When Notre Dame headed west to take on USC last Saturday, the only thing on its mind was winning the game against its biggest rival and advancing to the BCS championship game. The Irish handled their business on the field and immediately looked to capitalize on their positive momentum off if it.
Notre Dame is one of a select few schools that has the cache to go into California and compete with anybody -- including USC -- for elite recruits. The Irish have the attention of a number of top 2014 athletes out west and Irish wide receiver coach Mike Denbrock stayed behind in California to see one of them.
After being in touch with 2014 LB Dwight Williams (Gardena, Calif./Serra) via email, Denbrock stopped by the Gardena school on Monday to see the ESPN Watch List linebacker.
"It was good to meet him," Williams said. "We had talked on the Internet, but to have him stay in town to come see me showed me that they have a real interest in me."
The 6-foot, 200-pound Williams was at the Coliseum on Saturday to see the Irish defense shut down the Trojans' offense. Like anyone else who saw the game, he came away impressed with the way the Irish handled the pressure, and the rival Trojans.
"Basically I just watched Manti Te'o the entire time," Williams said. "He's such a great player, you just have to keep an eye on him. He's in complete control of his defense and he's always around the ball."
The ESPN Watch List LB has early offers from Boise State, Colorado, Oregon State and UCLA. He also has some of the nation's best keeping tabs on him, and Williams hopes some of that interest turns into more offers down the line.
"Right now it's just kind of getting to know some coaches from each school" Williams said. "I've been to USC plenty of times and am in touch with them quite a bit. I'm sure things will work themselves out in the end. If a school wants me, I'm going to listen to them."
Two other schools of note that have Williams' attention are the Oregon Ducks and the Arkansas Razorbacks. Despite the seemingly perfect fit, the Ducks have done little in terms of contacting Williams thus far. Despite the program still being in search of a new coach, Arkansas has been in touch with Williams and hopes to get out to see him this fall.
"Arkansas reached out and told me they like me and want to see where things head with a new coach," Williams said. "The idea of playing in the SEC is great so any interest from down south is something I'll look into for sure."