For the last decade Notre Dame has sold recruits on playing time, tradition, academics, rebuilding and return to glory. After their 10-0 start this year, though, the Irish football program suddenly has something else to sell…success. Finally, the program appears solid. Perhaps there could be a more powerful adjective to describe this team but the word solid somehow seems appropriate. Head Coach Brian Kelly has put this program on a firm footing that can hopefully end the decade old cycle of boom and bust. And recruits have taken notice. Numerous highly rated 2013 recruits have elevated the Irish to at or near the top of their lists and with limited scholarships left to give the Notre Dame coaching staff can be very selective.
As great as the impact has been with the class of 2013 it appears as if the real fruits of this season may well be reaped in the 2014 recruiting class. Notre Dame received their third commitment in the class of 2014 last week and there are numerous highly regarded players that profess a strong interest in the Irish. Last week Irish Sports Daily spoke to two players in the class of 2014. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Sports Daily?
Jay Hayes, DL, 6-5, 275, Poly Prep Country Day School, Brooklyn, NY became Notre Dame’s third commitment in the class of 2014. Though Hayes (pictured) has yet to visit Notre Dame, he felt like the Irish scholarship offer was an opportunity that he just couldn’t turn down.
“Once you have an opportunity like that, you just want to take advantage of it and let them know and give them your word,” stated Hayes. “You want to let them know. I’m serious about this decision and there’s no need to recruit anyone else. I just felt it. I felt that was the place I need to be.”
Hayes chose Notre Dame over schools such as Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, Florida, Clemson, Penn State, Michigan and many others. Hayes had very definite reasons for picking the Irish.
“The academic opportunity and the connections and the support system that are there and the character that they embody,” explained Hayes as to why he chose Notre Dame. “It’s just phenomenal; it’s a great football program and academic institution.”
While many of the programs recruiting Hayes wanted him as an offensive lineman, Notre Dame projects him on the other side of the ball.
“I’ll be playing defensive end and defensive tackle, rotating around,” stated Hayes. “I’ve got a motor and I’ve got a knack for finding the ball and making the players around me much better by taking on double teams. A lot of defensive linemen don’t understand that Notre Dame’s defense is set up around linebackers. If it involves taking on a double team and letting a linebacker make the play, that’s what you’ve got to do.”
Hayes doesn’t just see himself as a space eater though. He is confident in his ability to make plays as well.
“I can rush the passer and get there within three seconds,” the talented New Yorker stated. “I’m going to be working on all of my skills, especially moving to the college level because it’s a big jump.”
Hayes doesn’t plan to waste any time getting started.
“I get a chance now to turn my body into a college athlete and to work out and train hard,” Hayes said. “Now, it’s not on my mind where I want to go. Now, I’m going to work out so I can dominate in college.”
Hayes hopes to take his first trip to South Bend next weekend for the Wake Forest game.
“I’ll probably be out there for the Wake Forest game,” he informed Irish Sports Daily. “It’s going to be nuts. I’m going to be so excited. I’m probably going to be mesmerized.”
Corey Holmes, WR, 6-1, 180, St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, FL hasn’t put up huge numbers this season but he’s hoping for more.
“I think I’m doing good,” he stated. “I’m still excited and eager to get a big game. I want a real big game, over one hundred yards. That’s what I’m hoping to do.”
Holmes does have nineteen receptions for about 300 yards so far and despite the fact that he hasn’t put up the gaudy numbers that some high school receivers do, his abilities have caught the eyes of numerous college coaches. The result has been a number of scholarship offers, including one from Notre Dame. And while he has been receiving considerable attention, one recruiter has stood out.
“I’d say I talk to Tony Alford from Notre Dame the most,” he said. “He’s a great guy. We just have normal conversations. Sometimes it’ll be about football and sometimes it will be about the family and stuff like that. He’s a really nice person and easy to relate to.”
Holmes did make it to South Bend for the Michigan game but has managed only one other trip, to Central Florida. He does hope to return to Notre Dame. Whether he makes it back or not, he has definitely taken notice of the fine season the Irish are putting together. He made it clear, though, that he doesn’t need to see more at Notre Dame, he just loved the gameday atmosphere and would like to experience it again.
“Don’t get me wrong, the visit was awesome and that’s the reason why I do want to go back up there again,” he said. “I would definitely say I’ve seen enough, but I definitely enjoyed it when I was up there and would love to get back again.”
These two summaries are just a sample of the Notre Dame football recruiting information available each week on Irish Sports Daily.