Monday, May 01, 2006

Tight End U. | by Pat

In what was a very smooth transition, a day after New Jersey native and tight end Anthony Fasano officially left the Fighting Irish for the Dallas Cowboys, New Jersey native and Camden Catholic Fighting Irish tight end Mike Ragone publicly committed to Notre Dame and New Jersey native Charlie Weis. Ragone, the fourth verbal committment of the 2007 recruiting class couldn't cite just one reason for picking ND.

"There was no one thing about Notre Dame, it was everything," Ragone told Sunday night. "First, Charlie Weis he's going to be a legendary coach. . . . The first time I met him he said he only wanted one tight end and he said he wanted me. That made a lot of things good. Second, we'll have the best quarterback in the country going there, Jimmy Clausen."
It was at the Blue and Gold Game where Ragone chatted with Clausen (you can see Clausen telling Ragone "gotta get you here now" on this espn clip) and informed Coach Weis that he would be committing to ND. (Perhaps it was Weis and Ragone's shared affection for hoodies that sealed the deal.)

A member of the Rivals 100 list, the 6'4" 220-pound Ragone will probably end up as one of, if not the, top tight end in the country this year. His scholarship offer list was as long as they com, and in the end he picked ND over finalists USC, Miami, and Florida State. Along with Konrad Reuland, Ragone makes two years in a row that Notre Dame received commitments from one of the top tight ends in the country. Throw in Will Yeatman, and I'd expect to see a whole lot of two- and three-tight end sets in the future.

In addition to football, Ragone is also a top wrestler who won the prestigious Beast of the East competition in the heavyweight division, and was a perfect 36-0 last year until a knee injury in the state semi-finals ended his junior season. The knee injury turned out to be a torn ACL, but Ragone is already back to working out and expects to be able to play football again this fall.

With arguably the top prep QB and TE already in the fold, it's pretty clear that offensive recruiting under Coach Weis is well on its way to being a national force. Of course it's early and the class still needs more defensive recruits of a similar caliber, but so far it seems that Weis will be able to build on last year's quality class with another one filled with plenty of prep talent.