The Jedi mind tricks and tempting team buffet of Charlie Weis have worked their magic once again, as highly-touted prep linebacker Manti Te'o of Hawaii has just committed to Notre Dame.
Today is National Signing Day, the first day that prep players can sign letters of intent to play at the college of their — or their agent's — choice. The biggest undecided name, up until a minutes ago, was probably Te'o, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound inside linebacker from Punahou High School. He had recently narrowed his choices to BYU, Stanford, USC, UCLA and Notre Dame.
Word on the street was that he'd pick USC, which is exactly where I'd go if I were a Mormon. But now at Notre Dame he'll be able to absorb the confusing signals of both the Catholic and the Mormon Churches. Stanford was right out, seeing that it can't help opening up patients at Stanford Hospital and showing their beating hearts to potential recruits. That's what they did with Frankie Telfort, a linebacker from Gulliver Prep in Miami, Fla., who was considering Stanford before deciding on USC earlier today.
''The first day I got to Stanford, they let me witness an open-heart surgery,'' said Telfort, who is interested in medicine and wants to become either a pharmacist or a physician. ``I was a about a foot away. It was crazy. It was the biggest highlight of any of my recruiting visits. 'I thought, `There's not a lot they wouldn't do for their students.' ''
Meanwhile, some counter programming over in the Ivy League, with National Girls and Women in Sports Day. I'm so conflicted!
• Trojans Lose a Couple More. Vontaze Burict, a linebacker from Centennial High in Corona, Calif., has apparently changed his mind after committing to USC. The Rivals' ninth-ranked prospect verbally committed to Pac-10 rival Arizona State. The Trojans also lost WR Alshon Jeffery of Calhoun County in St. Matthews, S.C., decided to stay home and play for South Carolina. [USA Today]