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July 1, 2010Xzavier Ward doesn't know much about Notre Dame.
After offering a scholarship to the 6-foot-7, 255-pound offensive tackle, the Irish coaching staff is banking on the fact they can entice Ward to learn more. The three-star prospect from Moultrie, Ga., has some prior knowledge about Notre Dame's past, which is as good a place as any to start building a relationship.
"I know they own the most national championships in college football history," Ward said. "That's about all I know about Notre Dame."
The Irish staff started recruiting this athletic offensive tackle during the spring evaluation period, following regional interest that dates back to Ward's junior season at Colquitt County High School. The Georgia Bulldogs were the first to offer, with Alabama, Florida, Auburn, Tennessee, Clemson, South Carolina and Georgia Tech following suit.
Ward has already visited the Yellow Jackets, Bulldogs and Crimson Tide, along with Florida State. As for visiting Notre Dame, it might be in the cards next season. Ward plans to use his official visits instead of rushing toward a commitment.
"They said that I'm a hard-working, tough player," Ward said. "And that they'd like to have me on their team. They could possibly be in my Top 10."
As for exactly what Ward wants in a college program, he listed education and playing time atop his list. Notre Dame has the former covered while the latter might intrigue Ward as well. With Brian Kelly's move to the spread offense the Irish are searching for athletes who can also play on the offensive line.
Ward fits that bill with plenty of room to fill out his power forward's frame. Even though this three-star prospect never saw himself as a basketball prospect, there's no getting around the fact he has the athleticism to play more than one sport. That's exactly what the Irish like in their offensive linemen.
Notre Dame is sure to like Ward's commitment to improve a well.
"I say that I'm always working hard to get better," Ward said. "You have to be tough to play through pain and that's what I do. I'd say strength and pass protection is where I need to improve, not setting back so far in my stance."
As for Ward's stance on recruiting, he's leaning forward heading into his senior season.