Nick Shepkowski, Domer Sports Report
Notre Dame Football
Notre Dame enters the final week of recruiting for the 2009 high school seniors as the Irish continue to fall down the ranks of both Rivals and Scout.Com's lists. The Irish have lost a verbal commitment by Nyshier Oliver, the 3/4 star athlete from New Jersey who seems to be headed to Tennessee now. Not only have the Irish lost a potential future star, but they haven't added any for quite some time now.
Currently, the Irish sit just inside the top 25 in rankings for recruiting this offseason. Sure, when you lose a borderline 3/4 star player decommit the rankings go down, but how at this point can the overall talent pool of the Fighting Irish move up?
Two Words: Manti Te'o
Commonly reffered to as the top high school linebacker in the country, Manti Te'o has listed Notre Dame as a finalist to attend next year. Along with Notre Dame, the rumors have Te'o also flirting with both USC and UCLA. If the Irish are able to land Te'o they will have an immediate answer to the departure of Maurice Crum, Jr. who leaves Notre Dame after four seasons (five, if you count the one redshirt season) in the blue and gold.
Te'o would be able to fill the middle linebacker void and with the Irish not being primed for a title run in 2009, he could add valuable experience in 2010, a year Notre Dame will have enough talent to make a serious BCS run.
Sadly for Notre Dame fans there are a few things that remain an obstacle in order for the Irish to pull in Te'o and the biggest one would have to be those three dreaded letters, U-S-C. Te'o is expected on making one more visit to Pete Carroll and the USC campus before February 4th.
I was excited about learning Te'o had not eliminated ND from contention, I have to admit a commitment from him would mean more to me than the Jimmy Clausen commitment did. Te'o would come in not wearing four state title rings and the punchline of many college football blogs. Te'o is more NCAA ready at his position coming out high school than Jimmy was. Te'o can be an instant contributor for whichever school he chooses.
Sadly, in my eyes, I feel the fact he's taking another look at USC before signing day (in which he plans to have decided by) makes me feel the Irish and Bruins are just being dragged around for the rest of his high school ride and that he will choose to be a Trojan.
However, as most of you know I am nearly never right so let's hope that is the case again!