Notre Dame Coach Has Last Laugh

Times Staff Writer

Rumor has it that Notre Dame made the biggest haul in this year's football recruiting derby. No one knows for sure because the Fighting Irish have yet to release an official list of signings.

But assuming that the usually reliable verbal commitments from the players have been converted into signatures on a letter of intent, that would give Notre Dame, which landed 19 football recruits last year and just 16 the year before, a jackpot of 30 this year, many rated in the top 100 nationally, for second-year Coach Lou Holtz. This would seem to dispel the notion that the wise-racking Holtz can't recruit, a tag he picked up while coaching at Arkansas.

The funny man must be laughing today.

Holtz, in his first recruiting effort for the Fighting Irish, pulled prospects out of 15 states. Seven came from Florida, four from Pennsylvania and three from Illinois, although none in-state and none from California. Three of the biggest commitments came within the past two or three days--running back Tony Brooks from Tulsa, Okla., tight end Frank Jacobs from Newport, Ky., and defensive lineman George Williams from Willingboro, N.J.

In the Pac-10 UCLA, USC, Washington and Stanford all fared well. The fate of Rose Bowl champion Arizona State will be determined in the next few days around San Diego, with running back Tommy Booker of Vista, wide receiver Patrick Rowe of San Diego Lincoln and linebacker Junior Seau all considering the Sun Devils. Rowe and Seau are reportedly both considering the Bruins and Trojans, but Booker said Monday his choice is between Arizona State and Washington.

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