Pace didn’t have any offers in March, but got five in one week and is now up to double-digits.
“I was wondering when they were going to come in,” Pace admitted. “I talked to a couple players, they said half of them didn’t get their first offers in their junior years.”
His initial offers came from Kent State, Toledo, Akron and Ball State.
“It was all MAC stuff first, then Air Force came, followed up by Illinois,” said Pace.
The offer from the Illini meant a lot as his first from a BCS school.
“It was great,” he said of the Big Ten offer. “It showed I could probably compete at the next level at a high level. I could be one of those guys that go Big Ten, SEC, Big East.”
He’s since added Syracuse, West Virginia, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Ohio, Buffalo and Bowling Green to his list and is hoping for more. Notre Dame is one school he’s very interested in and Ed Warinner was by Glenville earlier this month.
“He told my coach that they have interest and they want me to come down to camp,” Pace said. “He’s going to give my highlight tape to the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. I have to call them back to see what they say.”
Pace, who plans on attending next month’s camp, grew up as a fan of the Irish.
“I know it’s a great program,” he said. “Ever since I was a little kid, I looked up to Notre Dame. I know the quarterback from the Browns, Brady Quinn, went there. They have a great running back now. The team overall, I root for the Fighting Irish.
“Just the way they play. Each year it’s like they’re the underdogs and that’s the kind of team I like to play for, a team that just shows people.”
Pace said an offer from the Irish would be “great.” He’s also familiar with the academic aspect of Notre Dame and it appeals to him, “I make sure I stay on top of my academics.”
He plans on seeing plenty of schools this summer as a part of Glenville’s annual tour, “We’re going to be hitting up a lot of schools.”
Pace was a force on the interior for Glenville as a junior, racking up 42 tackles, 31 for a loss and 16 sacks.
“I get off the ball real quick and I get to the backfield and destruct plays,” he said. “I’ve been told by plenty of coaches that I’m good with my hands and am explosive.”
Some schools are recruiting him as a tackle and others as an end.
“It changes from team to team,” said Pace, who added Notre Dame likes him at tackle. “I talked to Pitt, who hasn’t offered me yet, they said I’d play defensive end, so did Cincinnati. Illinois wants me as a three-technique. It changes from school to school with the teams.”
Pace plans on making his decision after the season and has a good idea of what will be important to him.
“What’s going to be important to me is education,” he said. “That’ll be number one and after that, it has to have a great coaching staff. I’m trying to look for a steady program that’s going to win.”
The 6-foot-2, 181-pound receiver bumped into Notre Dame assistant Mike Elston. Brown couldn’t even shake Elston’s hand, one of the few things allowed by the NCAA during the May evaluation period, because he hadn’t washed his hands yet.
Brown ended up with much more than a handshake, though. Elston met with Hanahan coach Charlie Patterson and afterward, Patterson informed Brown that Notre Dame was extending a scholarship offer.
“It surprised me, I didn’t see it coming,” said Brown. “I respect them as a very prestigious school. They caught me by surprise of course, but I like them. I like them a lot.
“I like the pro-style offense, I like the tradition. It’s just an overall good school.”
There’s no questioning the athleticism of Brown, who broke the state’s longest-standing state track record earlier this month. He broke the 31-year triple-jump state mark when he covered 51 feet, 2.5 inches at the Class AA state meet. Brown, who said he’s run a 4.33, caught 52 passes for 1,105 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior.
“They’re telling me they like my ability after the catch, instincts after the catch and me as a downfield threat,” he said. “I like to sneak behind the safeties.”
Brown’s offer list currently includes Arkansas, Cincinnati, Central Florida, East Carolina, Illinois, Kentucky, Marshall, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, and Notre Dame. The Irish are trying to get Brown on campus and there’s a chance that could happen this summer. Some of Brown’s coaches are from Michigan and he might drive up with them before taking a flight back to South Carolina, but he isn’t sure yet.
He’s yet to visit any schools, but expects to fit plenty of visits around a rigorous summer weightlifting schedule. Those summer trips will play a big role in his decision.
“When I make my visits, I’ve got to feel comfortable,” he said. “I know coaching staffs change, but I’d like to get comfortable with the coaching staff. I have to be comfortable away from home and feel it could be my home away from home. They have to good academics and a good graduation rate too.
“After the summer, I might try to cut it down to five. Then I’ll make sure I focus on my schoolwork and get stronger and faster.”
Brown plans on taking official visits, but doesn’t know when he’ll make a decision and claims no leaders at this point.
“I think of a lot of schools in my head, but I haven’t really sat down and thought about it,” he said.
C.J. Prosise gave Notre Dame commitment number eight on Thursday night.
The 6-foot-2, 206-pound safety from Woodberry Forest, Va., (Woodberry Forest High School) confirmed his commitment with Irish Sports Daily, saying, "Yeah, I did today."
Prosise said it was a combination of great academics and great athletics that allowed him to pull the trigger so early.
Prosise chose the Irish over offers from Boston College, Duke, Maryland, Penn State, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest.
He gives the Irish four commitments in the secondary, joining fellow safety Nicky Baratti and cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Tee Shepard.
Earlier Prosise said he planned to wait until the fall to make a decision, but while the timing of his announcement is a surprise, his choice is not. After receiving his Notre Dame offer earlier this month, he immediately elevated the Irish to the top of his list.
“It definitely changes my recruiting process,” Prosise told Irish Sports Daily after receiving the offer. “Going from good schools in football and moving to big-time college football.”
Bob Diaco and Charley Molnar both made impressions on Prosise.
“I didn’t really get a chance to talk to them that much at school, but from our phone conversations, I thought they were pretty good guys and coaches I’d want to be around,” he said.
“Academics are going to be a huge part of my decision and then there’s the environment and culture of the school and then football,” he continued.
Prosise, who runs a 4.44, provides solid size and speed at safety, academic prowess and the pedigree of his high school. His hasn't visited Notre Dame yet, but he plans on doing so sometime soon.
Irish Sports Daily will have more on Prosise's commitment on Friday.
“Right now he has about 15 to 20 offers,” claimed Coach Sublet. “One of the schools that have offered him recently is Notre Dame. They were down here to check on him and LaDarrell McNeil a couple weeks ago and they said they're definitely looking at Lawry at the slot receiver position. They know that he has outstanding ball skills with great hand-eye coordination. If you watch this film, he just makes amazing catches.”
The 6-foot, 175-pound prospect has been offered by Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, California, Clemson, Colorado, Colorado State, Houston, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, Notre Dame, TCU, Tennessee, and Texas A&M and Utah and it's easy to see why there's so much interest in the junior.
“First off he's a heck of an athlete,” said Sublet. “He's a very coachable kid who gives you everything he has on every single play. He's just really fun to coach.
“He did really well for us last year at multiple positions. At receiver, he had 40 catches for over 700 yards and even played quarterback for us a couple games. He also was returning kicks for us, so whenever we needed a big play, he was a guy we looked to.”
Has he always been this special on the field?
“I noticed it his freshman year when he started on varsity against 4-A competition in the state of Texas,” said the A. Maceo coach. “As a ninth-grader, he started all 10 games and was First Team All-District. To tell you just how good of a season he had, he didn't have any drops receiving as a freshman against varsity competition.”
Even though many Texas kids set their sights on schools from around their area, Lawry quite possibly could be looking abroad for the right fit for him and his talents.
“Notre Dame will definitely be up for consideration,” said the coach. “Lawry has more offers at defensive back then he does at wide receiver, but Notre Dame is one of those schools that want him at receiver. The style of offense that Coach (Brian) Kelly runs at Notre Dame, where they throw the ball around a lot, that is something he's definitely interested in.”
Could a visit to Notre Dame be in the cards for the near future?
“I know him and McNeil are planning to come up South Bend pretty soon,” claimed the A. Maceo coach. “I believe they're going to be up there the second weekend of July to check out the campus. They plan on doing all their traveling the summer together.”
Smith already holds BCS offers from Arizona, Boston College, Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon State, Purdue, and West Virginia along with offers from Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, Toledo and Western Michigan. Additionally, Smith is receiving interest from Indiana, Georgia Tech, Wisconsin, Vanderbilt, and the Irish.
Smith, who was clocked at 4.38 last year, rushed for almost 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior.
An Illinois native, Notre Dame recruiting coordinator Chuck Martin has plenty of contacts within the state, but an especially tight connection with Smith’s head coach, Dan Stell.
“He used to coach my head coach and they’re pretty tight,” Smith said.
Martin is trying to build a relationship with Smith now.
“I’ve been talking to Coach Martin, it’s constant contact really,” said Smith. “He’s been asking me how school is going and track and stuff.”
Smith plans on attending Notre Dame’s one-day camp next month with the hopes of adding to his offer sheet, “There’s possibly an offer out there, yeah.”
Smith admits he doesn’t really know much about Notre Dame as a school or a program, but is happy for what the attention he’s received from each college has meant for those around him.
“It’s good to bring some attention to my high school because it’s kind of small,” he said. “It’s good to get that attention.”
It’s going to be a busy summer for Smith, who plans on making trips to Vanderbilt, Wisconsin and Indiana, in addition to Notre Dame. Smith is motivated by the prospect of having to earn offers at camps and intends to rely on his size, speed and athleticism.
Comfort will be a big factor in his decision.
“A home away from home really that just has that family feel,” he said.
He isn’t sure when an announcement will come, but doesn’t expect one before the fall.
“Most likely, I will use some of my official visits, maybe two or three,” he said.
Page 183 of 241