Thursday, October 23, 2008

2009 Recruiting Update: Part One- Running Backs

By Michael Rubin, Domer Sports Report

Notre Dame Football
2009 Recruiting

At 4-2 we know Notre Dame is having a good season on the field, but how are Charlie Weis and the Irish doing on the recruiting trail? As of right now, the Irish have 16 verbal commits with many more offers on the table. Here is a breakdown, by numbers, of the list of commits:

2 RB's (Wood, Riddick)
1 WR (Oliver)
2 TE's (Golic, Eifert)
3 OL (Bullard, Martin, Watt)
1 DL (Stockton)
2 LB's (Calabrese, Fox)
2 CB's (Banks, Pollard)
1 S (Motta)
1 K (Tausch)
1 P (Turk)

We are well into the thick of things on the recruiting trail with many offers on the table and recruits narrowing their choices and many making verbal commitments. Over the next week I will be breaking down each position and updating what recruits have verbally committed as well as where we stand with recruits in which we have offers on. I also plan to give updates on how the recruits are performing so far this season.

Running Backs

Dalton Hilliard, a 5'11 182 LB running back from Honolulu, Hawaii, recently returned from a visit to UCLA where he picked up an official offer. Hilliard, a 3-star recruit according to now has offers on the table from UCLA, Notre Dame, Washington, Colorado, UNLV, Nebraska, Arizona, Baylor, Stanford, Utah, Army, and his home town team Hawaii.

Hilliard said that UCLA has been recruiting him from the beginning of the process and that he was very happy when they finally offered him a scholarship on his visit last weekend to UCLA's homecoming game. Hilliard said he loved the coaching staff at UCLA and sees the program headed in the right direction with the addition of Norm Chow as offensive coordinator this year.

Hilliard, who has yet to officially visit Notre Dame, said that he "has always been a fan," of the Irish and grew up rooting for them. We will keep an eye on Dalton as he says he "wants to make a decision in the near future."

Here is's scouting report on Hilliard:

"Hilliard is a well-rounded, elusive back, and a kid we feel is going to start gaining big momentum on the recruiting trail. He is tall, high-cut and well-defined; should blow up to 200-pounds once he attacks a college weight-training program. Hits the hole at full speed and is very shift through traffic while losing very little in transition when cutting. Shows great balance, loose hips and body control sliding through the small creases and eluding the initial trash with great stop-start quickness. Runs with good pad level and his initial burst through the hole allows him to occasional run through arm tackles. While he shows the perimeter speed needed to turn the corner he lacks a great second gear and is not overly explosive when he gets a seam. Top-end speed is good but he is not a burner in the openfield or a true homerun threat for a non-power back. Runs with square shoulder pads and will occasionally flash a strong stiff arm but he lacks the bulk and lower-body leg strength at this time to consistently break tackles and earn good yards after contact as an in-line college runner. With that said, Hilliard possesses excellent receiving skills and can line up and hurt a defense in a number of ways as an offensive skill player. Great upside to become a productive featured back with his room for physical development."

Cierre Wood, a 6'0 192lb running back from Santa Clara, California gave the Irish a verbal commitment back in early April. Wood, who attends Oxnard High School, was on campus October 4th as the Irish beat the Stanford Cardinal. A 5-star recruit according to, Wood led his Oxnard team to a 21-16 victory last weekend as he scored on a 58-yard catch and run with just over a minute to go in the 4th quarter.

Here is's evaluation of Wood:

"Wood is a terrific athlete with the physical tools to excel on either side of the ball at the next level. He has a tall, high-cut frame that has room for plenty of additional bulk. Has the speed, elusiveness and quickness to excel on offense, especially on the perimeter. Shows the great vision to set up his downfield cuts and has the loose hips to make defenders miss in space. Flashes good balance, body lean and leg drive. Has deceptive lower-body strength and can break through initial arm tackles. Displays good receiving skills out of the backfield and in the slot. Can find the soft spots in zone defenses. Has soft hands and good concentration. Knows how to high-point the ball. Has questionable skills as an in-line runner. Doesn't attack the line of scrimmage downhill, pick his way through traffic or pick up quality yards after contact. Has an elongated lower body that makes sharp cuts difficult. Sometimes lose something in transition. High-cut frame could expose his body to big hits between the tackles at the next level. Speed is good but not elite. Tends to build up to speed and lacks elite burst and acceleration. Wood has potential on offense, but his excellent range, leaping ability, ball skills and athleticism may be better suited to safety than running back. He figures to be one of the smoother, more versatile athletes in the class of 2009."

The Irish also received a verbal commitment from RB Theo Riddick (4-star recruit from from Immaculata HS in Somerville, NJ. Riddick verbally committed to the Irish in the middle of April and was in South Bend for his official visit to see the Irish demolish the Michigan Wolverines back in September. was able to see Riddick this past weekend as his team defeated Voorhees HS (NJ) 42-20 as Riddick ran for 46 yards and a td. Rivals scout Mike Farrell, who was at the game said that Riddick has "quick feet and is excellent in space. He's also physical and an active blocker, and has good hands out of the backfield." As far as weeknesses Farrell says that, "Riddick isn't that big and doesn't have the look of an every-down back at the next level. he runs a bit high and sometimes tries to do too much by reversing field." Riddick, who also had offers Penn State, Pittsburg, Rutgers, Virginia, West Virginia, Boston College and Maryland, said that he chose Notre Dame, because of the tradition as well as the high academic standards.

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