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Recruiting has it's ups and downs and each team goes through peaks and valleys. As program it's very easy to see a recruiting run where you sign a couple top 25 classes only see the well dry up and you hit a low average in a recruiting cycle...
If records are truly meant to be broken, as the old sports adage goes, then Notre Dame linebacker Manti Teo should become the first purely defensive player ever to win the Heisman Trophy.
Notre Dame and Alabama assistants may be taking a peek at head gigs elsewhere. All of it makes for an odd dynamic when pursuing a national title, but potential staff losses aren't sending either coach into a panic.
For Notre Dame to return to the national stage, Irish coach Brian Kelly said his defense would be the key factor. Three seasons after Kelly’s hiring, on the biggest stage of them all, No. 1 Notre Dame will face the very team on which it modeled its defensive blueprint.
Anzalone Still A Big Focus
Alex Anzalone may have reaffirmed his pledge to Notre Dame last month, but the 2013 Pennsylvania linebacker commit will clearly be a priority for the Irish staff until he enrolls early in South Bend next month.
“It’s pretty cool,” Anzalone said. “I guess it makes me feel important. It’s just seeing them in a different setting. It’s a great feeling knowing that you’ll be in good hands.”
Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco visited Anzalone at Wyomissing Area High School on Friday.
“He just wanted to check up on me and show his face and let me know that he’s thinking about me and everything,” said Anzalone. “I sat down with him for a little bit.”
Irish recruiting coordinator Tony Alford made an in-home visit on Monday,
“It went really well,” Anzalone said of Alford’s visit. “We talked about a lot of things. We didn’t talk about anything too specific, we were just opening up a relationship and building on things.
“It was awesome. He’s probably one of the main coaches I’ve built a relationship with at Notre Dame. I think it was pretty important for me to have him see my house, my whole family and what I grew up with and everything. I guess it just makes us closer.”
The senior linebacker will be seeing Diaco again soon and he’ll be joined by Irish head coach Brian Kelly.
“I think Coach Kelly and Diaco are coming next Wednesday,” he said.
Anzalone has heard the reports about Diaco interviewing for head coaching jobs and while he would relish the opportunity to be coached by one of the nation’s top assistants, it won’t have an impact on his recruitment.
“I don’t think that would affect it at all,” Anzalone said. “I understand he has to do what he has to do and he has a family to take care of. I wouldn’t be worried about him leaving because I chose Notre Dame for Notre Dame and not necessarily for the coaches, they just add on to everything, so I wouldn’t be too worried about it.”
The only thing Anzalone is worried about right now is finding a way to get his high school squad two more victories.
After a 52-0 victory in last week’s quarterfinals, the Spartans will face Imhotep Charter in the state semifinals this Saturday.
“It’s pretty surreal,” said Anzalone. “If we win this game, we’ll be the winningest team in our school’s history. It’s just crazy to think that the state championship is this close to us. I have two non-guaranteed weeks of my high school career, it’s just a surreal feeling.”
Both teams enter the game with perfect 14-0 records. Imhotep is led by former Irish running back target David Williams.
“They have a couple big guys up front and these guys can move a little bit and they have obviously have Dave Williams. I think we should be fine if we just play solid football and do our responsibilities and not make mistakes.”
Recruiting Week In Review
Scientists claim that a perpetual motion machine is a physical impossibility. Obviously they don’t follow college football recruiting. Even as the Notre Dame coaching staff finishes up 2013 recruiting, they are also hot on the trail of 2014 prospects and a number of those prospects are on the defensive side of the ball. This year the Irish defense has been number one in the nation and the Notre Dame coaching staff hopes this is the beginning of a tradition. In order to create that tradition the Irish coaching staff will need to continue bringing in top talent on the defensive side of the ball. Last week Irish Sports Daily spoke to two young men, one in the class of 2013 and one in the class of 2014 who could definitely be a part of continuing that tradition. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Sports Daily?
Eddie Vanderdoes, DT, 6-2, 305, Placer High School, Placer, CA insists that he is currently committed to Southern Cal but still plans to take all five of his official visits. Right now he does not have an official visit set up to Notre Dame but that could change. While the Irish have a very limited number of spots open in the 2013 recruiting class, Vanderdoes is the quality of player that simply cannot be ignored if he is still in play.
“Coach Denbrock hit me up and we started talking,” said the California superstar. “He said that he has free time right now and he’s out on the West Coast evaluating players. He said the coaching staff kept asking about me. He’s in town tonight (Wednesday, Nov. 28) and he will be at my house tonight after Washington leaves; I’m pretty sure.”
Vanderdoes and the Irish had fallen out of contact, but Denbrock has been working to renew his relationship with the four-star defensive tackle.
“Right now, it’s kind of like starting over again because I haven’t talked to him in six months,” Vanderdoes stated. “When he gets here, I will speak to him and see what’s going on.”
Vanderdoes has already officially visited UCLA and has trips planned to Washington, Cal, LSU and USC. Because of limited scholarships, at least one of those trips is still in doubt.
“I don’t know 100 percent about LSU because they have a few commitments,” he explained. “I don’t know if I’ll still be able to visit.”
LSU’s loss would be Notre Dame’s gain. If Vanderdoes does not visit there, then the Irish would probably receive his last official visit.
“I probably will,” he said of taking an official to Notre Dame. “I’m pretty sure that if I don’t take my LSU visit, I will be going to Notre Dame for an official.”
Though still committed to USC, Vanderdoes will be evaluating the other programs that he has or will visit.
“Basically, the staff I have the most trust in, where I see myself fitting in the best and where my family sees me fitting in, is the situation for me,” he stated. “Stability is huge for me also.”
While Vanderdoes is winding down his recruiting process, Bryson Allen-Williams, DE, 6-3, 215, Cedar Grove High School, Ellenwood, GA’s is just now starting his up. When his junior season began, he held no scholarship offers, but the talented Georgian now holds seventeen among a who’s who of college football programs.
“It’s definitely a humbling experience knowing I had no offers to begin with and now I have the number one team in the nation talking to me,” said Allen-Williams. “It’s definitely very exciting. Notre Dame is a great program and historic program that anyone and everyone would want their kid to play for. To have them calling on me, that’s very exciting.”
Irish tight ends coach Scott Booker took a trip to visit Allen-Williams after first gauging the Georgia superstar’s interest in the program.
“They haven’t offered me quite yet, but I’ve been talking to Coach Booker and they came to my school right after they were done in Los Angeles,” recounted Allen-Williams. “He told me I’m one of their primary targets in the class of 2014 and he wants me to keep in contact with them every week. I think an offer will be coming pretty soon, but I just think they want to build a better relationship with me first.”
Though Allen-Williams started slowly, his recruiting has not just been gathering steam but actually has exploded since the season began. He credits his performance at the MVP camp for the change.
“I went to the MVP camp, which is a local camp here, as a defensive lineman and ended up winning the defensive lineman MVP at that camp,” he explained. Ever since then it’s been going really well.”
Even though the sudden attention can be overwhelming, Allen-Williams has been taking it in stride with the help of his family.
“Between my mom and my dad, those are my two biggest advisors in recruiting,” he said. “They’ve told me, ‘whatever school feels like home for you, that’s the school you should go to.’ My dad helps me out a lot, but my mom was a track star in Hawaii, so she also had to go through the recruiting process. Having both my parents in my corner is a plus; seeing that they both had to go through the process all by themselves. I’ve got two great parents helping me out with recruiting and I’m very thankful for that.”
Allen-Williams’ father, George Williams played college football at North Carolina State and in the NFL for the New York Giants. It would seem that he would handle the X’s and O’s analysis with his son, but in fact mom gets involved as well.
“My mom watches game film with me and to be honest my mom’s like another dad,” said Allen-Williams. “Not only does she watch game film with me, but she goes on all my trips and tells me what she likes about each school and what she likes about the coaches. I really love her for that.”
Allen-Williams mom had very good things to say to her son about Notre Dame.
“My mom said that Notre Dame was one of her favorite programs growing up,” he recalled. “She said that’s a really big school because you can get a top notch education there and that’s something she really likes.”
Allen-Williams has watched the Irish play this season, and has liked what he’s seen from the Notre Dame defense.
“They run the 3-4 and I can see myself really fitting into that defense,” he opined. “The way they can use me at outside linebacker or down on the line, I could really see myself at Notre Dame. I don’t think they gave up a rushing touchdown until towards the end of the year and that’s the defense I could really see myself playing in.”
Though residing down south, Allen-Williams does not see distance as a factor in his recruitment. He plans to make a decision based on factors other than location. And Allen-Williams seems to be entirely genuine in that because he is, even now, making plans to take a trip to South Bend.
“I’m definitely going to get up to Notre Dame for a visit,” he said. “I’m definitely shooting to get up there next summer and Coach Booker told me there are direct flights in to South Bend from Atlanta, so I’m definitely going to get up there.”
These two summaries represent just a sample of the Notre Dame football recruiting information available each week on Irish Sports Daily.
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