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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

2023 LB Commit Preston Zinter Recaps "Non-Stop" Notre Dame Official

June 13, 2022

Once Preston Zinter‍ turned the corner inside South Bend International Airport on Friday morning, the 2023 Massachusetts linebacker had an idea of what the energy level would be like for his official visit to Notre Dame.

“I was like, ‘Wow! This weekend is about to be fun,’” Zinter said of the welcoming he received from the Irish staff.

“That got me even more fired up.”

By the time he boarded his flight back to Massachusetts, Zinter was saying the visit lived up to the initial hype.

“It was a lot of fun,” the Central Catholic High School star told Irish Sports Daily afterward. “I got to spend time with all of the other commits who were there and all of the other kids who were looking and having fun.

“It was non-stop every day, just going, going, going from one place to another. It was a lot of fun being around the coaches; high energy. It was a great weekend.”

Like the other commits who were in town, Zinter was impressed with his future teammates.

“I think we have a really special group,” he said. “All of the guys connected and bonded already and we’re not even at school together. We’re all super close. We had a ton of fun laughing and joking with each other. It’s like we’re already brothers.”

The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder certainly made his case to the uncommitted visitors, but didn’t feel the need to push too hard.

“Notre Dame just speaks for itself,” he said. “Everyone tells them the same thing about the connections and stuff. When you’re there, just how you feel about the people who surround you. That’s really what makes Notre Dame special, the people who are there and how special that group of people is. Being a part of that is just something that not everybody gets.

“It’s just telling them and showing them that we have a brotherhood there and it’s nothing like anybody else has.”

Zinter traveled to South Bend with his good friend and fellow Massachusetts athlete Ronan Hanafin, who is seriously considering Notre Dame.

“It was awesome,” said Zinter. “Him being one of my best friends, we flew in together. We spent the whole weekend basically together in the same group. We split off sometimes to go to different meetings and stuff like that. But it was awesome. We grew up with the dream like this together from being young. Seeing us both living it out is amazing.”

But Zinter isn’t going to try to twist his friend’s arm.

“I will support him wherever he goes,” he said. “I’d love to have him come to Notre Dame and be roommates, teammates and brothers still. If he goes anywhere else, we’ll still be brothers and friends. I’ll support him wherever he goes. It’s his own decision. Wherever he’s happy, I’m happy for him.”

Zinter was able to spend time around the entire coaching staff, especially Al Golden, James Laurinaitis, Brian Mason, Gerad Parker and Marcus Freeman.

“Something I really enjoyed was getting to spend more time with Golden and Coach Laurinaitis, talking about defensive stuff,” Zinter explained. “That was really cool, seeing their knowledge of the game. It just really opened my eyes.

“Them two together with Coach Laurinaitis playing in college and in the NFL and winning the Butkus Award shows how he’s been through all this and lived this. With Coach Golden coaching multiple colleges and in the NFL, coaching some of the best linebackers in the League just shows Notre Dame has probably the best linebacker coaches in the country right now.

“It was just cool to see how they’re developing the guys there and how they’re going to develop me on and off the field with my knowledge for the game and techniques.”

The Irish coaches showed Zinter how they envision moving him around their defense.

“Coach Golden is putting his own twist on the defense, kind of that Mike middle linebackers, but on third downs moving up on the line to rush and then also being able to drop back in pass coverage,” said Zinter. “When I get here, just see where I best fit and go from there.”

Zinter heard more about the academics and the academic support system in place for athletes at Notre Dame.

“It’s just crazy to see that no one at Notre Dame wants to see you fail. They only want to see you succeed,” he said.

Zinter wouldn’t say the visit solidified his decision only because it was already solid.

“I was locked in from the time I committed. But just being around here and being on campus again really made me feel that I made the right decision and really made me feel like I was home.”


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