The very bright news on an otherwise dreary weekend involved the commitment of Minnesota wide receiver Michael Floyd to ND. Floyd is the 20th member of the recruiting Class of 2008 and was one of the biggest targets in all of recruiting this year. On campus for his official visit, Floyd made his decision and publicly committed.
"I just got that feeling that Notre Dame was the place I wanted to be," Floyd said.The 6'3", 200 pound Floyd's decision is great news for two reasons. First, he is a fantastic athlete and a talented wide receiver. The second is that after a few months of negative story after negative story, the Fighting Irish finally got some good news. In fact, some might even wonder why Floyd would pick the 1-7 ND over his second choice, undefeated and #1 Ohio State. In addition to noting academics as a factor, Floyd echoed the thoughts of many in his current recruiting class.
"This is it," he said. "I'm not going to take any more visits."
Floyd said Notre Dame's 1-7 record and struggles on offense didn't concern him.One gets the feeling that the coaching staff is really selling the currently committed recruits on sticking to their pledge and being the collective tipping point that puts ND over the top talent-wise. It's a theme we keep hearing over and over with this class. For that reason, I'm going to opine that there won't be many, if any, decommits. Time will tell of course, but so far it has been nothing but optimism.
"They are a young team and play a lot of freshmen and sophomores," Floyd said. "I think this '08 recruiting class is going to bring a different fire to the team."
"We talk to all our guys on a regular basis," Weis said. "Hey, look, they go to the high schools and they get abused, just like we all do. And everyone says, 'You're going there?' That's the way people are. They're cynical by nature.For Floyd, the decision came down to the Irish, the aforementioned Buckeyes, and his hometown Minnesota Gophers. He also had offers from other top programs like Florida and Michigan. The recruiting sites all have him ranked highly: he's a 5-star recruit and the 39th overall player in the nation on Scout, a 4-star player and the 79th overall player on Rivals, and the 39th overall player on ESPN.com's Top 150. For those who want to get a glimpse of what he looks like on the field, here's a recent highlight clip from a game a few weeks ago. Be sure to watch until the end for a hilariously awkward question from a Gopher-friendly reporter. Floyd hails from Cretin-Derham Hall, a strong ND feeder that has given the Irish players like Rashon Powers-Neal, Marcus Freeman, Ryan Harris, and recent transfer Matt Carufel.
"I can't tell you how many of these young men have said. 'Don't worry about me, coach, I'm all in.' That is a repeated comment. Hey, do I feel bad for them? Sure. But I feel worse for the guys I've got here right now, OK. Especially the guys that are going out the door. But I think, almost to a man, these guys are saying, 'Don't worry about me, coach. I'm all Notre Dame. Go worry about the next guy. Don't worry about me.' "
Defensive line and wide receiver were two positions that were crucial to this year's recruiting effort. The defensive line needs were taken care of and then some earlier in the year, but until Floyd's announcement, the receiver tally was lacking a superstar player. Floyd fulfills that goal and, now teamed with new friend and fellow 4-star recruit John Goodman, ND has a solid receiving duo that will complement freshmen Duval Kamara and Golden Tate in the coming years.
As the 20th commit, Floyd is the 16th in the current class ranked with a 4-star or higher. Adding these 16 recruits to the members of the freshman and sophomore classes, ND has 41 players with a 4-star or higher coming out of high school (according to Rivals). The previous three classes had 11 players total with such a ranking. While the star system is not the be-all and end-all of talent evaluation, when used as a quick summary of a class, the star system is historically fairly accurate at pegging the overall strength of a class. This is shaping up to be a very strong class indeed.