As Boston College continues to prepare for their matchup against rival Notre Dame, much of the talk hasn't been about the game but more focused on the linebackers. Debates have sparked about who has the better linebacker -- Notre Dame's Manti Te'o or Boston College's Luke Kuechly. Both anchor each program's respective defenses. Both are projected to be top draft picks when they leave school and both are destined to have long careers in the NFL.
But how close was the Irish to having both? All they had to do was call Kuechly and he would have donned the green and gold:
"Luke Kuechly would have ended the recruiting process before it ever began if Notre Dame would have offered him," St. Xavier coach Steve Specht said in a 2010 interview with the South Bend Tribune. "But they didn't."
That's a major miss there, Notre Dame.
Though Coach Specht claims Kuechly would have immediately signed with the Irish, you have to wonder the validity of that statement. During Kuechly's recruiting, the Irish had just come off a 3-9 season, mired in the midst of some the "lean" Charlie Weis years. Boston College, on the other hand, had just come off back-to-back ACC Championship Game appearances, and things were looking up for the Eagles.
Sure the prospects of playing for the Irish can be alluring, but BC was putting together elite defenses that might have been more attractive for a young kid. Then again, Notre Dame probably just looked at Kuechly's three star rating and couldn't be bothered. And just look at this picture. Did he look like he was going to become a monster?
Notre Dame missed a golden opportunity to grab the two best linebackers in the 2009 recruiting class. Instead of Kuechly, the Irish snagged commitments from Carlo Calabrese and Zeke Motta, who, as it turns out, later converted to a DB. Both Calabrese and Motta have become solid contributors for Notre Dame. It's scary to think what Te'o and Kuechly could have done together if they had the chance.
Irish fans probably are kicking themselves after reading this revelation. But hindsight is always 20/20, and there was no way they could have predicted Kuechly would become the monster that he is. If recruiting staffs could have seen glimpses of what he would accomplish schools like LSU, Alabama, Texas and Oklahoma would have been making offers as well. In the end Kuechly only received interest from schools like Virginia, Duke, Louisville and Stanford.
Somehow Ben Sirmans, the current BC running backs coach saw something the Irish recruiters must have missed. And as Eagles' fans we can all rejoice in a once-in-a-generation college linebacker.