Defenses win championships goes the old saying and there’s little evidence to dispute it. However, in the pass happy world of modern college football, the three yards and a cloud of dust days are largely gone. Good defenses, while imperative, need to be supported by solid offenses that can keep them off the field and put up enough points to force opposing offenses to become one dimensional. Last year, Notre Dame won game after game with defense and their offense was, at times, pedestrian at best. With a more experienced Everett Golson under center this season Irish fans are looking forward to a much more effective offense, even an explosive one. In order for Notre Dame to continue to grow offensively the staff must bring in explosive playmakers at the skill positions. Last week Irish Sports Daily spoke to two young men that the Notre Dame coaching staff hopes will be part of the continued growth of an outstanding offense. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Sports Daily?
Josh Malone, WR, 6-3, 190, Station Camp High School, Gallatin, TN visited South Bend for the Blue-Gold game last weekend. It wasn’t Malone’s first visit to Notre Dame. He briefly came to the university last year for the Stanford game, but this one was much more involved.
“Everything went well,” said the four-star prospect. “I got to talk to Coach (Brian) Kelly and all of the assistant coaches. I got to go around campus and see the academics and the spring game.”
Malone had a very good conversation with Kelly.
“It was good meeting Coach Kelly,” he stated. “We didn’t really talk much football. He talked about himself more than anything and gave me more of a general background of him. He gave me and my family a good impression.”
Malone holds dozens of offers from top programs across the United States. He currently possesses offers from Notre Dame, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Florida State, Ohio State, Auburn, Virginia Tech, Michigan, LSU, Miami among several others. While each school may plan to use him differently, the Irish offered him insights into how they would try to take advantage of his skills.
“They told me they were going to move me around a lot in the offense to try to create mismatches,” he said.
Malone also got the opportunity to see the Notre Dame campus. He was obviously impressed with what he saw.
“Campus was great,” he enthused. “It was a very beautiful campus. It was interesting how everything was set up.”
Malone was especially pleased with the academic support provided for football players.
“That was great,” he said. “The way they have it set up for the players and how they try to maximize the potential of their learning ability is great.”
Any visit to Notre Dame would not be complete without a prospect receiving the opportunity to meet and interact with the current players. Malone got just such an opportunity.
“I thought I’d fit in with them well because those guys are trying to do the same thing that I’m trying to do, which is getting a good education and playing football at one of the highest levels,” he explained. “I could see myself fitting in well.”
While the Irish impressed Malone enough to encourage him to take yet another visit, he currently does not have one set up. In fact, he has not planned visits anywhere else at this point. He hopes to change that next week.
“When we get home we’ll probably sit down and talk about the next places we want to go,” he stated.
Regardless of where he does go, it’s clear that Notre Dame made a positive impression on Malone.
“I feel really good about them,” he stated. “They sit well with me right now.”
Saeed Blacknall, WR, 6-3, 200, Manalapan High School, Manalapan, NJ only recently received his Notre Dame offer. Several other schools had already stepped up to the plate with offers, but the Irish’s late entry didn’t seem to hurt them at all with the New Jersey standout.
“He was very excited,” said Manalapan High Head Coach Eddie Gurrieri. “It’s Notre Dame. They still have that thing where everybody knows who they are. They’re a national team. He knows Coach Kelly does a great job with the offense. He knows about Notre Dame and how well they’re doing. He was excited for all of those reasons.”
Blacknall (pictured) has never been to Notre Dame but would really like to at some point.
“He’s definitely going to try to get out there,” said Gurrieri. “They’re automatically high on his list, let’s put it that way.”
Though it took a bit of time for the Irish to offer, once they got a good look at the New Jersey wide receiver’s film they were very excited about him as a prospect.
“They loved his highlight film,” his coach said. “Basically, they took a little longer to jump in as opposed to the other schools, but because they’re Notre Dame, they do things a little bit differently.
Gurrieri knows exactly what schools see in his talented athlete.
“He’s 6’3, he’s 200 pounds,” he stated. “He can run; he runs track. The speed and acceleration is everything you would want in a big time receiver. Not only is he a fast runner, but he’s a hard-nosed kid.”
College scouts have obviously been impressed with what Blacknall can do on the field, but Gurrieri said that most coaches are even more impressed with the four-star prospect when they meet him off the field.
“When people see his highlight film, they love him and then they meet him in person; it just confirms everything they see and they love him even more,” stated his head coach. “He’s got a 3.0 GPA. He’s doing well in school. He’s got a great support system. He’s got a mom and dad at home; nice family with a brother. We’re a middle class, blue collar town and he’s just like anybody else in this town.”
These two summaries represent just a sample of the Notre Dame football recruiting information available each week on Irish Sports Daily.