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January 18, 2006

ND or USC for Sam Young?

Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas offensive tackle Sam Young has been one of the more quiet five-star recruits in the land when it comes to his college destination. That always means there's a chance for a surprise decision as Young plans to announce live on national television on Thursday. So where will he be heading?

In the beginning of the process, many recruiting analysts (like myself) were convinced that Young was going to stay in state and choose the Florida Gators. However, just a few weeks back, Young surprised many by eliminating the Gators from his final list altogether.

The 6-foot-8, 302-pounder narrowed his choices to Southern Cal, Notre Dame, Michigan and Penn State, planning official visits with the latter three in January. Then the next bit of surprising news came.

Young cancelled his last three visits and scheduled his announcement for ESPNews on Thursday, Jan. 19 at 4:20 PM EST. Many didn't know what to make of this and the internet recruiting rumors began to run wild.

Some were convinced that Young's Pennsylvania roots would land him in State College, Pa. However, his final two heading into his announcement are USC and Notre Dame, narrowing things down quite clearly.

Young had a tremendous visit to Southern Cal, has family nearby and the depth chart situation looks favorable. Obviously playing for the Trojans is attractive to any recruit and distance to home is clearly not a factor.

But the pick here is Notre Dame, but not for the reasons many think. Sure, teammate Daniel Wenger is a Notre Dame commitment, but that is not a factor in this decision at all as both Young and Wenger do their own thing. Some think the Catholic ties work in ND's favor since Young attends a Catholic high school. Cross that one off as the Young's are not even Catholic.

So why is the guess Notre Dame? I think education is a huge factor here and a degree from Notre Dame goes a long way after football. I think offensive line coach John Latina is a huge factor here as Sam has stated many times that his position coach will be key. And I think that even though both depth charts look good for a big left tackle, Notre Dame needs linemen and needs them badly, moreso than USC.

It also didn't hurt that Young was able to spend quite a bit of time down in San Antonio, Tex. with future teammates like Barry Gallup (his roommate there) and fellow linemen Matt Carufel, Bartley Webb and Chris Stewart. Unless he surprises me, I think big Sam Young is in South Bend next August pushing to get on the two-deep.

Forecast: Notre Dame
Confidence Level: High



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