By and large considered the top tight end recruit in the country, Konrad Reuland recently committed to Notre Dame and became the latest recruit in a stellar class that is rapidly approaching maximum occupancy. The 6'6" 240lb recruit had offers from just about every school in the country but selected the Irish over finalists USC, Ohio State, and Nebraska. It has been a few years since Notre Dame has been able to go into USC's backyard and land a recruit high on the Trojan wishlist, but apparently that is exactly what Coach Weis was able to do with Reuland. The odds were definitely not in ND's favor from the start as Reuland's quarterback last year at Mission Viejo is current Trojan freshman Mark Sanchez.
"Even two years ago," Reuland said Thursday night on CSTV's 'Tom Lemming's Generation Next,' "I never imagined myself playing for Notre Dame.".....Of course, one of the reasons why Reuland wouldn't have imagined playing for the Irish is due to the fact that he only started playing football two years ago. As a freshman in high school, Reuland attended Mater Dei high school where he played on the varsity basketball team that won the state championship and ended the season ranked as the nation's 3rd best team. But Konrad then transferred to Mission Viejo where he soon got noticed as a tight end for the perenially strong Diablos. He still plays basketball (#33), but football is his focus now.
"Playing with Mark would have been awesome," Reuland said. "In the end I had to go with my heart and what I felt deep down inside.
"The place that stood out to me was Notre Dame."
As a tight end recruit, Reuland's accolades are a result of his ability both as a pass-catching tight end and a physical blocker. As Weis has noted about current Irish tight end Anthony Fasano, many tight ends can catch and run, and many can block, but very few can do both successfully. From all of the various internet reports, it appears that Reuland is among that select group of versatile tight ends.
It helps that Reuland looks to be the reciepent of some quality coaching. His high school coach is Bob Johnson, the director of the Elite 11 quarterback camps and father of former USC QB Rob Johnson. While some recruits are not exposed to offenses anywhere near the complexity of those taught in colleges, I think it's safe to say that Konrad has and that will only help him adapt faster to the teaching he will receive at Notre Dame. It also helps that Reuland spent time before high school in Germany living with relatives. I'd imagine that if you can learn physics in German, a college playbook isn't all that daunting.
Reuland is the 25th known verbal commitment to the Irish, and seeing as how that is the maximum number allowed in a single recruiting class, I figure it's worth going over the numbers one more time.
First off, Will Yeatman is not included in the count as he is technically a lacrosse recruit, despite his future plans to play football. He will be counted in the scholarship equation in 2007, but not now. That leaves the 25 other known verbal commits to Coach Weis and the Fighting Irish. James Aldridge and Chris Stewart have already been announced as early entry students, which means that they will enter Notre Dame in a few weeks and not officially count in the 2006 recruiting class tally. Fellow verbal George West is also rumored to be an early entry possibility but nothing official has been announced yet. If West does indeed join Aldridge and Stewart -- and we should find out for sure shortly as the spring semester is not that far away -- then this current recruiting class will have three remaining open slots for additional players. With offensive lineman Matt Carufel still considered a heavy favorite to pick the Irish (the current take is that he will make his choice public at the US Army All-American Bowl in early January), that leaves two seats open. The most likely candidates to fight for those spots are Florida offensive tackle Sam Young, Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, Colorado offensive/defensive tackle Butch Lewis, and California wide receiver Terrance Austin.