Coach: Grunhard Not Your Typical Walk-On
Jon Holmes was witness to a pretty cool event last month when the Bishop Miege High School head coach got to see Colin Grunhard offer his commitment to Notre Dame as a preferred walk-on in person to Brian Kelly.
“That was kind of fun to watch,” Holmes said.
Grunhard is the son of former Irish offensive lineman Tim Grunhard.
“Obviously, Colin grew up around Notre Dame and his dad went there,” Holmes continued. “His dad was actually here. He’s one of our assistant coaches and was our head coach. He got to come sit down with the coaches and was in here when his son told Coach Kelly that’s where he wanted to go.
“It’s exciting with everything with the family and all that. It was good to be in here and see him do that.”
Grunhard made his final decision after a visit to North Carolina State the weekend before and was also excited to see how it ended up playing out.
“I think that’s the way Colin wanted to do it,” Holmes said. “He knew Coach Kelly was coming and was excited to tell him in person.”
Kelly was in Kansas to check on Grunhard’s teammate, wide receiver Jafar Armstrong, who also ended up committing to the Irish following an official visit to South Bend that weekend.
Holmes says Grunhard isn’t your typical walk-on.
“To get a kid that caliber to come on as a walk-on is big,” the coach said. “Coach Kelly is confident that he can work himself into a spot. That’s why Colin chose to go there, because he feels like he can play there. He’s not just going there to sit on the bench.”
Holmes believes the 6-foot-1, 270-pounder adds value as a true center, which he said Kelly also mentioned.
“That’s what he’s played and it’s tough to find guys who are centers,” Holmes said. “A lot of guys you bring in are tackles who you try to move inside.
“For us, he was a four-year starter. He started 50 straight games. We were 46-4 in those 50 games. He knows how to win. He’s a team captain. He’s a great leader. He’s smart. He understands what everything needs to be. Obviously, having the genes in his family helps. We ask him to go one-on-one with a lot of guys and win those guys and he’s been able to do that for us.”
Grunhard chose the Irish over other walk-on opportunities at Kansas State, Missouri and North Carolina State.
“He had a Division II school, Northwest Missouri State offered him. Colgate offered him as well in the spring. He wanted to go the D-I route and felt like Notre Dame was the best place to do that.”