Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

May 7, 1:18 PM ET
Chat with Craig Haubert

  (3:00 PM)

We're getting Darius Fleming right now!

  (3:04 PM)

Darius is here!


Darius- Do you plan on taking any visits to other schools or is your commitment to ND solid?

Darius Fleming
  (3:04 PM)

It's pretty solid, because I've talked to coach Weis. When you make a committment like that, it's not good to look at other colleges. You've made your decision and you should stick to it.

Joe Chicago Illinois

Darius, what position are you expected to play at ND, and how exciting is it for you and the other defensive recruits to play for a man with great passion like coach Brown?

Darius Fleming
  (3:05 PM)

I'm expected to play OLB at Notre Dame. I'm very excited about it because I'm going to the next level and will play for a coach like him. It's cool to know that I'll be playing for a coach like him for the next few years.

Melissa (Tacoma)

What is the most unique recruiting pitch you have ever seen/heard from a coach or recruit?

Darius Fleming
  (3:06 PM)

That's a hard question, because a lot of coaches tell you the same things. Coach Weis told me from Day 1 that he knew this was the place for me. He knew that before I did. That was pretty cool.

Ted (Detroit)

How does Notre Dame sell Independent v. Conference? Once ND loses a few games, they have nothing to play for - i.e. a conference title.

Darius Fleming
  (3:08 PM)

That's a good point, but I chose Notre Dame because the teams that they play are very competitive. Most of the programs they play are very good. I'm looking more for a national championship than a conference championship.

Matt (South Bend, IN)

Darius, what kind of negative recruiting have you had against Notre Dame and South Bend?

Darius Fleming
  (3:08 PM)

No. I didn't hear anything negative about Notre Dame, but I was told that South Bend was a boring place. But I've been there a couple of times and I like the place.

Bob (Colorado Springs, CO)

What made you pick ND and so early? What was it about the Irish that was so appealing?

Darius Fleming
  (3:09 PM)

First off, it was coach Brown and coach Weis. I've been down there five times, so I really know that's where I want to be. Plus, the players that are coming in, I look forward to playing with those kinds of players. We have a lot in common. I want to be around good players. I want to put myself in a position to succeed.

Frank, IN

Darius congrats! Did Coach Brown talk to you about fitting into there 3-4 defense?

Darius Fleming
  (3:10 PM)

He did. He told me that I was a pretty good fit for the OLB position. He looks forward to me dropping back into coverage. I'll play DE too, but I feel like coach Brown made a good decision in putting me at OLB.

Alex (Gary, Indiana)

Darius, how involved are you with recruiting? Are you trying to get any prospects to commit to ND? Welcome to the family...

Darius Fleming
  (3:12 PM)

Steve Filer. He's a great player. I would love for him to come to Notre Dame. And also Brandon Newman from Louisville. He's a really cool guy. He would fit in. Garret Goebel I'm at camp with him right now. I'm looking forward to playing with him.

Phiten (MN)

what other colleges did you get recruted at?

Darius Fleming
  (3:13 PM)

When I committed, I had 17 offers. The bigger schools were Michigan, USC, Wisconsin, Iowa, Oklahoma. Those were the bigger schools.

Jason (Cleveland, OH)

darius - describe corwin brown as a recruiter...was he the most influencial in your decision to go to Notre Dame?

Darius Fleming
  (3:14 PM)

I would have to say he was. Me and him talked about more than just football. We had a strong relationship. They always say that you need a strong relationship with your position coach. Plus he's from Chicago.

Nick (Minneapolis)

Welcome to ND! Best place is the world. What made you want to go to the school the most?

Darius Fleming
  (3:15 PM)

Any school that you go to now will have good football players and coaches. It was the class that was coming in with me. We've already started hanging out already. That had a really big impact on my decision. I really look forward to playing with them.

Jackson (Marion, GA)

Darius, what are the most positive and most negative aspects of your recruiting experience?

Darius Fleming
  (3:16 PM)

The most positive is that it is a very exciting experience. It was fun. But towards the end, it's a lot on you. It's a big load on you. You're so young and all these coaches are on you. They're begging you to commit. It's a hard decision to make. It's hard to impress everyone. You can't tell everyone the same thing. You don't know how to turn someone down.

Brian (Okemah Ok)

Did you grow up a ND fan?

Darius Fleming
  (3:17 PM)

I would say that I did. When I was younger, honestly, I didn't follow football that much. But when I got into high school and got into football, I give a lot of my success to my high school coaches.

scott, (NC)

will you try to enroll early

Darius Fleming
  (3:17 PM)

I have thought about it, but I think it will be hard for me to do that. I'm not even sure if it's possible for me to do. I'll look into it.

Russel (Lincoln, NE)

Darius congrats on picking Notre Dame. What would you say is the best parts of your game? Also how do you see yourself fitting in at OLB in Notre Dame's 3-4 defense?

Darius Fleming
  (3:18 PM)

My best part of my game, I would say is my pass rush and aggressiveness to get to the ball. On every play, I want to get to the ball. My speed helps.

(Billy, Boston)

Darius what player in the college or pro game do you currently model your game around?

Darius Fleming
  (3:19 PM)

On the field play, I would have to say Joey Porter. I love his attitude and his physicalness on the field. But off the field, I'm not anything like him.

Antonio (Salem, NH)

What are your expectations as far as playing time goes in your first year at ND?

Darius Fleming
  (3:20 PM)

I don't plan on redshirting. I want to come in and learn the plays, learn all the defenses that I need to know. I want to make a difference as soon as I get there. I'm going to work hard. Once the practices start, hopefully I'll be on the field.

Jeff (Syracuse, NY)

Darius, How much of a factor leading up to your decision was ND's swich from a four three to a three four, giving you the ability to play linebacker/D- end?

Darius Fleming
  (3:21 PM)

That was a big part, because some of the schools that were recruiting me to play DE, I was really down on whether or not I wanted to play that. I'm not a huge guy so I didn't want to go up against the huge lineman all the time. I decided I wanted to play more of an OLB.

Brendan (Boston)

I am a ND fan. How do you think ND will fare this upcoming year?

Darius Fleming
  (3:22 PM)

I think they'll be pretty solid. I've been out to a couple of practices. There's always room for improvement. I'm looking forward to this season. I think they'll shock some people. I know Brady left, but I still think they'll be dominant at the QB position.

Phil (Chicago)

Darius, You have been to several practices. What kind of coaching style does Corwin Brown have?

Darius Fleming
  (3:23 PM)

I love his energy. He's like he's on the field playing himself. That's what a lot of players like about him. We like his style. We're looking forward to playing with him. He's a friend in person, but a coach on the field.

Kevin (Bangor, Maine)

Are you excited about the class ND has brought in this year? Do you believe you guys will win a national championship in the next 4 years?

Darius Fleming
  (3:24 PM)

I think the people they brought in is a really good class. I look forward to seeing them play. When we come, I think we have a real good chance to win a national championship. We're looking solid. Hopefully we can pull it out.

Jamie--Houston, TX

What does ND suggest for you to do before you show up on campus? Have they suggested what type of training, workouts, etc?

Darius Fleming
  (3:25 PM)

Not really. I've talked to coach about my workouts. I think the workouts we do are somewhat similar. Coach Brown said he wanted me at like 250. I'm going to try and get there myself. I'm going to try to keep my speed. Go to some speed camps.

Darius Fleming
  (3:26 PM)

I'm real excited about playing for the Irish. Hopefully the 2008 class can make an explosion when we get there!

Craig Haubert
  (3:28 PM)

I want to thank Darius for joining us -- we wish him the best of luck in his senior year. He is a great fit for what they are trying to do on defense and a nice follow-up to 07 signee Kerry Neal.

Craig Haubert
  (3:29 PM)

lets take some more questions

Marc (Philly)

Is it really fair to have recruits from tOSU and ND (or other schools) on your chats with a national forum to talk to other recruits or fans?

Craig Haubert
  (3:32 PM)

We try and get recruits on from an array of schools. I think it is fair also. It is a great way for fans to talk to these players and find out about the recruiting process first hand from the people going through it and to also find out what it is about a school that attracted recruits or how they are going to decide.

Craig Haubert
  (3:34 PM)

It is not giving any school an unfair advantage - these kids talk to each other on the phone and at camps - they don't need chats to try and recruit other players. We feel it is a great way to bridge the gap between die hard college football fans like yourself and the prospects you are following.

Craig Haubert
  (3:35 PM)

We look forward to bringing you more top prospects this spring and summer and on national signing day.

Jacob (Cleveland)

With Terrelle Pryor being dead set on playing (or trying to play) football and basketball don't the Buckeyes seem like a perfect fit? Consider the O-Line and weapons they already have with this class, and no big name QB in the program. Do you see a better fit anywhere else?

Craig Haubert
  (3:37 PM)

At this stage of the game - OSU does seem like a good fit for Pryor. For the reasons you mentioned. Also location and there seems to be a press on to land him - not only from the coaches but also from the fellow recruits. He seems to be a target of some of those commited lineman.

Craig Haubert
  (3:40 PM)

He is a special prospect though and the battle for him will be tough. You have to like OSU's chances but this is no sure thing.

Chris (Phila., PA)

Do school's still try to recruit even though an individual has supposedly committed? I would think in the high-stakes world of College Football that a person is fair game until they sign on the dotted line.

Craig Haubert
  (3:42 PM)

Yes - it is never over until the prospects letter of intent comes through the fax machine. Every situation is different, but for the most part schools will still recruit right up until the end. USC is an example of a school that does not go down with out a fight.

Craig Haubert
  (3:44 PM)

It is up to the recruit to decide how committed they are. Some still take visits and field calls and they are fair game. Some are content with their choice and screen calls and don't take other visits. In the end it is up to the kid -- but schools will always keep trying. Look at the situation now -- only early May and already numerous decommitments. Most of that is because another school or schools was still making sales pitches.

Craig Haubert
  (3:45 PM)

It is part of the game of recruiting.

Brian (LA)

So are you saying Pete Carroll harasses recruits even though they have made a choice to go elsewhere?

Craig Haubert
  (3:46 PM)

I am not saying anybody is harssing anyone - but 17 year old kids change their minds and there is nothing wrong as a recruiter with checking in now and again and keeping the line of communication open if the player is willing.


Who do you see being the anchor of the michigan defense this year? Is there any freshmen at michigan that will make an immediate impact?

Craig Haubert
  (3:50 PM)

That Michigan defense has some major holes to fill - as they were awfully good last year. Still some talent at the linebacker spot with Shawn Crable and Brandon Graham getting getting a shot to probably play more.

Craig Haubert
  (3:51 PM)

JR Hemingway is a true freshman to watch.

kyle, clemson (SC)

Craig, how are my tigers looking so far? Give me some big names they're trying to land

Craig Haubert
  (3:54 PM)

So far so good for the Tigers. Big boost to the D-line with Daquan Bowers - he is a high motor - play maker. They are also in good position for a sleeper of a d-tackle named Brandon Thompson - out of Georgia -- things are starting to heat up for him -- but if they can land him - that pair would be a great addition to the Tigers team.

Jason (KC, MO)

Where do you see QB Blaine Gabbert landing: Mizzou, Nebraska or Bama?

Craig Haubert
  (3:57 PM)

Still hard to tell -- you do have to like Mizzou chances -- they are the home-state team and if they have a good year - like they should could go a long way in helping that team. Plus a high profile QB like Chase Daniel could allow Gabbert to see what the offense can allow him to do. Can't count out Nebraska or Bama though - not yet.

Warren (Fl)

How is Bama doing so far in recruiting for 08?

Craig Haubert
  (4:00 PM)

Speaking of Bama - good start for Saban - here in early May aleady have 5 prospects on the ESPN 150 watch list -- plus the state has some good talent this year. Has already made some nice additions to the DL.

Ramses (Carolina)

Will Butch turn UNC around like he did for Miami?? How has he recruited so far?

Craig Haubert
  (4:02 PM)

Great finish to the 07 class - slow start to the 08 class. UNC has talent -- they need to translate that talent to wins and Davis has the track record to do that -- ACC title? don't know about that -- but the Tar Heels should see several more wins then they did last year.

Eric (Ann Arbor)

Hey Craig, since you began following college recruiting closely, have you observed any significant shifts or trends in what appeals to a recruit? Are kids excited to join a winning team or to go to nice weather or to have the best odds of making the pros more and more each year?

Craig Haubert
  (4:05 PM)

Naturally every prospect is different -- but i do notice two factors seem to come up a lot. One is being able to play right away -- it seems few prospects want to red-shirt anymore and they want to go to a school where they feel they can play right away. Second - many prospects want to go to a school that they perceive can get them to the next level (NFL) and that either based on the schools history of sending guys to the pros or a school that has a head coach with an NFL background. Those two things seem to be becoming more and more important.

Craig Haubert
  (4:06 PM)

Gotta run -- have to get back to evaluations. Thanks for stopping by and we will be back next week to take more questions. Thanks again to Darius for stopping by. Have a great week everyone.