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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Recruiting Week In Review

September 19, 2020

Written by Joe Bradshaw

College football returned to South Bend and it was great to see. Despite a slow start, the Irish pulled away from a game Duke and recorded a 27-13 win to go 1-0 on the season. The Notre Dame offense struggled at times, but one couldn’t help but be impressed by running back Kyren Williams and true freshman tight end Michael Mayer. On defense, numerous players stood out but none more so than Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. He was all over the field, stopping the run, pressuring the quarterback and defending the pass. Isaiah Foskey and Kyle Hamilton also impressed. Notre Dame’s defense played with a speed and athleticism that few in FBS can match.

Nearly as important as the victory was the opportunity for recruits to see the Irish in action. It’s hard to imagine any defensive prospect not wanting to play for a defense like Notre Dame’s. Players on the other side of the ball also had to be impressed by a Notre Dame offense that had an off day and still put up nearly 450 yards of total offense.

Irish Sports Daily recently reported on two Class of 2022 prospects, one on each side of the football who hopefully took away the positives from Notre Dame’s first game. Both are highly regarded recruits and the Irish coaching staff has obviously made them a priority. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Sports Daily?

Ernest Cooper IV‍, DE, 6-4, 235, Martin High School, Arlington, TX is a very busy young man. His school/practice day begins as 6:00 AM and doesn’t finish until 6:00 PM. On the first day that college coaches could contact Class of 2022 recruits, his day was even longer.

“Everything kind of rushed at me like a storm,” he remembered. “I’m answering texts to coaches left and right.”

Cooper received so many texts that he couldn’t even exactly recall how many there were. All he could say for certain was that it was more than twenty.

“It can get overwhelming but I think I handled it pretty well,” he said.

Cooper’s offer list is as impressive as he is. He has received scholarship offers from Notre Dame, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, LSU, Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State, USC, Oregon, Stanford and numerous others. Coaches talk to him about how they like how hard he plays and his “go-get-it attitude.”

In the midst of the recruiting blitz, Notre Dame Defensive Line Coach Mike Elston stood out, not because of his recruiting pitch but rather because of his lack of one.

“We were actually having a casual conversation,” Cooper shared. “Out of all these coach conversations, he said he didn’t really want to bombard me because he knew I’d have a lot (that day), so we were just having a casual conversation about what I was doing. I was telling him I was just doing my work, working on some Pre-Calculus, not really anything about football. I appreciated it. It can get a little tiring, so I appreciate the fact he was being considerate.”

Notre Dame’s communication with Cooper didn’t just begin on September 1st. They have been in contact for the last several months as the Irish coaches have let him know exactly what the university and football program have to offer.

“They tell me it’s a great educational school,” he shared. “It’s a religious school, but they accept all religions and the type of athletes they produce who have come out of Notre Dame.”

The four-star prospect said he would be seriously considering Notre Dame as his recruitment progresses and hopes to make it to South Bend to see the university and the football program first-hand.

“I’d definitely like to see the campus, the athletic facility, definitely the dorms and their weight room,” he said.

Cooper doesn’t currently have a timeline for a decision but did say that the single most important factor for him in choosing a school will be the education. He plans to major in biology.

As difficult as it may be to fathom, September 1st may have been even busier for Dillon Tatum‍ than it was for Cooper. Tatum, RB, 5-11, 180, West Bloomfield High School, West Bloomfield, MI was inundated with phone calls and text messages on the first day of contact for Class of 2022 recruits.

“I talked to twenty-eight schools,” he said. “Most of the schools I talked. I talked to more than one person from that staff. A lot of calls and a lot of text messages, over one hundred text messages, so it was a long day. It just shows me how they’re really feeling the love and sharing the love.”

Though the next phase of Tatum’s recruiting has just begun, the effort that schools put in to contacting the four-star prospect from Michigan gave him a clearer picture of how the schools recruiting him really feel about him.

“It’s really about who’s showing the most interest in me and I really take that to heart toward building relationships,” he explained.

Tatum heard from three Notre Dame recruiters on September 1st, Irish Head Coach Brian Kelly, Running Backs Coach Lance Taylor and Director of Recruiting Aaryn Kearney.

“All just little things, just building a relationship,” said Tatum of the contacts. “Coach Taylor and I already have a relationship built. He’s like ‘Man I really see you fitting into the program. I’ll put a great offensive line in front of you every year that you’re here to run the rock and you’ll run for thousands of yards.’”

Taylor has made an early strong impression on Tatum.

“I thought he was a great guy, a great coach,” Tatum said. “He’s coached great backs in the past like Bryce Love, Christian McCaffrey when he was at Stanford.”

Tatum’s possesses a elite list of offers. In addition to Notre Dame, he holds scholarship offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska, USC and several others. He hopes to be able to make it to South Bend.

“Once visits open up, I’m definitely going to try to get down there and make a visit to Notre Dame and enjoy myself and see what it’s really like,” he said. “Basically, the campus because I’ve never been there before. I want to see if it’s a fit for me and if my parents and everybody will be cool with my decision if it’s Notre Dame.”

These two summaries represent just a sample of the Notre Dame football recruiting information available each week on Irish Sports Daily.

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