Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly demonstrated last year why the Irish hired him three years ago. Kelly brought a reputation as a program builder to South Bend and the results have demonstrated that to be true. While Kelly took Notre Dame to the National Championship game last season, the outcome of that game demonstrated that there is still much work to be done. Taking the Irish to that next step will require excellent recruiting and continued player development. Last season Kelly and his staff excelled at both those areas and the early returns on the recruiting class of 2014 have been very positive.
Last week Irish Sports Daily spoke to two young men that have been on Notre Dame’s recruiting board for quite some time. Both address offensive needs, depth on the offensive line and flexibility at the wide out position. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Sports Daily?
Jamarco Jones, OL, 6-5, 295, De La Salle High School, Chicago, IL is up to twenty-eight offers and the talented Chicagoan has been stunned by the recruiting attention he has received. In fact, Jones had only one word to describe the onslaught.
“It’s just crazy,” Jones said of his recruiting. “I never imagined it would happen the way it has, but it’s pretty cool.”
Though nearly every major program in the United States is pushing hard for Jones’ signature, he has only taken one visit thus far, something that he plans to remedy soon.
“I’ve only been to Ohio State’s junior day so far,” he informed. “My Junior Day for Notre Dame is planned for the beginning of April. I’m definitely looking forward to that. I just want to see the campus and the football team and see what they’re like.”
Though Jones has been to South Bend twice already he hasn’t really experienced Notre Dame like he would really like. He plans to remedy that on his next visit.
“It’ll be my first time actually staying on campus and doing things,” he stated. “I went to the spring game last year but didn’t tour and when I went to the summer camp all I did was the camp. I look forward to getting a tour of the facilities and the rest of the place. My mom has also never been on campus so she’s really looking forward to it as well.”
Jones is being recruited by Notre Dame Offensive Coordinator Chuck Martin and Offensive Line Coach Harry Hiestand. He is developing a good rapport with both.
“Every other week I talk to Coach Martin or Coach Hiestand,” he explained. “I’m still getting to know them, but they’re excited about me and they’ve talked to my mom as well.
Jones and his mother plan on having a busy spring traveling to the various schools that are recruiting him. Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Vanderbilt, Florida and Florida State are just some of the schools on his travel itinerary. His ultimate goal is to narrow his choices down to a manageable number by the end of spring.
“I plan on naming a top five sometime in May,” Jones said. “And Notre Dame is a school that I’m definitely really interested in.”
Like Jones, Mark Andrews, WR, 6-6, 230, Desert Mountain High School, Scottsdale, AZ really wants to visit Notre Dame to see everything that the Irish have to offer. Unlike Jones, this will be his first trip. The versatile Arizona native will have to postpone his wish but only for a couple of weeks. Instead of visiting on April 6th, he will visit for the April 20th Spring Game instead.
“I’m definitely excited, I’m very excited to get there,” Andrews enthused. “I’m definitely excited to see the campus and everything there. I just want to observe and that sort of thing is what I’m most excited about.”
Notre Dame Safeties Coach Bob Elliott is in charge of recruiting the state of Arizona and he has remained in contact with Andrews for several months.
“I have been talking with Notre Dame about twice a week,” Andrews stated. “They really see me as someone who can be versatile for them in their offense whether it be splitting out wide or coming inside and that sort of thing where they can match me up against a corner or a linebacker.”
Notre Dame may have quite a battle on their hands in his recruitment. Andrews grew up an Oklahoma fan and his brother currently goes to school there. He visited Norman last weekend and enjoyed himself. In addition to Notre Dame he also has a number of other visits he would like to take to schools such as Cal, USC, UCLA, Texas and Texas A&M though he has nothing else set up at this time.
Despite his busy visit intentions he really isn’t in any hurry to make a decision.
“I’m just taking it slow,” he explained. “I’m not in any rush. I’m going to make my decision when I feel comfortable and that’s not going to be for a while.”
Andrews admits that he really doesn’t know what he’s looking for in a school. He hopes the visits will help clarify his priorities.
“It’s definitely going to help me see what I’m looking for and being able to decipher what it is that I really want in a school,” he informed. “It’s not going to make my decision, but it’s definitely going to help me determine what I’m really looking for. When I go there I want to see how genuine the coaches are and the campus. Academics are going to be big for me and just where I feel comfortable and where I could see myself living for the next four years.”
These two summaries represent just a sample of the Notre Dame football recruiting information available each week on Irish Sports Daily.