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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame Football Challenging Everything When It Comes to NCAA Transfer Portal

December 11, 2022

Monday was a significant day for college football as the Transfer Portal opened for underclassmen. 

Some call it free agency, while others see it as roster management or a fresh start.

Regardless of how programs feel about it, every program in the country is monitoring the portal as they add and lose student-athletes from the roster. 

Notre Dame football coach Marcus Freeman has embraced the Transfer Portal, but he also knows it takes a lot of research to be able to find student-athletes that fit the bill. 

“You're always monitoring the portal,” stated Freeman. “It's a new part of college football. We've had guys on our team into the portal and so that's going to be a part of roster enhancement. It's the ability to look into the portal and really investigate and not just say, OK, this guy is coming from this school, let's go after him.

“It's really trying to make those calls in research. You do a lot of research on his high school kids. You recruit them, you evaluate them, you talk to people for a lengthy period of time. These guys get into the portal, it's a quick turnaround in terms of if they are the right fit for this program or not.” 

it has always been somewhat of an uphill battle for Notre Dame to get underclassmen transfers into school and that’s not changed according to Freeman as it still favors graduate transfers. 

Yet, the will to find a way to make it work might have changed, which is what Freeman has lived by since he took the job. ‘Find a better way’ and ‘challenge everything’ have been staple quotes from Freeman over the last year and that means at least working with admissions to see if acquiring talent is possible. 

"There's been very clear transparency between myself, our admissions and our coaches,” explained Freeman. “Yeah, it's difficult, but we understand that. This university is difficult for anybody to get in. That's what makes it so unique. We can't dilute that. We can't take that for granted as a football program. 

"The things we sell in terms of not just playing national championship caliber football, but being a part of a university that offers you so much. We have to embrace that and understand not every recruit or football player is going to be the right fit for this university. This is what we chose. This is what I chose. This is what these coaches chose.” 

‘Choose hard’ is another Freeman quote, which also fits in the transfer discussion, but it seems he understands why Notre Dame doesn’t let every student-athlete into school. It’s likely a hard pill to swallow at times, but Freeman knows he can’t sell high school recruits on a 40-year decision and then turn around and sell a different thing to transfers. 

"We can't pick and choose when we want to embrace that,” Freeman said. “We want to embrace it when we sell Notre Dame, right? You can play top-notch caliber football. The best. Be developed. But you're also getting an education that is top-notch. We can't sell that to high school kids and then when the Transfer Portal comes, who cares about that education and want the best football player. We can't do that. We can't pick and choose. 

"We have to embrace what makes this place special and the opportunity to play at Notre Dame special. Listen, we understand it takes certain individuals academically to be able to transfer in here. If they're good students and their credits transfer over and it's the right fit for us and for them, we'll be able to get them in." 

Perhaps the positive for Notre Dame and why Freeman is challenging everything is there isn’t a set line for every student-athlete. Every transcript is different and Notre Dame is at least willing to work to see if they can make things work. 

"I think they look at every individual specifically,” said Freeman. “There is no 'here is exactly the line' and either it's yes or no. They look at every individual transcript. They look at every syllabus from the previous school. That's the thing about Notre Dame, when kids come on official visits, each person meets with somebody in our admissions office. 

"They look at every individual on an individual basis in terms of making a determination of if they are going to admit them or not." 

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