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May 12, 2009

Bernard stays in touch

Giovanni Bernard likes to find time to talk with the Notre Dame coaching staff.

The 5-foot-9, 198-pound running back from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., doesn't get to do it too often, but when he does the conversations tend to stretch on.

"When I do get a chance to talk to them I do," Bernard said. "I've been super busy. When I do have a chance to talk to them it's usually a long conversation."

Bernard has also spoken with head coach Charlie Weis three or four times and has talked about where he would fit into the Irish program.

Notre Dame assistant coach Bernie Parmalee was among the first to drop by St. Thomas during the spring evaluation period. Irish offensive tackle Sam Young, a St. Thomas alum, stopped by practice on Monday. The Raiders also produced starting Irish center Dan Wenger in addition to incoming freshmen Jordan Cowart (long snapper) and Ben Turk (punter).

Bernard said he didn't get to speak with Young, but that time will come.

"I didn't have a chance because we were running from station to station," he said. "There were a couple times where I said 'what's up.' But nothing about Notre Dame. We'll have our conversation."

Bernard holds 20 offers from across the country, including Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Miami and Tennessee, among others.

While he said he had "no favorites at all" at the moment, the time to start trimming the list will come soon.

The four-star prospect plans to narrow things down to a Top 10 after spring practice and maybe a top eight after that. Notre Dame will definitely make the initial cut, he said. He also said he's not sure about unofficial visits but that Notre Dame will likely receive an official visit.

The pipeline the Notre Dame staff has begun developing to St. Thomas and Bernard's familiarity with the Irish program will play a roles moving forward.

"Really they're one of my top schools because I know football isn't gonna last forever," Bernard said. "I know I need a good education. I (also) know if I do go there I will have a chance to compete in my first year. That's a good thing."



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