Notre Dame’s defensive line dominated opponents last season but has yet to regain that form in 2013, despite returning two preseason All-American players in Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt. While the defense clearly struggled against Michigan they showed flashes of last season’s form during the second half of the Purdue game.
It’s obviously too early in the season to draw any real conclusions about the Irish defense but one thing that is clear is that teams can never possess too much defensive talent. One of the hallmarks of SEC recruiting is the over-recruiting of talent, especially on the defensive side of the ball. It’s not surprising that defenses from that conference are perennially rated among the best in college football. For Notre Dame to continue to contend for national championships they too need to bring in numerous and talented defensive players.
Last week, Irish Sports Daily reported on two top-rated defenders, one from the class of 2014 and one from the 2015 class. Both at least have the Irish on their radar. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Sports Daily?
Andrew Williams (pictured) DE, 6-4, 245, Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy, McDonough, GA had reportedly eliminated Notre Dame from his official visit list but Williams refuted that report when he last spoke to ISD. The talented Georgia defender’s father elaborated on his son’s visit plans.
“I know Notre Dame’s a great school, but I haven’t had a chance to get up there yet,” Mr. Williams explained. “I’m not really familiar with the campus or the campus life yet and I always like to check that stuff out first for my children. I’ve heard that the college education from there is top of the line, so if you get a degree from Notre Dame, you’ve really accomplished something in life.”
Mr. Williams continued.
“Andrew likes Notre Dame quite a bit and he wants to go back up there on an official visit. Actually, if I can get my finances right, we’re going to try to get up there on the 21st of this month.”
The younger Williams’ recruiting has blown up over the last couple of years, catching his father somewhat by surprise. And the elder Williams is no stranger to college recruiting. His older son, Anthony, plays at Georgia Tech so the family has been through the recruiting wars before. Still, when the offers started coming in for Andrew, he admitted he was caught somewhat by surprise.
“I was really taken aback by the number of offers Andrew was getting so quickly,” Mr. Williams stated. “His older brother, who plays at Georgia Tech, has always had a love for the game right from the beginning, so it wasn’t a surprise he was getting offers like that, but what surprised me a bit with Andrew’s recruiting was that he was really just starting to get the hang of the game when the offers started coming in.”
Mr. Williams explained that Andrew developed his passion for the game somewhat slowly, even admitting that he had to bribe his son with money and various goodies when he was young to get him to continue playing. Apparently, in the Williams’ family father really does know best. Andrew’s play and physical skills has earned him scholarship offers from a veritable who’s who of college football’s elite and Mr. Williams believes that Andrew has just scratched the surface of his potential.
“I honestly feel that Andrew has a lot of upside and is a quick learner,” Mr. Williams shared. “Over the summer I had Andrew with a trainer and he was learning how to use his hands to get off blocks. With Andrew’s long arms and his ability to play the ball, I really feel he’s going to be extremely dangerous.”
Another potentially “dangerous” prospect that the Irish have been recruiting is California defensive lineman Rasheem Green. Green, DL, 6-5, 270, Junipero Serra High School, Gardenia, CA holds a number of in-state scholarship offers but also many from out of state as well. One of the out of state schools that have thrown their hat into the ring is Notre Dame. Other non-California schools that have stepped to the plate are Michigan, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Utah. Though the California prospect hasn’t had much contact with the Irish since they offered him last May he’s still intrigued enough about them to want to visit South Bend.
“They were a top school last year,” Green remembered. “They are a very good program.”
Speaking of good programs, Green’s high school is coming off a CIF state championship and ran their 2013 record to 3-0 last weekend with a thrilling double overtime victory over Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks. Green’s been excited to see how much the work he put in during the offseason would positively impact his play this year.
“I want to see if I’ve gotten better with my technique because that’s something I’ve been working on all summer,” he said.
Green and Junipero Serra have set the highest goal for themselves this season.
“Our goal is not to lose a game this season and to go to state again,” Green stated. “We will have to stay focused all season; we can’t relax or take practices off. We have to continue working as a team and not focus on goals for ourselves. We just need to play as a team.”
These two summaries represent just a sample of the Notre Dame football information available each week on Irish Sports Daily.