Pittsburgh (Pa.) Woodland Hills cornerback Darrin Walls narrowed his list of schools down to four before he began taking his official visits. Oddly, the school he chose is the only one he hadn't seen on an official basis before his decision on Monday. However, Notre Dame didn't need to tour the nation's No. 1 cornerback around their campus. He had made up his mind to join the Irish already.
"At Notre Dame the academics are great and the coaching staff has done a great job of turning the program around," said the 6-foot-0, 172-pounder, who is ranked as the nation's No. 24 player overall. "The staff is a lot of fun and I built a very good personal relationship with them. I spoke to coach Weis about my official visit and he said he'd recruit me even if I didn't choose them, but now I can take my official visit on Oct. 15 as a part of the program."
Walls chose Notre Dame over Pitt, Florida and Michigan. It was not an easy choice.
"All four of the schools have done a good job," he said. "Pitt is a place where I've known a lot of people and even though coach Wannstedt has struggled this year, he's putting together a great recruiting class.
"Michigan has two former players from my school there and I can see how its turned them into great young men. Coach English does a great job with defensive backs and the atmosphere there is crazy.
"Florida was my best visit of all and the fans are really crazy. They love their Gators and the new coaching staff has had success everywhere they've been."
In the end however, Notre Dame was the right fit.
"I'm going to college to play football early, but the comfort level, my family's comfort level and the academics and overall college experience are the most important factors," he said. "I feel I've made a great decision."
Walls joins a large group of defensive backs in the class of 2006 for Notre Dame. He will team with fellow cornerbacks Raeshon McNeil and Leonard Gordon as well as safeties Sergio Brown and Jashaad Gaines. Walls is the fastest of the group with a 4.4-second 40-yard dash time and could also see some time on offense.
"All the schools talked about possibly playing slot receiver on offense once I learn the defense," he said. "I'd love to play both ways if I can."