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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

DE Devin Aupiu Ready for Notre Dame, Impressed with Marcus Freeman

January 20, 2021
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Pacifica (Calif.) defensive end Devin Aupiu‍ was one of the final commitments in the 2021 recruiting class for Notre Dame, but he'll be one of the first on campus. 

The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder will arrive in South Bend in about two weeks and Aupiu is also enjoying the final moments of relaxation before starting college. 

"Definitely a lot more stress-free than the recruiting process and having to weigh stuff between schools," Aupiu said. "I've just been working out and taking time for myself the last couple of days I have left." 

Aupiu didn't get to have a senior season as California maneuvers the COVID pandemic and it's something the three-star prospect can't get back. However, Aupiu did take matters into his own hands as he played a few club games in Arizona and California at the end of 2020. 

"I actually played a couple of club games at the beginning of January and late December," explained Aupiu. "I wanted to get a couple of reps in, but I also didn't want to get hurt, so I kind of cut it short. I only played in like three or four games." 

It might have been a small sample over the course of a few days, but the game reps allowed the California native to see where he improved and areas of his game that he needs to focus on. 

"I finally got to see where I was technically. I definitely improved, but I also saw where I need to improve. I got a feel for what I have done and what I need to do." 

Aupiu has also stayed consistent with his workouts outside of competition. Pass rush is an area that can get any player on the field and an area Aupiu has kept his focus. 

"It's been a little bit of getting back into the flow and also working on my pass rushing skills. I'm a natural athlete, but an athlete is nothing without technique. I really have tried to focus on my technique and get that to the best of my ability before I leave." 

When Aupiu gets to Notre Dame, he'll have a new defensive coordinator in Marcus Freeman as he takes over for Clark Lea.

Freeman has made contact with the 2021 signees and impressed Aupiu right off the bat.

"All the new defensive players got on a meeting with him," stated Aupiu. "He introduced himself and talked about what to expect and that kind of stuff.

"He really cared about his position and wanted to make sure we felt comfortable with the transition. He seems like a real genuine guy and a cool dude from what I can tell."

Aupiu has also enjoyed getting to know his future teammates in the commit group chat over the last month. Relationships and fit were one of his concerns before flipping from UCLA, but those disappeared quickly as Aupiu got to know his fellow classmates.

"It's great," said Aupiu. "We talk every day in our group chat. We share funny things and talk about this or that. It could be Notre Dame related, or it could be completely different. 

"I think once we all get to campus, we're all going to be best friends." 

And while Aupiu will have a new family in a few weeks, he's enjoying spending time with his family in the final days before he arrives in South Bend. 

"I'm a huge family first type of guy," said Aupiu. "Taking this step out of my comfort zone and leaving my family is big. I'll also miss the beach. I know there are lakes, but I'm a huge beach guy. Every day during the summer this year, I was at the beach." 

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