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A kick in the gut
Posted on Thursday, December 10, 2009 at 02:15 PM -
- North Carolina prep star pledges for Notre Dame
- The case for Jimmy Clausen
- Like Lou Holtz, Notre Dame's Kelly on the move
- Matt James headlines the class of 2010 at Notre Dame
- Irish suffer a pair of recruiting losses
Perhaps the most unsettling news of this offseason came late Tuesday evening.
Coveted quarterback recruit Nick Montana, son of former Notre Dame legend and Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, has committed to play football for the University of Washington.
The same Washington Huskies program which Tyrone Willingham navigated to exactly zero wins last year.
Willingham, the embodiment of the NCAA's "Death Penalty", is no longer in Seattle. But the residual damage of his abysmal recruiting efforts will serve as a harsh reminder of just how far the once-proud Huskies have fallen.
I wonder if Irish Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick is keeping score of the Irish struggles on the recruiting front. Sure, Charlie Weis has managed to lure a pair of elite athletes in defensive lineman Chris Martin and offensive tackle Christian Lombard, but the Irish have secured only five commitments thus far, with the commitment of New Jersey wideout Bennett Jackson on Sunday.
More troubling is, Montana's commitment to a dormant Washington program represents the second time, during this recruiting campaign, that a legacy recruit has chosen to play for a program other than Notre Dame.
Wide receiver Tai-ler Jones, son of former Notre Dame linebacker Andre Jones, was the first legacy recruit to rebuff the Irish this year – doing so back in April.
That tells me these kids have concerns about the trajectory of Notre Dame's football program, and more specifically, Charlie Weis' coaching future.
And because recruiting is the most important agent in a program's foundation, Weis must get out of the gate quickly this season. That is the only way to restart the Irish's inert recruiting prospects.
Of course, this is not the first time Notre Dame has seen legacy recruits opt for other schools, and it will not be the last.
It's just a shame that Irish fans will now have to read about Joe Cool's kid tossing touchdowns against Southern Cal – as a member of the Washington Huskies.
(Joe Montana – leading ND to victory against Southern Cal circa 1977.) At season's end, Montana led the Irish to a 38-10 whipping of the Texas Longhorns in the Cotton Bowl, winning the National Championship. Bob Golic, before his brief stint sporting his sweet curly mullet on Saved by The Bell: The College Years, spearheaded the defensive domination.