a look at him because he’s a heck of an athlete,” said Frank, who runs the ESPN-affiliated Irish Sports Daily. “This is a great athlete, a guy who has lots of quickness and speed and also really good size.”

Maryland cornerback Ronald Darby, who has also committed to Notre Dame, will also take his official visit this weekend. While he has played well as a running back, Darby will probably stay a defensive back when he joins the Irish.

“He’s a guy who could possibly play some running back, [but] Notre Dame really liked him on the secondary side,” Frank said. “He’s a big corner, and he’s got blazing, blazing speed. He’s not just a track guy, he’s a really good football player as well. He’s really important to this class.”

Two heavily recruited but uncommitted offensive players will also visit campus this weekend, including Ohio running back William Mahone.

“Mahone’s the exact type of back [the Irish] need right now,” Frank said. “He’s a between-the-tackles running, [and] he’s got really, really nice quickness. He’ll be a guy who can pound it in the middle and do a lot of the heavy lifting in the running game.”

Mahone could become the latest addition to Notre Dame’s 2012 class as soon as this weekend.

“He likes Notre Dame quite a bit,” Frank said. “I would say that it’s possible he commits this weekend, but I wouldn’t say probable.”

South Carolina receiver Chris Brown will take in this weekend’s matchup, and Frank says that the interest regional teams have shown in Brown speaks to his ability.

“One way we judge players besides watching film is whether the local teams have offered,” Frank said. “If you look at Chris Brown’s offer list, really everybody around that area … is hot after him.”

Three other commits from Notre Dame’s 2012 class will visit campus again this weekend, including long snapper Scott Daly, athlete David Perkins and defensive tackle Sheldon Day.

Frank said Notre Dame’s recruiting efforts should not be greatly hampered by its 35-31 loss at Michigan last week.

“A lot of those kids at Michigan were already committed to Michigan,” Frank said. “At the same time, a lot of those guys will be at Notre Dame this weekend.”

On the other hand, the environment of last week’s matchup did help Michigan in its competition with Notre Dame for some of the same players.

“Anytime you can get a big-time environment like that, and you can pull off an improbable win, that’s always going to help you in recruiting,” Frank said. “The Michigan staff wouldn’t want that to happen any other way. That’s as good as you can draw up when you have recruits in town.”

Most importantly for the Irish, Frank said many of the recruits may see an opportunity to join a Notre Dame squad that lost each of its first two games by close margins.

“These recruits are smart enough to realize that [the Irish] are just a few mistakes away from being a fantastic football team, and maybe [the recruits] can be the difference between being really good and really great.”

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.