Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Rocco Spindler Goes In-Depth on Notre Dame and Recruitment

June 1, 2020

2021 Clarkston (Mich.) offensive lineman Rocco Spindler‍ believed he would be committed right now as he had a May decision date locked and loaded. 

The four-star prospect has quickly learned life changes as the Covid-19 pandemic has delayed his ability to take visits and make a commitment. 

"It sucks, but it's some adversity," Spindler stated. "It's a challenging time. I think everyone staying healthy is the top priority and we have to overcome this first. Then we can hopefully take these official visits. Football has taught me a lot and adversity of one of those things I've learned how to handle by playing." 

The 6-foot-5, 315-pounder isn't the only prospect frustrated. Many recruits across the country have been ready to end their recruitment, but haven't been able to take their final visits.

"We're frustrated because we want to get on campus," explained Spindler. "A lot more guys will eventually commit if they can take their officials. It's out of our control and we have to leave it up to the NCAA. Hopefully, they do allow us to get back on campus." 

Spindler recently released a top five of LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State, which would be the likely destinations for his official visits. 

The Michigan native has also remained very firm in wanting to take his five official visits before making a final decision.

"It's always been a childhood dream of mine to be a national recruit and really go through the whole process and then top it off with my official visits," Spindler stated. "That's the end of it because after you commit, then you owe that school four to five years of dedication.

"It would be like my last hoorah and I owe it to those programs to give me their last little salesmanship to see if my mind changes or doesn't change." 

Spindler has seen many campuses and visited every school in his final group minus LSU, but there are still aspects of each school he would like to see. 

"I definitely want to hang out with the team and the offensive linemen to get to know them," said Spindler. "I want to get to know the weight lifting coach, nutritionist and academic advisors. I want to see the dorm rooms and see the campus itself. Sometimes it's challenging to see all of that in one visit."

If Spindler broke down his top five even more, it would be a safe bet Notre Dame would make a final cut. 

The Irish staff has put in the work and it's paid off to this point. 

"It's pretty much been the same and I've been talking to the coaches a lot," Spindler said of his relationship with Notre Dame. "Coach (Jeff) Quinn, Coach (Tommy) Rees and Blake Fisher have been recruiting me very hard. 

“Coach Quinn has set up a couple Zoom meetings to watch a little bit of Quenton Nelson's film and the offensive line film. Nothing out of the ordinary. They've always recruited me very hard and they've been on me since my freshman year." 

While Notre Dame fans know about Quinn's old school faith and family-based approach, it's been Rees who has also made a significant impression.

"Coach Rees is a really cool guy," explained Spindler. "I definitely relate with him a lot because he's been in my shoes. He's been part of Notre Dame. You can really relate to him, but he also has the coach mentality of 'Hey, you still have to respect me.' 

"You can tell he can be your friend off the field, but on the field, he'll push you to your limits when it's go time." 

Penn State is also a program that has been in good communication with Spindler during the pandemic and it's a school Spindler visited over the winter. 

"I would say Penn State," Spindler stated when asked who he's communicating with the most. "Coach (James) Franklin has been on top of me a lot. Coach (Phil) Trautwein as well. We've been doing a lot of Zoom meetings and it's been great to stay in touch with them. 

"Notre Dame, I would say has been up there and actually Ohio State as well." 

Excellent communication is always essential in a recruitment, but not overdoing it is also a factor. 

The NCAA has allowed unlimited calls from coaches to prospects and many recruits aren't fans of it.

"I kind of liked the rule where they can't really contact us," said Spindler. "You have to do a thousand interviews, then text all the coaches back and answer all the phone calls. It's been kind of nuts, but it's humbling. I'm thankful for the opportunity God has gifted me with." 

At the end of the day, Spindler will still take the calls and continue to strengthen his relationships as he looks to follow his father’s advice. 

"He has told me to try to do what's best for me,” Spindler said. “He's said to go where you can win a national championship on the field and in the classroom. I want something that can help me with life after football because it will end. I want something to lean on, whether it's a degree or network." 

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