- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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With 14 commits, including six from ESPNU's 150, Notre Dame ranks No. 11 in ESPN's Class of 2012 team recruiting.
And n 0-2 start on the field doesn't seem to be negatively affecting that.
I chatted with ESPN Recruiting's Jared Shanker, who said four-star running back William Mahone (Austintown Fitch High School, Ohio) will be in town for his official visit this weekend.
Shanker said he wouldn't be surprised if Mahone is sold on the Fighting Irish after this weekend.
"Things are looking good with Mahone after indications are his visit to Penn State left him rather unimpressed," Shanker said. "He didn't get to sit by the other recruits because he arrived late and didn't hang around after the game. With him officially visiting this weekend to the Irish, it could go a long way in the Irish grabbing the reins in Mahone's recruitment.
"I doubt Mahone would go public with it, though the Notre Dame staff might push for him to possibly create some positive buzz."
Irish commit and four-star athlete Ronald Darby (Potomac High School, Maryland) will also be taking his official visit this weekend.
Darby, a corner/safety hybrid, has publicly said he is "98 percent" committed to the Irish. And though Darby has said he will continue to make other visits, Shanker thinks Notre Dame shouldn't get too worked up over the remaining 2 percent.
"You never like when a player says he's anything other than 100 percent committed to the team he is actually committed to, but I wouldn't worry with Darby yet," Shanker said. "Yes, he will be visiting other schools and yes, Florida, one of those schools, has done well in Maryland, but that was under Urban Meyer. A Notre Dame win should keep Darby on the bandwagon even though he'll keep visiting."
A 0-3 start for the Irish, however, could complicate things for their prospects.
"I think a loss this weekend and then things could go bad for Notre Dame," Shanker said. "Right now, because of how they played against USF and Michigan, where they should have won, recruits aren't looking at it as the program being in trouble. Lose to Michigan State, and it gets much harder to look past the first two losses as just being because of mistakes."
13dEdward Aschoff and Greg Ostendorf