Growing up in South Florida, we had our weather related issues. Hurricanes, Tornadoes and of course heat. The heat is one of the reasons I don't live down there now. You can't get used to the heat, just like you can't get used to the cold. I remember watching TV in my childhood days and thinking, "What the hell are those people doing, living in that weather", everytime we saw news of the weather up north. Now I live in it.
So last night I am driving home from The Home Depot, getting Salt, and in the distance I see an explosion. I look up and the high tension wire is falling to the ground. I get home, no electricity, no phone, no Satelite and of course No Internet. Not the worst way to spend with the family, but with a 11 month old and two boys (7 & 4), playing games only gets you so far.
As we put everyone to bed in the candlelight, I started wondering "What the hell am I doing living in this weather"?
So back to the recruiting angle. Armando Allen, Sam Young, and Nwankwo all chose ND over other schools. Why, I ask myself? You can play football in warm weather just as well as cold, sometimes better. The girls all look better in shorts and t-shirts than they do in parkas and muck mucks. So, why choose ND.
There has to be something special about a place where for more than a couple of months, the weather looks like This:
Charlie Has travelled well this season and gotten commits from many different areas. The list is impressive when you think about where these kids are coming from. Getting a kid from Chicago or Ohio is not a big stetch, but bringing a kid 1100 miles from Hialeah Florida, to South Bend is very commendable. The average temperature in South Bend ranges from 16 for a low in the winter to 83 for a high in the summer.
For a lot of the guys, this won't make much of a difference. But for some, South Bend is a half a world away and a place where Global Warming has not hit yet.... Take a look at the guys in this years class, where they come from and see what Charlie is building. He is building a tradition that had lost its way. A tradition that is coming back strong. The boys in this list want to be at ND and have come a long way to show us all just how much.
Grass Valley, CA -- Taylor Dever, OT, to Notre Dame (1,823.89 mi). Average temperature in Grass Valley ranges from 31 degrees for a low in the winter and 87 for a high in the summer. From the mountains of NoCal to the Michigan/Indiana Border. He saw something that opened his eyes. Maybe the NFL. That is a long way to come, but I am guessing he couldn't wait to leave that town and travel. With the Irish Schedule, he will see a lot of the country in the next four years and will have 5 dates to play in Cali and one in Washington State.
Westlake Village, CA -- Jimmy Clausen, QB, to Notre Dame (1,836.49 mi). Average temperature in Westlake Village ranges from 40 degrees for a low in the winter and 96 for a high in the summer. Learned from his brothers and decided to travel across the country to learn from the great one. Eventhough the show at the Hall of Fame would have us guessing differently, he is a great kid with no attitude.
Altamonte Springs, FL -- Ian Williams, DT, to Notre Dame (940.09 mi). Average temperature in Altamonte Springs ranges from 47 degrees in the winter to 92 in the summer. He got it backwards. You're supposed to say, "I am going to Disney World, not I am going to South Bend". Leaving Florida for the wicked north is not easy. Playing time and some very strong academics got him to make the move. Chose ND over Auburn, Clemson, Florida and Mississippi. All southern schools. HMMM.
Miramar, FL -- Emeka Nwankwo, OT, to Notre Dame (1,136.56 mi). Average temperature in Miramar Florida ranges from 62 degrees in the winter to 92 in the summer. Not the greatest place in the world to live, but still South Florida. A neighboring community to where I grew up and very good football area. He attended Chaminade, a private school with great tradition. I think he saw Sam Young survive and do well, decided to commit to ND over Auburn, Florida, FSU, UGA and UVA.
Opa-locka, FL -- Armando Allen, RB, to Notre Dame (1,141.93 mi). Average temperature in Opa-Locka ranges from 62 in the winter to 92 in the summer. Another not so great place to live. Armando went to Hialeah Miami-Lakes HS and played some of the best football teams in the state. Lakes has been at the top or near it for a very long time. I left in 1981 and they were a top tier team then, and still are now. Education played a factor in his decision, plus he has the confidence that he can play NOW! Chose ND over Duke, UF, FSU and UT. A great pipeline has been started by Charlie into the SoFla scene.
Chicago, IL -- Robert Hughes, RB, to Notre Dame (73.52 mi). Average temperature in Chicago ranges from 18 in the winter to 84 in the summer. Not a big stretch weather wise, but moving to a small mid-western town from the big city will take some time to adjust. Close to home and important to family. Coolest thing yet was his mom putting the ND hat on the same time as Robert at the announcement. Can't wait to see him play. Big get by Corwin and Charlie. Chose ND over OSU, UM, MSU, Illinois and many others.
Lemont, IL -- Aaron Nagel, LB, to Notre Dame (91.11 mi). Average Temperatures in Lemont range from 14 degrees in the winter to 87 in the summer. Another small town boy moving to a small town. Weather was not a factor. Decision based on Academics, location and tradition. Typical ND type player. One of my favorites at this point. Chose Notre Dame over Illinois, Purdue, Northwestern, MSU, IU.
Overland Park, KS -- Brian Smith, ILB, to Notre Dame (481.36 mi). Average temperature in Overland Park range from 20 in the winter to 89 in the summer. Having a dad play at ND doesn't hurt. Was high on ND and never got the offer. Thankfully didn't take the weather into account. Oh, yea, his other offer was Iowa. South Bend is like South Beach compared to Iowa. Over KSU, Iowa, MSU, Nebraska, and others.
Bunn, NC -- Kerry Neal, DE, to Notre Dame (583.23 mi). Average temperature in Bunn ranges from 25 in the winter to 90 in the summer. Committed a year ago and stuck to his choice. Bunn is 28 miles from Raleigh and a world away from South Bend. He saw the opportunity to play and took full advantage. Doesn't look like weather will play a factor for him. Chose ND over UNC, Wake, ECU. Committed very early and did not get the looks he should have.
Cherry Hill, NJ -- Mike Ragone, TE, to Notre Dame (597.19 mi). Average temperature in Cherry Hill ranges from 23 in the winter to 88 in the summer. Weather not a factor for this type of player. Typical TE with hands like Ken MacAfee. Will be a difference maker and a typical "What Exit" Jersey Boy. I like it. ND beat out OSU, USC, PSU, FSU. Nice to beat out the Three letter schools.
Hoboken, NJ -- Duval Kamara, WR, to Notre Dame (636.12 mi). Average temperature in Hoboken ranges from 23 in the winter to 83 in the summer. Second half of the Jersey Connection. No nonsense, quiet and has all the tools. Weather not a factor, just needs to know what exit is South Bend. Will pair nicely with Ragone to split defenses down the middle. RU, USC, UMiami, UConn, PSU
Findlay, OH -- Brandon Walker, K, to Notre Dame (141.21 mi). Average temperature in Findlay ranges from 17 in the winter to 83 in the summer. Not a big stretch from Findlay to South Bend. Both small towns, and my god, this kid got a ride to Notre Dame. Didn't take him long to drop the Louisville ride. Did it? Chose the Irish over MSU, Louisvill, Pitt and Cincinnati.
Tulsa, OK -- Matt Romine, OT, to Notre Dame (648.00 mi). Average temperature in Tulsa ranges from 26 in the winter to 94 in the summer. To get a kid to leave Oklahoma is hard enough. But to get a kid to leave with the caliber of Romine is nothing short of amazing. The only guy at the AAA game that stuck to his guns and stayed with us. UF, UMiami, UMich, Oklahoma. This pull is as big for Charlie and Company as any other. Oklahoma kids don't leave the area is what they said. They don't know ND.
Allison Park, PA -- Stephen Paskorz, RB/LB, to Notre Dame (335.45 mi). Average temperature in Allison Park ranges from 17 degrees in the winter to 83 in the summer. A Pennsylvania Blue Collar type player that will be a great asset to the team. Hard working, family values drive him. UMich, Pitt, UVA, WVU.
Columbia, SC -- Gary Gray, CB, to Notre Dame (601.64 mi). Average temperature in Columbia ranges from 36 in the winter to 95 in the summer. One of the kids that didn't look at weather, but looked at tradition, playing time and academics. Committed early and didn't change his mind. Ready to come in and play. Early enrollee to ND and Is getting tested well right now as we speak with the weather in South Bend. Aub, GT, Lou, Maryland, UT, and pulled him away from the Ole' Ball Coach at South Carolina. That is always a plus.
Hendersonville, TN -- Golden Tate, WR, to Notre Dame (372.72 mi). Average temperature in Hendersonville is between 28 degrees in the winter and 89 in the summer. Not much to say. With a name like Golden, where else could he have gone. Picked the pocket of the southeast and the kid is coming north for the winter (spring and fall). Great addition to the family. Alabama, South Carolina, Vandy.
Knoxville, TN -- Harrison Smith, S, to Notre Dame (414.91 mi). Average temperature in Knoxville is between 30 in the winter and 88 in the summer. Picked the pocket of UT from their own backyard. The kid can play and will make a difference. UT, BC, Aub, Clemson, VT, Stanford.
Ashburn, VA --Andrew Nuss, OT, to Notre Dame (494.64 mi). Average temperature in Ashburn is between 19 in the winter and 87 in the summer. Another kid that was recruited close to home and in warmer climates, but chose ND. Can see himself playing a couple different positions, but doesn't care. Just wants to make things happen at ND. BC, Maryland, UGA, UVA.
One thing for sure is that Charlie Weis is making a difference in the kids lives. Notre Dame has always had the disadvantage of recruiting in other peoples states and this has hurt the program and the institution the past ten years.
The kids coming in this season and the years with Charlie are different. They possess an attitude that is Notre Dame. They want to be here and will thrive in any weather. They chose ND over warmer climate schools because a facade is just that, nothing but smoke and mirrors.
Notre Dame is on the road back and the other schools better take note. WE ARE Notre Dame.