In what has to be considered at least a mild surprise, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist announced moments ago that he's headed to Notre Dame. Crist had narrowed his choices to the Irish, USC, LSU, Michigan and Stanford before making his decision.
It should never be too surprising anytime Notre Dame lands a player, no matter where he's from. At the same time, you can count on one hand how many players USC has lost from their own backyard that they put an offer out for.
Over the past few months in our conversations with Crist, it always seemed like he was just binding his time waiting for the Trojans to offer. Once they did, the general school of thought was Crist was USC's to lose and that might have been the case until just a week ago.
That's when Crist took an unofficial visit to South Bend, it was a visit that he said blew him away.
"I really didn't expect it to be that good," Crist said. "It was such a special place and just walking around the campus and seeing everything, I just felt so comfortable there. The high point for me though was definitely meeting and talking with Coach Weis.
"Talking with Coach Weis and getting to know him was huge for me. I have so much respect for him because he's so honest and tells you exactly what and how he feels. He told me straight out, there will be times when I won't like him because of how demanding he is but I know he's the guy who is going to make me the best quarterback I can be and that's all I want.
"He's going to push me hard and will get in my face when I need it. I'm fine with that, I want that. I want to be pushed and I know Coach Weis won't pull any punches. He's just a genuine guy and won't ever tell me what I want to hear and I know I can always trust what he says because of that.
"You look at his track record and he's incredible at developing quarterbacks. He's basically an offensive mastermind and I just feel blessed at the opportunity to work with him. I really looked at this as a Business decision and for me, there is no other place where I feel I'll be able to grow as much as I will at Notre Dame.
"Before I came home Saturday, I basically decided right then I was going to Notre Dame. My mom and younger brother weren't there with me and that was really the only reason I didn't commit on the spot. My dad told me I should stick to the plan of coming home and meeting with Coach Rooney (HS coach) and that's what I did.
"So on Monday after talking things over with Coach Rooney, I called up Coach Weis and committed to him. I'm just really excited right now, not just because I made my decision and it's out of the way but because I know I made such a well thought out decision. I mean we haven't even started talking about the education and alumni support at Notre Dame, that's another huge plus as well.
"It's funny, before the trip, I really wasn't even looking at Notre Dame that hard. I was really thinking it was going to be LSU or USC for me but like I said, the visit changed everything and I can't wait to get out there."
When asked about the presence of incoming freshman Jimmy Clausen and if that made him think twice at all, Crist said it was actually a plus.
"I think a lot of people assumed I wouldn't go to Notre Dame because of Jimmy but I know Jimmy well and we've been friends since middle school. The whole thing for me is I really thrive on competition. I'm not just interested in going somewhere and starting right away because there is no one else there, I want to get better and competition makes you better.
"I'm going to become a lot better quarterback competing with Jimmy and the other guys there and that's what I'm looking forward to. I thrive on that and I'm excited about working out with those guys and really pushing myself to be the best I can be. Jimmy being there wasn't a negative, it was actually a plus.
"Like I said, I just feel blessed right now. The process was fun and I enjoyed and I'm happy to have behind me and know where I'm going to be spending the next four years of my life. Now I can focus on our team next season and hopefully winning a state championship."
In Crist, Notre Dame is landing the top quarterback in the West region and a player we feel has huge upside. Crist hasn't even scratched the surface of how good he's going to be.
At 6-5, 225 pounds, he has a college body right now and has plus athleticism as well. He also has a quick release, strong arm and his leadership and intangibles are off the charts.