Offensive lineman Montelus headlines visits
Chris Allen | Friday, April 20, 2012
The Irish welcome 20 recruits and six signees from the Class of 2012 to campus this weekend to take in the 83rd annual Blue-Gold Game. Though a number of future impact players will line the sidelines to watch the spring scrimmage, Irish recruiting expert Mike Frank said the focus this weekend is on welcoming back commitments and signees and to build chemistry among the future Irish players.
“There really isn’t a whole lot going on with recruiting this weekend,” said Frank, who runs the ESPN-affiliated Irish Sports Daily. “The big thing is that they’re going to bring a lot of guys back, a lot of guys who are committed in this class. [Quarterback] Malik Zaire and [athlete] James Onwualu and all the offensive linemen along with [cornerback] Devin Butler who recently committed will be here.”
Frank said the weekend is not as critical to recruiting as it has been in years past because of all the early commitments the Irish have received.
“Pretty much everybody who’s committed in this class minus one or two is going to be up there. Also, a lot of the 2012 class that recently signed will be up there. Notre Dame wanted to make sure those guys got together and hung out.”
Frank said the hectic schedule for coaches that comes with the annual spring game has lessened the importance of the game in the recruiting cycle.
“The coaches are really busy during this time, they’re coaching a game, and they don’t have a lot of time to spend talking to each player,” he said. “I think if they get a kid on campus they really want to spend time with him and I think it was more of a focus of ‘Let’s get them here when we can spend more time with them,’ and the spring game isn’t necessarily the best time to do that. What they’re trying to do is get all their committed guys up here and refresh their memories about Notre Dame and building a bond among each other. I think that was the vision for recruiting this weekend.”
Highlighting the list of uncommitted visitors this weekend is coveted offensive lineman John Montelus from Everett, Mass.
A 6-foot-5, 295-pound player, Montelus has fielded offers from Florida, Michigan, Ohio State and Nebraska among others including Boston College, the in-state favorite. Though Notre Dame already has four commitments on the offensive line, Frank said Montelus deserves a look.
“Originally the plan was just to take four offensive linemen, and they already have the four committed, but a player of Montelus’ caliber, you’ve got take to take him. He’s just too good to pass up,” he said. “There’s probably two or three offensive linemen left on the board they would take a commitment from, and he is definitely one of them. He’s got offers from SEC schools, everybody up the East coast, and some of the Big Ten.
He’s just a very athletic kid who moves very well, has very good size and is a smart kid.”
Notre Dame’s coaches will also hone in on the visit of tight end Mike Heuerman of Naples, Fla., who is slated to make a decision between a handful of schools including Notre Dame and Ohio State on Apr. 27.
“His brother was a tight end at Ohio State, and he’s going to Ohio State this weekend. I believe Notre Dame is in the driver’s seat for Heuerman,” Frank said. “I think he likes Notre Dame quite a lot, and I think this solidifies his thoughts on Notre Dame and Ohio State. I think if he has another good visit and gets along with people, Notre Dame’s going to be tough to beat when it’s all said and done.”
The group of recruits and commits will arrive on campus in the wake of sophomore defensive end Aaron Lynch’s transfer announcement. Frank said Lynch’s departure poses a challenge to the Irish recruiting efforts.
“It’s going to be a challenge. It’s certainly not a positive that he’s leaving. But I think for [Irish coaches] Brian Kelly, Tony Alford, Scott Booker and the guys who are recruiting in [Florida], it’s easy to explain,” Frank said. “Some people will feel comfortable at Notre Dame and some won’t. Kids transfer from schools all over the country, it’s not just a phenomenon at Notre Dame. Great players leave programs, it happens everywher
“Is it a positive? Obviously I don’t think it’s a positive, and the coaches will have some questions to answer about some previous positions kids may have about Notre Dame. But that’s been that way for many years trying to lure kids from California, Texas and Florida. It is a different environment, and a totally different culture from what they grew up in and are comfortable in.”
For more on Notre Dame recruiting, check out Mike Frank’s irishsportsdaily.com.
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