Recruiting Week In Review

April 21, 2019

Written by Joe Bradshaw

College football recruiting is as much an art as a science. In order to evaluate players, coaches must be part Nostradamus and part psychologist. Understanding how a player will fit in with the program is equally as important as projecting how a prospect will physically develop. Good team chemistry will often offset talent disadvantages. Recruits understand the need to fit in with a program as well. It’s a common occurrence for prospects to state that the most important aspect of a program to them is how comfortable they feel there. That’s why getting players on campus is such a key for both the recruit and the program, they need to get a feel for their comfort level. There’s no way to replace the on campus experience with phone calls and texting sessions with the recruiter, position coach or coordinator.

Irish Sports Daily reported on two Class of 2020 prospects who are trying to determine is Notre Dame is the right place for them to spend the next three, four or even five years. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Sports Daily?

Cam Large‍, DL, 6-5, 240, Noble and Greenough School, Dedham, MA is an extremely impressive player and young man. In fact, even opposing coaches rave about him. Will Croom is a rival Middlesex assistant coach and he couldn’t say enough good things about Large to ISD. To be fair, Croom coaches him in 7 on 7 in the offseason.

“He just has that combination of size, speed and power,” he said. “He’s a very versatile kid with a high motor. He’s a fierce competitor. I can’t say enough about him. He’s a sideline to sideline kid. His best football is ahead of him.”

Croom continued.

“He reminds me of Brian Cushing, he really does. He can be a stand-up type d-end and could even get down there and play a five technique because he has enough power. When he’s playing 7 on 7 for me, he’s playing tight end. Everybody on the road calls him ‘Baby Gronk.’ He’s athletic, highly competitive and powerful. This is a combination for good things.”

Large’s ability and versatility helps explain his prestigious offer sheet. In addition to Notre Dame he currently holds scholarship offers from Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, LSU, Wisconsin, Boston College, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Duke and many others. Some schools are recruiting him for offense. Notre Dame is recruiting him for defense. Croom agrees.

“He’s just an athlete,” he explained. “I’m an offensive guy but the best athletes have to be on defense and that’s where I would put him. With the RPO being so prevalent, you need d-ends who can keep the quarterback at bay and he has a background at linebacker.”

Croom says Large is as good off the field as on.

“He’s a guy I would have around my family, no problem,” he said. “If I had to take my wife out on a date and he lived close to me, ‘Hey come make a few bucks babysitting my kids.’ I can’t say enough about him.”

Large visited Notre Dame last February and came away impressed. Croom isn’t surprised that he would be interested in the Irish.

“Notre Dame is a special place,” he said. “The New York Yankees of college football. It has that history. That Dome, it shines; Touchdown Jesus and all of that stuff. From recruits I’ve dealt with, that visit to South Bend resonates with them in a big way.”

Croom expects Notre Dame to be a major player for Large.

“This is just my gut intuition, but I definitely see Notre Dame being in the top five of his decision when it’s all said and done,” he predicted. “Cam is a gem of a kid. Any program would be lucky to have him.”

Like Large, Xavier Watts‍, WR, 6-1, 180, Burke High School, Omaha, NE is high on Notre Dame’s wish list. Watts recently made a return visit to Notre Dame. ISD caught up with the four-star receiver before left for South Bend.

“I just want to see more than what I saw last time for the Stanford game,” he shared. “I just want to see as much as I can and am able to. I want to have good conversations with coaches and see where they see me playing and how they see me fitting in with the program.”

Watts has been talking with numerous Irish coaches, including his position coach Del Alexander.

“He’s been telling me he’s truly interested in me,” he said. “I’m a good talent and he could see me fitting in there.”

Like Large, Watts could play a number of positions on either side of the ball. Unlike Large, he believes that offense is his best choice.

“I would prefer to play receiver, but it’s good that I could play either side,” he explained. “Say I don’t do good at receiver, I could always move over to the defensive side. That’s pretty interesting and exciting that I could play both ways for the school.”

Watts interest in Notre Dame is legitimate. There is much that he finds appealing about the Irish.

“Everyone always talks about Notre Dame,” he said. “It’s a good school, one of the top schools in the country. They’re always good at football, got good education, good tradition. It’s just a great school all-around.”

In addition to Notre Dame, Watts has been offered by Michigan, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Northwestern, Iowa and many others. After Notre Dame he has other trips lined up including Nebraska and Michigan. He doesn’t plan to stop there, though.

“This is basically kind of the beginning,” he explained. “I’m going to take way more visits. I’m going to try to get to as many places as I can, just to show respect to all of the coaches who have shown interest in me.

He also plans to take official visits before and during the season. What he’ll be looking for more than anything else is how comfortable he feels.

“Just whoever I feel the most comfortable around, who I can talk to and am cool with and then, my best opportunity to play because I want to play as a freshman. That means a lot.”

These two summaries represent just a sample of the Notre Dame football recruiting information available each week on Irish Sports Daily.

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