Irish suffer a pair of recruiting losses
| Published Monday, January 25, 2010, 3:30 PM | Updated Friday, September 9, 2011, 9:28 PM
With National Signing Day just over a week away, Notre
Dame appears to be limping down the final stretch.
Sunday evening, the fragile vessel that is the Notre
Dame football program sprung a few more leaks, with the defections of highly-regarded Indiana
defensive end Blake Leuders
and talented running back Giovanni Bernard
stings because he plays along the defensive line and appears destined for defensive end, a position at which the Irish are woefully depleted. Leuders
was snatched away by the same gentlemen who recruited him to play for Notre
Dame: Brian Polian
and Randy Hart
, both of whom are now employed by Stanford
, which is where Leuders
will now enroll.
Leuders, it seems, opted for familiarity with the coaching staff, even if it means he will be playing at a home venue which is frequented by fewer congregants than a community-theater production. That is not to say that Stanford is a poor selection; it is simply an odd change of course for a kid who played in Notre Dame's backyard, a kid who talked about a desire to compete for National Championships.
is a fine football coach. His team runs the football and plays a physical brand of football that I wish were once-again present at Notre
Dame. His program has bullied Southern Cal two out of the last three seasons. But he will not call Palo
Alto home much longer. Even with Harbaugh
, Stanford cannot win a National Championship. They simply will never be able to recruit enough depth in order to do so. At Notre
would have a chance to win the National Championship — Georgia, serif; line-height: normal; font-size: 16px; ">even if the naysayers at ESPN believe otherwise.
Bernard, who played at St. Thomas Aquinas
in Fort Lauderdale
, announced yesterday that he would re-open his recruitment, with Oregon
State and North Carolina
as possible destinations for the powerfully-built tailback. Bernard hasn't ruled out the possibility that he could eventually sign with Notre
Dame on Signing Day, which is next Wednesday, but it appears likely that he could end up somewhere else.
Watching Bernard's film
, you can see a tailback in the Autry Denson
mold, a back with a squatty
frame and shifty moves, lacking top-end speed. Denson
, of course, had a tremendous career at Notre
Dame, finishing his four years as the all-time leading rusher in Notre
That said, Bernard is a running back, and running backs are much easier to find than dominant defensive linemen, which is what Leuders may eventually become.