Recruiting Week In Review
Last week, Irish Sports Daily spoke to two young men who have recently heard from the Irish, one picking up an offer and the other apparently close to one. As usual, Notre Dame is being very aggressive in its efforts in the Midwest while looking for elite prospects around the rest of the nation. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Sports Daily?
Jordan Westerkamp, WR, 6-1, 190, Montini High School, Lombard, IL attended Notre Dame’s Junior Day. While he did not come away with a scholarship offer, he did leave campus with a much greater appreciation of Notre Dame, its coaching staff and the school’s history.
“It was awesome,” said Westerkamp of his Notre Dame visit. “It’s just great being at a place like that with so much history. We got to see all the facilities and I got to meet all the coaches so it was pretty cool.”
Though Westerkamp has already received 10 scholarship offers, he has yet to receive one from Notre Dame. However, he has reason to believe that one might be coming soon.
“Basically all the coaches just introduced themselves to everyone, but I got to talk to coach (Chuck) Martin who is my recruiter, and the receiver coach Tony Alford personally,” remembered Westerkamp. “Coach Martin was telling me they had a list of about 200 receivers in the whole nation and they recently cut it down to 15 and he said I’m still on that list of 15 receivers. He just told me to be patient and I could possibly get an offer, hopefully soon.”
Though the Illinois standout enjoyed all aspects of the visit, he was especially inspired by the campus tour.
“The church there is really nice,” said Westerkamp. “It was beautiful and really neat. We got to tour other places also like the Grotto, which was a really great place to see. All of the facilities there are just unbelievable.”
Westerkamp hopes to return to South Bend sometime but at this point doesn’t have anything definite planned.
“I plan to get back up to Notre Dame sometime, but right now I’m still real busy,” he said. “This weekend I’m in Wisconsin on Saturday and Minnesota on Sunday. The weekends have been just crazy.”
Notre Dame must recruit nationally, probably more so than virtually any other major program. In recent years, the Irish have looked to the Pacific Northwest and even Hawaii for impact players and have found a few. Now, they’re looking in the state of Washington at a very talented running back in the class of 2012.
Keivarae Russell, ATH, 6-0, 175, Mariner High School, Everett, WA is more than just an outstanding football player. He is also on the swim team, track team, just got elected class president and plans to get involved in a tutoring program.
“I put a little bit too much on my plate at times,” Russell admitted. “It kind of kills me, I’m not going to lie, but it makes me tougher where later on in life I can overcome adversity.”
“I’m a busy guy, that’s why when I choose my school, I’m going to see how my teammates are. Are they just doing football? Are they not trying to do anything else? Are they getting 2.1 GPA’s? Are they not trying to work hard? I don’t want that to rub off on me. I want people around me that want to do the best of their ability.”
Last week, Russell received a scholarship offer from Notre Dame to go with those he has already received. In addition to the Irish, Russell currently holds offers from Stanford, Cal, Washington, Washington State, Wyoming and Boise State.
“It was a special moment,” Russell said of his Notre Dame offer. “It was great to have such a great program like Notre Dame recognize me and offer me so soon. It’s crazy. Them noticing me as a student-athlete in the classroom and on the football field shows I’m one of the top players. It’s an honor.”
Russell’s top priority in choosing a program is academics.
“I’ll probably look at what the degree is like,” he explained. “Football is going to come second. Can the degree help me throughout life? That’s going to be important.”
While Russell doesn’t know much about the Irish he does know the value of a Notre Dame degree.
“I’m trying to major in business and I know that their business program is number one in the nation so that sparks some interest in my mind,” he related. “If I get a degree from Notre Dame, I can go anywhere in the world and tell them where I went.”
Russell plans to take an unofficial visit to Notre Dame at some point but has yet to think about official visits. Those decisions will come later.
“I’m not going to promise any official visits just yet because I’m so far away from that,” he said. “I’m trying to at least take an unofficial down there and if it happens to be a place where I want to take an official then I would do that.”
Russell also indicated that location isn’t a major concern at this point.
“I’m open to anything right now,” he said. “Just because they’re far away I can just cancel them out. That might be the best school for me.”
Russell’s ability on the football field is just as impressive as his work off it. Last season he rushed for 1,859 yards on 228 carries and scored 20 touchdowns. In addition, he caught three touchdown passes, returned two interceptions for touchdowns, threw a touchdown pass and recovered a fumble for a score.
Most schools, Notre Dame included, are recruiting Russell as an athlete and that’s just fine with him.
“I can be a slot back, a corner, a safety, a running back if you need one,” Russell said. “I can do multiple things.”
Notre Dame just hopes that Russell will be doing those things in the Irish Blue and Gold.
These two summaries represent just a sample of the Notre Dame football recruiting information available each week on Irish Sports Daily.