This weekend may prove to be a very important one when it comes down to the Notre Dame/USC rivalry in the next few years. Sure the teams do not play for another week but this weekend features an opportunity to take dead aim at the Trojans recruiting class of 2009 with both linebacker Manti Te'o and safety Byron Moore making official visits to South Bend this afternoon.
Manti Te'o is amongst the most highly sought after defensive recruits in the nation, earning a five star rating from both Rivals and Scout at the middle linebacker position. Te'o is being recruited by nearly every college in the nation and has taken a visit to UCLA and has also attended two of USC's summer camps. Besides Notre Dame this weekend, Te'o is expected to visit the likes of Stanford and BYU as well as USC before he chooses a school so unless he is overly wowed by South Bend in the middle of November, don't expect a commit here this weekend. The Irish have been able to land some of the biggest names on the offensive side of the ball in recruiting wars the past few years but Te'o would be the first 5 Star recruit Charlie Weis will have been able to bring in on the defensive side of the football.
Byron Moore, a former UCLA commit and current commit to USC will be on Notre Dame's campus this weekend as well as he has recently sought after the Irish instead of the Irish going after him. Moore plays in the same district as Irish WR Commit Shaquelle Evans and the two sound like decent friends. After Evans committed to Notre Dame it was Moore who actually called Notre Dame, hoping to get noticed by the Irish. It payed off as Evans will also be on campus this weekend and don't think Charlie Weis wouldn't like to steal one of USC's charmed recruits right out from under him. To me Moore seems to have a real interest in Notre Dame and if the Irish are to see a commit this weekend it would most likely be from him.
The third and final high school senior visiting the Golden Dome this weekend is Tyler Gaffney, one of the most highly touted fullbacks in the nation. Gaffney also lists Stanford and USC as schools he is considering to attend. The Irish have been somewhat disappointing in what Asaph Schwap has brought to the table after playing now in his fourth year and would definitely like to get a fullback in whom they may have more confidence in to do a bit more. Gaffney is averaging over 10 yards a carry for Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego this year as he has scored 30 touchdowns. With a visit already set for Stanford in January I feel it will likely go very close to National Signing Day before Gaffney decides where he will call home the next four seasons.
Also on campus will be juniors Corey Cooper (ATH), Kyle Prater (LB), and Chandler Whitmer (QB).
GO IRISH, BEAT ORANGE