Notre Dame hosts their first Junior Day for the Class of 2012. Continue to check back here for a compilation of the updates from all the prospects. Click on each prospects name to be directed to the most recent update.Ben McGowan enjoys visit
They were just boys playing for the Westside Cubs in the Detroit Police Athletic League when Terry Richardson, James Ross and Royce Jenkins-Stone started dreaming of playing football in college.
“Me, Royce and Ross we all grew up together,” Richardson said. “We were playing for the Cubs since we were eight, nine years old. We always played together on the Cubs. We built a nice friendship that’s going carry on for life.”
Jenkins-Stone and Ross also said it was a great experience.
“We were always watching college football games together and talk about wanting to be there some day,” said Ross.
Jenkins-Stone remembers the success they had.
“We made it to the championship, but we lost,” he said.
Ironically, the trio would become close with a member of the team that beat them in the title game.
“I was on the Giants and they were on the Cubs,” Laron Taylor said. “We ended up beating them in the championship game by one point off a field goal.”
Taylor, who joined Richardson and Jenkins-Stone at Cass Tech High School, still reminds his current teammates of when they were competitors.
“Yeah, he still teases us,” said Jenkins-Stone. “He’s got a little bragging rights.”
“That always sticks in their minds,” Taylor said. “I’ll be playing with them all of the time about it.”
While Taylor teamed up with Richardson and Jenkins-Stone in high school, Ross went off to St. Mary’s Prep in Orchard Lake.
“I played with them for about 10 years,” Ross said of Richardson and Jenkins-Stone. “It was just different not going to the practices together or riding together in the car. But I still work out with Terry every day. We’re very close. That’s about the closest friend I have. We talk about the recruiting situations and just thanking God that we made it this far.”
Indeed, the young boys have grown into young adults receiving attention from colleges across the country. Ross, Jenkins-Stone and Taylor all play linebacker while Richardson is one of the top rated cornerbacks in the class of 2012.
All four are being recruited by Notre Dame along with a host of others. Richardson and Ross each picked up Irish offers earlier this week.
They understand how unlikely it is that all of them will play together in college, but they are at least considering it.
“When we were little, we wanted to play together, but we know how difficult that may be,” said Ross. “If it works out, it does and that would be great, but we probably won’t make our decisions based off what somebody else does.”
“It would be good for us to go to the same school again and play together, but I don’t where their hearts are yet and I don’t know what I want to do yet,” he said. “I’m still waiting on some more offers before I can make my decision.”
Taylor has enjoyed his time at Cass Tech and would like to continue it at the next level.
“It’d be great to play with them guys in college,” he said. “It’s great to playing with them now. They get me better every day. They push me, we push each other.”
Each has plenty of options and even if they aren’t able to stick together, all four are close to accomplishing a dream first thought of a long time ago.
“The time is coming that we’re being able to achieve the goal,” said Ross. “It seemed like so long ago that we wanted to play college football and it’s just great to see that goal soon to be accomplished.”
Taylor Decker definitely thought about it.
The 6-foot-8, 285-pound offensive tackle from Butler High School in Vandalia, Ohio was pulled out of study hall on Thursday to go to his head coach’s office. His coach put him on the phone with Notre Dame assistant Tim Hinton, which wasn’t a huge deal for Decker since he talks with Hinton regularly.
What Hinton had to say was a big deal, though, as he informed Decker he was being offered a scholarship by the University of Notre Dame.
“I wasn’t expecting it because Coach Hinton was saying that they want to take their time and do it right, especially with guys out of state,” said Decker. “I was really excited about it.
“I was taken aback a little bit, I’ll be honest. That was the first place I visited and it made a huge impact on me. That’s been my top school since I visited. I was definitely real excited.
“I was tempted to go ahead and commit right away, but I know from talking to people that you need to take your time. You’ve got to talk with your parents about it, your high school coaches about it and make sure it’s 100 percent the correct decision for you.”
Decker has yet to have the chance to talk everything over with his parents or coaches yet, but the Irish are certainly in great shape.
“Coach Hinton said he wants me to be one of the first people in the class to commit,” Decker said. “Hopefully, we can make that happen, but I’m definitely going to take my time and make sure it’s the right decision.”
Hinton believes that Decker will be a great fit on the Irish offensive line.
“I think they like the fact that although I’m a big kid, I can still move and I have good footwork,” Decker said. “Speaking with Coach Hinton directly, he loves my mean streak and the fact that I finish my blocks. My goal every play is to put a kid on his back.”
Decker wants to make a decision by the start of his senior season and said while he’s going to make sure he makes the right decision, he’s not going to play the recruiting process out just to do it.
Decker also has offers from Wisconsin, Boston College, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Michigan and Ohio. He’s been to Michigan and Cincinnati and also has a trip planned for Northwestern, where his coach has told him another offer will be waiting for him.
But none of the trips had the same impact as his visits to South Bend for Notre Dame’s games against Michigan and Utah.
“They’ve been one of the premier teams since way back when in college football,” Decker said of the Irish. “Just being able to be there and be around that and everything. That’s one game atmosphere that can’t be compared to any others with all of the students there and the players taking pride in everything.
“I know the facilities aren’t everything, but they have amazing facilities there. The building styles and everything like that. A huge campus is OK, but I like the kind of campus they have there. It actually feels like a real college campus while other schools are just in a city.”
In addition to the campus life, Decker has a couple other areas that will factor into his decision.
“I definitely want to go to a school where I’m going to be able to win,” he said. “It was Coach Kelly’s first year last year and I believe 100 percent that he can turn a program around and have the opportunity to play in bowl games and the national championship possibly. That’s a huge factor for me because I’m a competitive person, I love winning.
“Another factor will be being able to play. I want to go to a school where I’m going to be able to play. I know I’m not going to start as a true freshman because that’s hard to do as an offensive lineman with all of the weight room work you have to do. But I definitely want to be able to start before my junior or senior season depending if I’m redshirted or not. I want to be able to get a good degree from whatever school I go to. Definitely with Notre Dame, anything I end up majoring in will be a good degree.”
Decker had hoped to be able to attend Notre Dame’s Junior Day this weekend, but he won’t be able to come because he has a basketball game that day.
“I’m going to call Coach Hinton back tonight and hopefully schedule a time to get down there for spring practice and if not that, just a time to get down there and meet with the coaches,” he said.
“I loved tackle, but once he said that, I threw myself 100 percent into center and ever since, I’ve loved it,” the 6-foot-5, 245-pounder from Warminster, Pa., said.
Arcidiacono carried his playbook with him the entire season and met with his coaches to get the position down cold. Brandon and his younger brother Nick (pictured right), who plays guard, quizzed each other until each knew the responsibilities of every player on every play.
“I want to play center at the next level,” Brandon said. “I like challenge of it, calling out the defenses and even snap-and-step.
“My coach tells me that I’m fast off the ball and I can get to linebackers at the second level.”
Arcidiacono attended Rutgers’ Junior Day last month, where he picked up his first scholarship offer. He is also receiving interest from Purdue, Connecticut, West Virginia, Penn State and Notre Dame. He will be at the Irish’s Junior Day this weekend, where he will be accompanied by his father, his brother and four Archbishop Wood teammates.
Arcidiacono will be joined by fellow lineman Frank Taylor, tight end Colin Thompson, running back Desmon Peoples and wide receiver/defensive back Nate Smith.
“I just want to see the campus,” he said. “I hear about all of the tradition and stuff like that and I’m really excited to see that.”
Arcidiacono was also invited to UConn’s Junior Day, but it’s the same day as Notre Dame’s. At this point, he doesn’t have any other visits planned.
A couple of things will be important to Arcidiacono when it comes time to pick a college.
“I would love to play center in college, but the actual school and its academics too,” he said. “I’m really looking to get a good education from this.”
Arcidiacono doesn’t know when he’ll make a decision, but isn’t ruling out getting it out of the way sooner than later.
“It really depends,” he said. “If I find that right school, I’m definitely going to try to jump on it quick, but I don’t know yet.”
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