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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

2022 WR Tobias Merriweather, Family See What Notre Dame Could Offer

June 11, 2021
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Dominique Merriweather isn’t afraid to admit that growing up in Detroit, he was a huge Michigan fan.

“Even saying ‘Notre Dame’ was a sin,” he jokes.

That changed in a major way after visiting South Bend back in November of 2019 with his son, 2022 Washington wide receiver Tobias Merriweather‍.

“I walked away really impressed,” Mr. Merriweather says. “I came back home and I'm like, 'Oh shoot. I think I really like this Notre Dame thing and what it could do for Tobias.'”

That feeling hasn’t gone away over time…if anything, it’s grown stronger as the Irish have made his son a priority recruit.

“Notre Dame has been really active in his recruitment,” Mr. Merriweather says. “I think Notre Dame is the right combination of high-profile athletics, high-profile football, high-profile academics. I think that Notre Dame can offer Tobias a worldwide education and there's only a few schools in the country that can really do that and do it as well as I think Notre Dame could.”

Tobias was one of the younger guys of the group the last time he was in South Bend. That won’t be the case when he returns for an official visit this weekend.

“I know what they offer in terms of athletics and in terms of academics,” says Tobias. “It's a place that I want to go and get the full experience of.

“We saw the campus, they gave us the tour, but I just want to be there with the coaches and with them having a bigger focus on me. When I was there, Emeka (Egbuka) was there and some other recruits, so they were more focused on the recruiting processes of the older recruits. I just want to see what it's like when I'm the focus and figure out if it's somewhere I want to be.”

Tobias has made it clear his goal is to play the game at the highest level and his father believes the exposure Notre Dame can provide would be beneficial toward that end.

“At some point, you've got to think about the stage that you're playing on,” Mr. Merriweather says. “We know Notre Dame is on TV every single weekend…It doesn’t matter what time you play. You could play at 2:00 AM and it's going to be a live broadcast across the world.”

Given the Irish’s schedule, Mr. Merriweather says it’s difficult to name another school that has that kind of reach.

“They’re not playing junior colleges, they're just not,” he says. “When it comes to playing against the best competition in the world, he could get that at Notre Dame.

“I keep stressing to him to make a decision and think about his family and our ability to come out and watch games and see them on TV or whatever the case might be. And there's only so many schools that can really offer that, where no matter what time you play, NBC or ESPN or ABC is picking you up.”

Irish wide receivers coach Del Alexander has built a bond with Tobias already.

“He's a cool dude,” Tobias says. “I really like him. He's always asking about how busy I am. He checks in with me and makes sure everything is good, but he won't overdo it, which I like.”

Alexander’s track record is also impressive to the family.

“Every group of receivers that he's had, he's had somebody go to the NFL,” says Mr. Merriweather. “Between coaching and the lack of turnover in the coaching staff on the offensive side     especially, I think those things kind of make Notre Dame attractive to me as a parent.

“And I think what Coach Del has done with Tobias is really sell him on the ability to be able to play all the receiver positions, inside/outside and just become a complete receiver.”

Notre Dame’s overall culture is also appealing to the Merriweathers.

“I like the fact that the first year, the athletes regularly interact with the entire student body population,” says Mr. Merriweather. “That's where you learn. You learn by having friends that may not care about football, but they care about Notre Dame. Or they may not care about football, but they care about something that you're interested in that has nothing to do with sports or anything like that.

“I think that Notre Dame is in a unique situation where it can offer that to its student body population. I was really impressed and also I didn't know, because the brand is so big, but the student population is small. You would never know it because the brand is so big.”

Both of Merriweather’s parents are big on education.

“We want him to enjoy his college experience and have a chance to shoot for his goals both athletically and in the classroom or in his profession,” Mr. Merriweather says.

Stanford is in position to land an official later this month as well and more visits in the fall are likely at this point as well.

This weekend could be crucial to Merriweather’s final decision.

“Originally, we were supposed to visit Notre Dame later in June, but then after talking with Tobias and his mom, we decided to try to move that visit up because that was one that he really wanted to take,” his father says.

“We want to get his mom out and have her look the coaches in the eye and say, 'Are you going to take care of my son?' And see if Coach Del sweats or not.”

 
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