Recruiting has become a year round effort with more plot twists than a best-selling mystery novel. Recruitniks know that while verbal commitments are great morale boosts for fanbases, they are non-binding. Great recruiting classes in August can become quite mediocre by February. One needs look no farther than USC’s 2013 recruiting class to see a prime example.
Despite the unstable nature of recruiting the fact is that most verbal pledges do sign letters of intent with the schools to whom they originally pledged. As a result coaches work very hard to get early commitments though they continue to recruit committed prospects just as hard as they do uncommitted ones. Last week Irish Sports Daily spoke to an uncommitted prospect and the coach of another one. Both expressed great interest in Notre Dame. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Sports Daily?
Thomas Holley, DT, 6-4, 290, Lincoln High School, Brooklyn, NY watched as his recruitment exploded in February and March. Holley admitted it was a very exciting time but now that things have calmed down, he acknowledges that he’s enjoying the lull.
“It’s relaxing right now,” he informed. “I’m pretty sure more schools will start coming in, but right now it’s relaxing. I get a chance to focus on school and working out and stuff like that.”
Even with no new offers at the moment, Holley has still remained very busy with recruiting. He currently holds seventeen scholarship offers and staying in contact with numerous coaching staffs can, at times, be daunting.
“I’ve been able to contact coaches,” he stated. “I’ve talked to a few coaches here and there. Alabama, Ole Miss, Notre Dame and a couple other schools; I spoke to the Notre Dame coaches a few times. They just want to make sure that I’m still interested and they make it known that they still want me.”
Holley is still interested in the Irish. Notre Dame has the attributes that he’s looking for in a college destination. Also, he’s been intrigued by the commitment of a couple of players from his area to the Irish.
“I’m definitely interested,” he said. “They’ve got the two most important things, which are football and academics. That ( the commitments of Brooklyn’s Jay Hayes and New Jersey’s Andrew Trumbetti) makes me want to go up there because there are kids from my area going up there, so there must be something about the school that makes so many kids like it.”
While Holley hasn’t made plans for any summer visits yet, he definitely wants to make it to South Bend.
“I just want to see the environment of the school, how it is, how I fit,” he explained. “Just to meet the coaches and get a feel for everybody and see what their academic system is about as far as the help that’s given to the students. That’s what I’m trying to learn when I go on my visits.”
Though Holley doesn’t have any timetable for a decision, it’s clear that he’s not in any hurry and his probably won’t be an early one.
“I’ll probably end up taking visits this summer and start narrowing things down” he shared. I’ll take official visits in the fall and then make my decision.”
While Holley was inundated by offers, Jonathan Lockett, CB, 5-11, 170, Mater Dei High School, Santa Ana, CA, was starting to get worried about his lack of offers. That has recently changed though it came as no surprise to his head coach Bruce Rollinson.
“Probably a month ago in his quiet little way, he came in and I said, ‘What’s your problem? He said, I’m seeing guys from the local areas getting offers. I said Jonathan don’t worry about it. It’ll come. Just keep your confidence up; you’re being spoken very highly about.’”
And the offers did come. Boise State, Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA and Arizona all issued scholarship offers. Notre Dame has also added itself to the mix.
“Obviously he was extremely excited about the Notre Dame offer,” Rollinson informed. “I saw it coming when the kid was a tenth grader. He just has that separating type of ability that puts him in that other category of guys. He’s an outstanding player.”
Rollinson attributes Lockett’s rash of offers to college coaches reviewing film about the same time and also staffs following each others’ leads.
“Most of the guys who have talked to me said, ‘Bruce we knew about him’” explained Rollinson. “’We did our final evaluation, this is a no-brainer. We’re going to go on Jonathan.’ I think that’s where their calendars are at.”
“Now do I not believe that once a couple of the big guns come in everybody else has to get on the board and get on him early? I think there’s some validity to that.”
Rollinson believes that Lockett still covets an offer from USC, but acknowledged that the Irish offer was very special.
“It’s Notre Dame,” he stated. “They’re back in the headlines; they played in the National Championship game and that mystique is one thing that’s never left. I’ve always legitimately believed, especially at this high school, it’s kind of like Notre Dame, Alabama, LSU, USC, you get those kinds of offers and you’re a cut above the rest of the recruiting population.”
The Mater Dei Head Coach believes that Lockett has the proper emotional make-up to be a great cornerback.
“Great kid, very quiet kid, but very confident on the football field,” he explained. “He has that rare blend of cockiness, confidence and athletic ability that you know he can explode at any point and come up with a big play, whether that’s a touchdown catch, an interception or a kick or punt return. He’s done them all in the last two years.”
Lockett currently has no visits scheduled but will likely change that in the coming months.
These two summaries represent just a sample of the Notre Dame football recruiting information available each week on Irish Sports Daily.