April 27, 2009

Irish come through for Priester

Corwin Brown made a promise to Jerrell Priester.

By the time Notre Dame's multi-titled assistant hit Allendale, S.C., this spring to visit the 5-foot-10, 170-pound athlete, Priester would hold an Irish offer. On Monday, Brown made good on that pledge as Notre Dame became the first FBS program to offer the do-everything athlete.

Priester, who will speak with head coach Charlie Weis on Tuesday, won't forget the offer or how Brown delivered it.

"From Day One I fell in love with coach Brown," Priester said. "He was straight-forward with everything he said and he backed it up. I want to play for someone I'm comfortable with, someone I have a good relationship with, someone that's not going to lie to me and someone that's always going to be there for me."

Brown will be there literally on May 12. That's the date Priester said Notre Dame's associate head coach will visit Fairfax High School for a closer look at one of the most versatile and least known prospects on the Irish recruiting board. Even Notre Dame isn't sure where Priester projects onto the roster.

Last season Priester played running back, wide receiver, cornerback, safety, linebacker, kick returner and punt returner for Fairfax. In the backfield, he totaled 99 carries for 1,194 yards, good for an average of 12.1 yards per carry to go with 12 touchdowns.

Priester, who also holds an offer from South Carolina State, said he doesn't care where he lines up in college, although the prospect of playing for Brown in the secondary is appealing.

"I'm the best at wherever I'm on the field, just as long as I'm on the field," Priester said. "I'm going to be a player."

Priester isn't sure when he'll visit Notre Dame but said he'd "definitely" be up in South Bend this summer. Priester also wants to visit Vanderbilt, another program showing interest alongside Clemson and South Carolina.

"At first recruiting was kind of down and a lot of schools backed away because of my size," Priester said. "Notre Dame and Vanderbilt came up and showed me some love. Hopefully they see something special in me and I can be something special for them."

Listed with a 4.31 time in the 40-yard dash, Priester said the best part of his game isn't that quickness.

"Most would probably say my speed, but I don't think that's my biggest strength," he said. "My biggest strength is my love of the game. I love football, the physical nature of it even with my small stature. I've got heart and a passion for the game."

And a strong interest in the Irish too.

"I love the tradition of the program," Priester said. "I love how they have a great academic program too, so even if football doesn't work out I can get a degree from Notre Dame and work just about anywhere I want to. I really didn't grow up following Notre Dame, but I know a lot about them. Coach Weis, I'd love to play in his program. I'd love to play for a coach of his caliber."

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