Notre Dame’s recruiting for the class of 2011 has momentarily taken a back seat to fall camp as the new Brian Kelly-led team prepares for the season. However, recruiting never really stops and the Notre Dame staff has been making inroads with a couple of prospects at significant positions of need in this recruiting class. Last week Irish Sports Daily’s Bryan Driskell spoke to two young men that the Irish would like to see in Blue and Gold next season. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Sports Daily?
George Atkinson, ATH, 6-2, 195, Granada High School, Livermore, CA visited a number of universities this summer but failed to make it to at least one that he had high on his list. However, he has made plans to remedy that when he takes an official visit to Notre Dame for the Michigan game.
“They (Notre Dame) were pushing me and my dad to just get out there before the officials start and we really wanted to,” related Atkinson. “But the way it worked out we just couldn’t, but we really wanted to. We have an official visit set up for the Michigan game.”
Despite not having been on campus, Atkinson still has a great deal of interest in the Irish.
“They are definitely high on my list,” said Atkinson of Notre Dame. “Everybody I talk to has good things to say about it, especially a couple of my dad’s teammates. Willie Brown said you can’t go wrong with a Notre Dame degree.”
Not only are George Atkinson, Sr.’s teammates high on the Irish, but he is also.
“My dad really likes the offense and what he (Kelly) did at Cincinnati,” said Atkinson. “The academics as well, it is really top notch.”
Despite Atkinson’s obvious attraction to Notre Dame, he’s far from making a decision. As of right now he plans to announce at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
“I am pretty open right now,” said the talented Californian. “I like Oregon, Alabama, Miami, USC and Notre Dame, of course. That’s my top but I am also pretty open to other schools like California, Washington, schools like that.”
The Irish have yet to earn the verbal commitment of a wide receiver in this class and clearly would like to sign at least one. Despite this, though currently being recruited as both a running back and a wide receiver by other programs, Notre Dame has simply said that they will decide where to play him once they get him on campus.
Quincy Aldridge, S, 6-2, 195, Whitehouse High School, Whitehouse, TX has flown somewhat under the radar thus far after missing his entire junior season with a torn medial collateral ligament (MCL). He has worked very hard on his rehabilitation and is ready to return to action.
“Right now I feel like I’m about 95 percent,” explained the Texas safety. “I’m running good, doing all my drills and moving around well. I just need to get back to being use to the full contact running. I am able to run full speed on it, but we weren’t in full pads so I still have a little bit of soreness.”
Aldridge will need to be ready because the Whitehouse coaching staff has big plans for him this season. In addition to playing safety, they plan to use him in a number of offensive roles.
“I started as a freshman at cornerback, but right now I’m playing safety,” said Aldridge. “I’m also going to play everywhere on offense; they just want to get me the ball so I can score some touchdowns.”
A healthy Aldridge could mean very good things for the Whitehouse football team. They hope to return to the playoffs after an injury-plagued season last year.
“We had a good team last year but we had a whole bunch of injuries,” explained Aldridge. “The team we have this year is more focused and more prepared. We have a good chance at going deep into the playoffs. I think we’re going to have a great year.”
Aldridge’s injury has caused many programs to wait and see how his knee holds up this season before offering a scholarship. Still, he currently has offers from Notre Dame, Illinois, New Mexico and New Mexico State. He is hearing from Baylor, Alabama, USC, Miami, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas A&M. Two programs particularly stand out to Aldridge.
“They (Notre Dame) are in my top two with Alabama,” he informed. “Everyone else is scattered from there.”
Alabama began recruiting Aldridge first and Notre Dame soon followed. However, the Irish made up considerable ground by offering him a scholarship.
“They (Notre Dame) had faith in me to play and they were the first to offer,” noted Aldridge. “They knew that I would bounce back and that is important to me. It (the early offer) is going to be a major factor because I was receiving letters from everybody, but when Notre Dame offered me I knew they were serious about recruiting me and it’s going to be a major factor when I decide to commit.”
Aldridge is also impressed with the excellent educational opportunities afforded by a Notre Dame education. He is especially interested in Notre Dame’s top-ranked school of business.
“I want to go to a school that fits my academic goals and that’s a big reason I am looking at Notre Dame,” said Aldridge. “It gets no better than Notre Dame.”
These two summaries represent just a sample of the Notre Dame football recruiting information available each week on Irish Sports Daily.