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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

2021 Notre Dame Signee Pat Coogan Focused on Finishing Career Strong

February 25, 2021

2021 Marist (Ill.) offensive lineman Pat Coogan‍ wanted to play his senior year of high school football like every other kid in the country. 

Coogan didn't need a senior year for exposure, but he wanted to improve his game and enjoy the time with his friends.

That will finally happen in March as Illinois will play a six-game season. 

"It's very exciting because we've waited for this for a long time," Coogan told ISD. "We're ready to get back out there. We started practice last week in the indoor facility because we had some really bad weather. The weather turned around a little bit, so we got our field cleared the other day, so we're back on our turf on Thursday. 

"We're pumped." 

There won't be a State Title or playoff this year, which is a bummer for Coogan as Marist figured to be a top team in the state. 

"Our team as a whole is very talented," said Coogan. "We have multiple Divison I guys and multiple college football players on our team. We have a bunch of sophomores and juniors that are ready to blow up even if it is just six games. We get to play football and the game we love.

"It's one last shot at everything. There isn't a State Championship, which is unfortunate and only six games, but none of that matters to me. This is one last shot to play with some of my best friends and cherish these high school memories I've been told you never forget. I wholeheartedly believe that." 

Marist may return a ton of talent, but the program will also need to replace 2023 receiver Carnell Tate‍. The four-star prospect decided to head to IMG Academy to finish his prep career, but Coogan is confident Marist has players ready to step up. 

"That was a tough loss, but it's the next man up mentality," explained Coogan. "We have some really talented receivers that will take his place, but obviously, he's a really good player and really good kid, so it was tough to see him leave." 

On a personal level, Coogan is using the season and practice time to jumpstart his collegiate career as he'll arrive in South Bend in just over three months. 

"I'm getting ready to transition to a much faster game, so I want to be as flexible and mobile as possible," stated Coogan. "I want to be as versatile as possible by playing center and guard. I want to fine-tune those skills, my lateral quickness and all the little things so I can be in the best possible shape physically when I get to Notre Dame in June.

"I think my hip flexibility has improved a lot and I've really focused on that. The ability to bend and get low is big for offensive linemen. Low man wins and everyone knows that, so hip flexibility was a big focus of my offseason." 

Coogan will also look like a different player than the last time he stepped on the football field. As a junior, Coogan was around 6-foot-4, 270 pounds and this spring, he'll start his season at 6-foot-5, 310 pounds. 

"It has benefitted my game," Coogan said of his physical growth. "It was a natural growth. My doctors told me that based on my muscles, feet and hands, I wasn't done growing, so I prepared myself to grow and gain some weight. 

"It didn't hinder my physical ability at all, so it was completely natural and I think it's going to improve my game. I feel great right now." 

And despite the excitement to finally play football again, Coogan still has to pinch himself at times as he knows his lifelong dream of playing for Notre Dame is quickly coming. 

"I know what's ahead of me and it's hard not to think about it at times, but sometimes I have to pull myself back to reality and focus on these six games to be the best teammate and football player I can be," said Coogan. "My season is the main focus, but it's still a surreal moment. I don't think it's really going to hit me until that first night at Notre Dame in my dorm room. 

"It's going to be exciting and I'm very excited." 

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