The Notre Dame coaching staff took advantage of the bye week to do some 2015 recruiting and it’s clear that they’re looking very hard at some of the nation’s most productive football hotbeds, California and Texas. While the Irish have had some success in both of those areas in the past it’s clear that they will need to redouble their efforts if they hope to continue their incursions into those two states. The success of Stanford in recent years coupled with the emergence of UCLA and the continued strong presence of USC makes California recruiting even more difficult.
And the travails faced by the Irish in California are even multiplied in Texas. Texas is always a strong draw in-state but Texas A&M, Baylor and TCU have notably increased their cachet in the state. Still, Notre Dame seems to have attracted the attentions of some top 2015 prospects in both places. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Sports Daily?
Zach Okun, OL, 6-4, 300, Newbury Park High School, Newbury Park, CA was shocked when Irish West Coast recruiter Mike Elston visited his school to drop off a scholarship offer. Though surprised by the offer, Okun was also quite happy.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all, so it was definitely a surprise,” said Okun. “It’s really cool and it’s a great offer.”
Okun (pictured) had already received scholarship offers from several schools, most of them Pac-12 members. Despite this, the Notre Dame offer made a big impression.
“It’s the most traditional, prestigious school around, I think,” Okun opined. “They’re great academically and they’re a pretty well-rounded school. It’s a great school in every facet.”
Okun definitely wants to make it to South Bend at some point but for now will settle for seeing the Irish in action on October 26th when he goes to Colorado Springs to watch his brother Ben play.
“I’ll see the Air Force-Notre Dame game when they play at Air Force,” explained Okun. “I’d love to get on campus, but I’ll definitely be able to see a game at least.”
While he won’t get to see the Notre Dame campus, he will at least be able to see the Irish play live.
“I’ll definitely be able to see how they play and the atmosphere they bring with them, Okun said of the Irish. “I’m sure they have a great traveling fan base. You’re not going to be able to see the atmosphere for pre-game or anything like that, but you’ll be able to see how they travel.”
The California offensive lineman seems to have his mind set on getting to South Bend and seeing the Irish campus up close and personal.
“I’ll definitely get on campus sometime later this year,” he stated. “I don’t know when but I’m pretty sure it’ll happen.”
Okun knows that he needs much more information before he even considers creating a list of favorites. Still, he has a very clear priority in deciding his final college destination.
“I think academics will be first and foremost,” he said. “After that it’ll be wherever I feel most comfortable, wherever I feel I can really fit in with the coaches and maybe even get a shot at playing early, but I definitely think academics right off the jump, first and foremost.”
Louis Brown, ATH, 6-6, 206, Burton High School, Burton, TX attended the Notre Dame-Arizona State game in Arlington. Brown was one of dozens of recruits that attended the game and like most he was impressed by the Irish.
“The uniforms and the way they played,” said Brown of what stood out to him the most about watching the Irish play.
Brown possessed enough interest in Notre Dame to accept tickets to the game and described the atmosphere in AT&T Stadium as “insane.” He also had a good idea about why he was attracted to the Irish.
“The program I guess,” Brown said. “They’ve got a terrific program.”
Brown currently holds scholarship offers from Texas Tech and Mississippi State thus far and is receiving interest from schools like Baylor and TCU. Brown is very focused on the personal relationships at whatever school he chooses.
“Really how they treat me and if I can feel comfortable around them,” he said of the schools that recruit him. “The main thing I look for is the type of football program they have to offer. They style they play on defense. I want to be able to fit in; with the style I was taught on defense.”
Brown held out the possibility of visiting South Bend in the future and knows what he’ll be looking for during a visit.
“To meet all the coaches and team,” he said. “Look around the locker room, weight room. Then I would look at the campus and living environment.”
These two summaries represent just a sample of the Notre Dame football recruiting information available each week on Irish Sports Daily.