Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Notre Dame football.

Wednesday, March 28

Irish Get Fifth Commitment

If you want to thrive on offense, and you bet Charlie Weis wants to thrive, you need all the weapons you can get, and for the Irish, that certainly includes the tight end.

No, not as run blockers or even pass blockers. Receiving tight ends can really disrupt an offense already concerned about so many other things, and Weis has exploited that with guys such as Anthony Fasano and John Carlson. They’ve caught plenty of passes the last two years. Both were Mackey Award finalists, which goes annually to the nation’s top tight end.

That didn't go unnoticed by tight end Kyle Rudolph of Cincinnati. He orally committed after catching 30 passes for 400 yards and seven touchdowns last season as a junior.

Recruiting expert Tom Lemming rates the 6-7, 225-pound Rudolph as one of the top-four tight ends in the country.

That’s nothing new under Weis. The Irish already have a couple of highly regarded young tight ends in freshmen Konrad Reuland and Will Yeatman. Plus, incoming freshman Mike Ragone is considered by most experts as the nation’s top high school tight end.

Rudolph is the fifth high school player to commit to the Irish. The others are Bishop Dwenger receiver John Goodman, Penn offensive lineman Braxton Cave, Connecticut offensive lineman Mike Golic Jr. and Illinois defensive lineman Sean Cwynar.

So that’s four offensive players and one defensive player. Yes, Weis will get more defensive commitments. But if you love offense, you gotta love the Irish.

Tuesday, March 6

Notre Dame Recruiting Keeps Rolling

So Bishop Dwenger receiver John Goodman knew in his heart he was going to be a Fighting Irish the moment Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis answered all his questions.

So why wait?

Goodman didn’t and now he’s orally committed to the Irish, although he can’t officially sign until February of 2008 and won’t arrive on campus until that summer.

No matter. Goodman is 6-4 and 190 pounds and almost certainly will fill out more by then. He could be a big receiver in the mold of Jeff Samardzija, although only time will tell if he can be as productive as that All-America.

He was productive at Dwenger last year, catching 44 passes for 815 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also returned punts and kickoffs.

Goodman chose Notre Dame over Indiana, Purdue, Michigan, Kentucky, Iowa, Minnesota and Ball State.

Goodman wasn’t the only bit of good recruiting news for Weis. Also committing was Penn center Braxton Cave, who is 6-4 and 294 pounds. He has good speed for a guy that big and even on the offensive line, you can’t be fast enough. Also in his recruiting picture were Purdue, Indiana, Florida, Michigan and Iowa.

With current Notre Dame center John Sullivan set to play in his final season, that position could be wide open.

Both Goodman and Cave committed in the aftermath of attending last Sunday’s junior day gathering. That’s when about 40 high school juniors showed to see why Notre Dame might be the best school for them.

As expected, plenty of studs attended such as receiver Warren Reuland of California (he’s the younger brother of Notre Dame tight end Konrad Reuland), Chicago linebacker Steven Filer, Ohio safety Dan McCarthy (the younger brother of Irish safety Kyle McCarthy), Nebraska offensive lineman Trevor Robinson and Illinois defensive lineman Sean Cwynar.

Notre Dame now has three commitments for its class of 2008. The other is Connecticut center Mike Golic Jr.

Yes, it's early, but it looks like Weis is well on his way to a third straight outstanding class.