Notre Dame Football
One of the most recent verbal commitments Notre Dame has received was that of athlete Nyshier Oliver. Oliver projects to be a wide receiver when he steps on to campus at South Bend. Oliver, (5'10 175lb 3-star recruit from Rivals.com) originally committed to Tennessee in June, but then decommitted in mid-August. Oliver said he felt like he rushed the recruiting process when he initially committed to the Vols.
Nyshier was on campus taking his official visit to watch the Irish manhandle the Michigan Wolverines in September and committed to Notre Dame on October 1st. Oliver, who plays for St. Peter's Prep in New Jersey, said that the academics, the tradition, and the fact that Notre Dame has the best fans in college football was a deciding factor in his decision. Charlie Weis currently sees Oliver playing slot receiver.
Nyshier is willing to do whatever it takes to get on the field, whether that means playing safety, running back, or wide receiver.
Besides Tennessee, Oliver had also received offers from Penn State, Rutgers, Virginia, Wake Forest, Boston College, and Maryland. Nyshier, who runs a 4.4 forty yard dash, will join an already solid group of wide receivers. Here is his scouting report from ESPN.com:
"Oliver should be nicknamed Houdini being he can slip through the smallest of places without being touched by the opposition. Even though he's not the biggest skilled athlete in the country, he is a very talented football player. Colleges might tend to recruit him as a safety, but he is very good running back and overall offensive skill player. He is equally as effective running inside or outside. He can cut the isolation play back against the grain for big yards or bounce it all the way out to the perimeter then use his great speed to take it down the sideline. Sometimes can bust a run up the middle and go completely unscathed and often times maintains his balance when hit by would-be tacklers. Hits and spins for extras yardage showing great balance and body control. Can catch the football out of the backfield and turn a short reception into a homerun. Very light on his feet; his quick moves and agile feet often leave defenders flat on their face after they miss. Equally as talented as a return specialist. Shows a real burst in the open field and makes his cuts going full speed. Reads his blocks well as a returner. Oliver has great hips and can change direction in an instance. The colleges like him as a safety but I think it's going to be impossible to keep this talent from handling the football."
The Irish also have offered a scholarship to the #2 overall prospect in the 2009 class and the #1 ranked wide receiver Rueben Randle. Randle (6'3 195, 5-star Rivals.com), plays for Bastop HS in Bastrop, Louisiana. Randle has offers from Alabama, FSU, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Ole Miss, Oklahoma as well as Tennessee. He is the do-it-all type, similar to Terrelle Pryor last year.
Currently, Randle is playing quarterback for his high school team and is completing 74 percent of his passes. Beyond the incredible arm and accurate touch, Randle is blazing fast. Through five games this season, Randle has thrown nine touchdown passes and only one interception.
Reports say that Randle is currently leaning towards in-state favorite LSU, but time will tell. I personally think he would look good donning a Gold helmet and smacking the "Play like a Champion" sign in South Bend. Here is his evaluation from ESPN.com:
"Explosive and fluid for a size receiver, Randle resembles a taller Josh Jarboe (class of 2008). He is big and strong, but athletic for his size. Plays fast and has explosive playmaking skills. His size and speed make him a legitimate deep threat. He's versatile and able to play multiple spots in a formation to create mismatches. Struggles to get off press coverage against talented, savvy cornerbacks--like most young receivers. He's tough and fearless over the middle. Makes tough catches in traffic and secures the ball even when absorbing a big hit. He's a bit high-cut, but shows little stiffness in his hips. Has more explosiveness running vertical routes than he has after the catch, but his initial burst and second gear still make him a threat to go the distance. Shows surprisingly fluid athleticism with the ball in his hands and isn't strictly straight-lined in his movements. He isn't exactly shifty in space, but he has natural cutting ability. Catches the ball in stride and has enough elusiveness to make multiple defenders miss. Can turn a short catch into a big play. Has very long arms and can high-point the ball in traffic. His size gives him natural red-zone tools, and he can make the acrobatic catch. Has a wide catch radius and very impressive focus. Has very good return skills and vision in the open field. Needs to polish his route-running skills, but that should come with time and experience. Randle has the blend of size, speed and playmaking ability to create mismatch problems on the perimeter or in the slot at the college level."
If you hear whispers of "Shaq Diesel" on campus at South Bend, it's not the students of Notre Dame reminising about former L.A. Laker Shaquille O'Neil, it's that of standout wide receiver Shaquelle Evans. Evans is a 6'1 203lb wide receiver from Inglewood, CA, a 4-star recruit from Rivals.com and most recently a decommit to the coveted brain trusts at USC. Evans is the number 3 ranked receiver in a very talented 2009 class. Evans was in Trojanland to watch USC rout Ohio State earlier this year and reportedly gave coach Pete Carroll a verbal commitment. However, those close to the situation report that Evans' commitment was a "soft" commitment, meaning that he was still going to visit other schools.
Evans was on hand September 27th to watch the Irish defeat Purdue 38-21. At that game, Evans was hoisted in the air by the fans and followed the tradition by doing pushups after Golden Tate scored a second quarter touchdown. Evans said the tradition, the academics and the overall comfort level he felt in South Bend are a big reason why they are currently his favorite for next year. Here is Evans' evaluation on espn.com:
"Big, fast and explosive are the three words that best describe Evans. He is a true difference-maker in the return game and moves like a smaller, quicker receiver in the open field. Has good size and has room on his frame to get even bigger. Shows an explosive surge off the ball and eats up a cushion quickly. Uses his body effectively to shield defenders from the ball. He isn't afraid to go over the middle and can catch in traffic. Has big, soft, strong hands. Can pull the ball away from defenders when fighting for it in the air. Can catch over his head and pluck on the run. He's a smooth and fluid route runner and shows some explosiveness out of his breaks. Possesses a good feel for finding soft spots in zone coverage. Shows good body control and balance. Can adjust to poorly thrown balls and is effective working the sideline. He's a vertical threat because of his size and speed. Has the wide wingspan and leaping ability to be a weapon on fade routes, especially in the red zone. Like most young receivers, he may initially struggle against press coverage when matched up with cornerbacks who are better equipped to face him. Needs to sharpen his route precision and become more crisp into and out of his cuts. Evans rates among the best in his class, regardless of position. He's a very good player and an outstanding prospect."
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 Rivals.com 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 ESPN.com'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 Rivals.com, 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 ESPN.com'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 Rivals.com) 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.
Rivals.com 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.
As mentioned, our coverage will be thorough. But, the best part is - it's free! However, there are things that you, the viewer, can do for us - and, it won't cost you a thing! Things you can do to help:
Thanks for your consideration. We hope to see you on our message board! We also know you will love our free coverage of Notre Dame football and basketball recruiting. As always, Go Irish!