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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

New Notre Dame TE Coach John McNulty Makes Immediate Impact In Recruiting

August 28, 2020

John McNulty didn’t waste time making an impact on the recruiting trail at Notre Dame.

Months before McNulty was scheduled to participate in his first-ever game as the Irish’s tight ends coach, he already locked down his position not only for the Class of 2021, but possibly for the Class of 2022 as well.

By the time McNulty’s hiring was announced back in February, Cane Berrong‍ had already been long committed to the Irish, but he reached out to the Georgia tight end almost immediately.

“He called me within an hour of the announcement on Twitter,” said Berrong. “Building a relationship with him since then has been easy. We do lots of Zooms and stuff like that and FaceTime each other and all of that stuff.”

Berrong called McNulty “straight-forward.”

“He’s just a really great guy, easy to talk to,” continued Berrong. “I just can’t wait to learn a lot from him. I just can’t wait for him to be my coach.”

After continued examination of the position with the rest of the staff, McNulty picked up the pursuit of a second tight end to pair with Berrong in the 2021 class while earnestly beginning the process of landing a prospect at the position for the following class.

Not long after the search for the right tight end in the 2022 class started, it became increasingly obvious Georgia’s Jack Nickel‍ would be the proper fit.

On Nickel’s end, McNulty was a big reason the Irish would prove to be the right fit for him.

“He’s my favorite coach that I’ve talked to through the recruiting process,” said Nickel, who also had offers from schools like Penn State, Wisconsin, LSU, Florida State and many others.

“He’s a really great guy. I really felt like he was honest through the entire process, so that was a big deal to me and my family.”

Jack Nickel says Notre Dame is “the perfect spot” for McNulty to recruit.

Honesty was of special importance as Nickel worked through the final stages of the process and it was helpful that McNulty had already earned his trust beforehand.

“Some (other coaches), they can say the same thing to six guys, but you know the stuff he says has some truth behind it,” Nickel explained. “He said he was only looking at a few tight ends ‘because of this part of your game’ or ‘because you’re like this off the field.’

“There’s obviously some truth behind that when they only offered three guys compared to other schools who may have offered 15 tight ends.”

At the same time McNulty was wrapping up Nickel’s commitment, which was publicly announced on July 27th, he was putting the Irish in position to round out the 2021 class with Ohio’s Mitchell Evans‍.

“He’s a really good coach,” said Evans. “He knows what the heck he’s doing. He was in The League for like 15 years. Then, he was at Rutgers and broke a good amount of records. I feel like he’s a good fit for me and will develop me where I need to be. He saw a lot of potential in me, so it just felt right.”

Evans also likes McNulty’s personality as a recruiter.

“He’s really cool,” Evans said. “Whenever we’re on the phone, the call is at least 40 minutes, so we speak for a good amount of time. He’s really open. He told me straight up what he saw in me. He texts me all of the time now. He’s really cool.”

Nickel sees many of the same qualities in McNulty as the others and a blend between his resumé and his personality may highlight it best.

“He’s definitely really humble about it,” Nickel said of McNulty’s coaching sheet. “He did say he coached 15 years in the NFL with the Chargers and the Cardinals. I didn’t know this, but Tommy Rees said he was Antonio Gates’ tight end coach for a little bit and then he was Larry Fitzgerald’s receiver coach.

“He didn’t even bring that up. He’s a really humble guy, which I like, but it obviously shows he knows what he’s talking about.”

And Nickel adds, “Notre Dame is like the perfect spot for him to recruit at.”

“If you don’t understand why Notre Dame is a great fit, then it’s probably not for you, that’s really his main message. If you have academics on your mind and you want great football as well and you don’t get the Notre Dame tradition, then maybe it’s not for you.”

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