Miners’ Dever inks letter of intent to play for Notre Dame | TheUnion.com

Miners’ Dever inks letter of intent to play for Notre Dame

As he drove the digital version of his Fighting Irish down the field against Cal in a one-on-one XBOX showdown early Wednesday night, Taylor Dever already looked well-versed on the Notre Dame offense as he picked apart a Golden Bears defense directed by former Nevada Union teammate Doug Dolan.

“I’m not much of defensive coordinator,” Dolan admitted, as Dever scored another touchdown. “I’m just playing prevent.”

That fact didn’t do much to take away from Dever’s fun, judging from the smile on his face – one that likely had been there since he got out of bed on national signing day.

Wednesday was the first day that high school recruits could actually sign their letter of intent to attend a school.

Dever did just that before school Wednesday, autographing a national letter of intent to play football at the University of Notre Dame. Even though he had made a verbal commitment to play for the Irish, there was no contractual agreement until he put the pen to paper and faxed the document back to South Bend, Ind.

“It was pretty relieving,” said Dever, a 6-foot, 6-inch, 290-pound offensive lineman. “Up until that moment, (Notre Dame) could have said ‘We’ve got a guy that we like more. Sorry.’ And they could have pulled the offer.”

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Although there were no second thoughts from Charlie Weis and the Fighting Irish, Notre Dame did experience quite a change in its recruiting game-plan Wednesday.

Chris Little of Jeffersonville, Ga., another highly-touted offensive tackle, had also made a verbal commitment to Notre Dame – after having originally done the same with Florida State – but backed out at the final moment and signed instead Wednesday to play at Georgia.

Dever said there were no such second thoughts on his part, having already declared in December that he would play for the team he has always cheered on.

“Coach Weis called this morning and said they were moving around some of the recruits, guys who were possible (defensive line) prospects,” Dever said. “They have guard in mind for me, which is fine. They’re giving me the opportunity.

“It’s up to me to go get it.”

Dever was flanked Wednesday morning by a pair of former NU teammates in Dolan and Zach Masch who also announced their plans for next fall.

Dolan, a 6-2, 190-pound wide receiver, has accepted an offer to play football at Cornell University.

The Big Red competes at the NCAA Division I-AA level as a member of the Ivy League, which prohibits atheltic scholarships.

“It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” Dolan said, “knowing that I get to put on the pads one more time.”

Masch, a 6-3, 265-pound defensive lineman, is headed to play at Arizona Western College, a two-year school that has awarded him a partial athletic scholarship, he said.

“They’re giving me tuition and books,” Masch said. “And basically, it’s almost guaranteed that I’ll get to go on to the next level. All of their sophomores last year – even their fourth-string quarterback – got a scholarship.

“That’s what I want to do, and to play in the Pac-10.”

ESPN.com rated Southern Cal as raking in the top recruiting class, headlined by running back Joe McKnight, inside linebacker Chris Gallipo and running back Marc Tyler – considered by many as three of the top prospects in the country.

National champion Florida was rated No. 2 and Texas No. 3, by ESPN.com, with Texas, South Carolina and Tennessee rounding out the top five.

Notre Dame’s class, which along with Dever includes Oaks Christian High School’s Jimmy Clausen – considered by many to be top quarterback recruit in the country – was rated eighth by ESPN.com.


Contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton via e-mail at brianh@theunion.com or by phone at 477-4240.

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