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Notre Dame Football

CB Nick McCloud Found the Perfect Fit at Notre Dame

September 16, 2020

Cornerback Nick McCloud had to use a little blind faith to make his decision to grad transfer to Notre Dame. 

McCloud entered the Transfer Portal during a pandemic and wasn't able to take visits, so he had to use all his resources. Notre Dame was in luck as he had previous relationships with Jeff Burris, Houston Griffith and Troy Pride Jr. 

"Being recruited through a pandemic was kind of rough," McCloud said. "Reaching out to those guys gave me the comfort I needed from a player standpoint and that was big to make my decision comfortably to come to Notre Dame." 

Notre Dame safeties coach Terry Joseph made the first move and the fact the Irish didn't have a cornerbacks coach might have helped. It allowed Joseph to earn even more trust as he explained what was happening at Notre Dame.

"I entered the portal and probably about a week later, I got in contact with Coach Joseph," stated McCloud. "He explained the situation of them looking for a new corners coach. Developing a good relationship with Coach Joseph - I didn't really visit anywhere at all due to the pandemic. 

"That trust with Coach Joseph explaining the situation to me and also my relationship with Troy and Houston definitely helped a lot in making the decision a little easier for me.

"Me and Jeff Burris are really close. He answered some questions for me from a player standpoint that helped me feel comfortable with my decision to come to Notre Dame." 

Notre Dame hired Mike Mickens and in May, McCloud made his decision to transfer South Bend.

In the months since he arrived on campus, McCloud has quickly turned into a believer in Mickens and his coaching style.

"The biggest thing I've taken away from Coach Mickens is that you can tell he's not that far removed from the game," explained McCloud. "His tips and his coaching style are very modern to help us on how the game is being played now. 

"His fire, competitiveness every day - he reminds me a lot of myself. If I'm not ready to go, I know one thing for sure is Coach Mickens will be ready to go. The edge he brings every day is definitely beneficial to me and the group." 

Off the field, Mickens is extremely approachable, which has led to developing relationships and trust quickly with the new group. 

"It really means everything to me," said McCloud. "We feel like we can go in and approach him about pretty much anything that's going on. He's very relatable to us, but at the same time, he's going to make sure we're locked in when it's time to be locked in." 

On Saturday, McCloud made his debut for the blue and gold with five tackles and one PBU. 

The South Carolina native was pleased with his performance, but wants to build on it moving forward. 

"I think I played pretty well," McCloud explained. "I definitely could have done better. The ultimate goal for anybody going into the game I would hope is zero catches allowed and zero yards. Definitely, things to improve on, but being removed from the game for a whole year, I think I did alright." 

McCloud's season ended early last year with a knee injury and it took the wind out of his sails as he had high expectations. This year, McCloud is showing some maturity and focusing on smaller goals over larger goals. 

"As far as individual goals, I set a lot of individual goals last year and the season was taken away from me," McCloud stated. "This year, I've tried to focus on what I can do better on a daily basis rather than individual goals or awards or anything like that. I've really been focused on what I can do better the next day or what I can do better today." 

Notre Dame has made an effort to find cornerbacks who can play press-man and McCloud has always taken great pride in that aspect of the game. 

In fact, McCloud has always worked to play press-man at a high-level and has one of the best to do as a mentor.

"As far as press technique, I've watched a lot of film from the time I wanted to play football at the collegiate level," McCloud said. "Me and Stephon Gilmore are as close as ever. Having that relationship with him being Defensive Player of the Year and the great press corner he is - if I have a question now, I'll go in the locker room and text him anything and he'll hit me back right away. That relationship and knowledge of the game is beneficial to me becoming a good press corner and continuing to become better."

To become a better cornerback, McCloud wants to get his hands on more balls, which Mickens has stressed since the Irish returned to campus. 

"That's really the big emphasis with Coach Mickens," said McCloud. "Of course, we want to have great technique and do our job, but at the end of the day, the most important thing in football is the ball. Having that that want to finish on the ball every play, that's something we've definitely emphasized throughout camp and we're still doing on a daily basis." 

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