Notre Dame football just survived a bad season, complete with a collapse after a string of wins, rumors of coaching changes, and losses to some terrible teams. However, the Irish faithful are looking ahead to a brand new season. That hope begins with signing day, the day when college football fans get worked up and follow the every move of talented teenagers, hoping that they don the cap of their favorite school. Notre Dame, though not the recruiting juggernaut they once were, landed in the Rivals top twenty with the 17 recruits they signed.
The jewel of that recruiting class is Hawaiii's Manti Te'o, a linebacker from Punahou High School in Hawaii, which is also the alma mater of someone else with high expectations. Te'o has nearly every accolade that a high school football player can achieve: Gatorade Player of the Year for Hawaii, Parade Prep All-American, First-Team USA Today, the Butkus Award for the best high school linebacker in the country and was ranked seventh in the country by the Chicago Sun-Times. Notre Dame's coaches were not sure that Te'o would be headed to South Bend, and when he did sign, head coach Charlie Weis said, "Now that fired me up."
Only one Chicago-area player signed a letter of intent. Chris Watt, out of Glenbard West High School, will play offensive line for the Irish. He was also a Parade All-American and First-Team USA Today. Watt signed with Notre Dame despite the fact that his brother, Kevin, is a junior on the football team at Northwestern. When Watt called the Notre Dame coaches to advise them of his decision, Weis said, "It's a great day for you and it's a great day for Notre Dame."