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Notre Dame Football

BREAKING | Notre Dame Lands Grad Transfer S Thomas Harper

January 5, 2023

Notre Dame pulled a big fish out of the Transfer Portal earlier this week with the commitment of quarterback Sam Hartman and the Irish have another commitment today as Oklahoma graduate transfer Thomas Harper has committed to Marcus Freeman. 

The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder racked up 93 tackles and two interceptions during his four-year career at Oklahoma State, including 30 tackles in just six games in 2022 before an injury sidelined him. 

Brad Taylor coached Harper at Karns High School (Tenn.) and believes Notre Dame would be an ideal fit for the Knoxville native. 

“Thomas is a great young man,” Taylor told ISD. “He’s extremely hardworking, smart and just really well-rounded. He always did well in school, but he really has a passion for football and no one is going to outwork him. He’s just a good guy.” 

Harper played both sides of the ball for Taylor and even had offers to play receiver in college, but he settled on defensive back. 

“He liked playing receiver, but he just wanted to be able to play,” explained Taylor. “He figured it out that playing in the secondary was going to be his best bet to play at Power Five school.” 

Notre Dame has gotten creative with the use of its safeties in recent years and Harper’s skillset will allow him to play multiple roles for Al Golden. 

“He’s just a hard worker,” Taylor stated. “Thomas really works his craft. He takes pride in being a technician in everything. He’s a really good tackler and knows how to tackle. I know he’s played a lot out of the nickel as well, so he’s able to cover too. I know a lot of schools like him as a safety too.” 

The Irish needed another body at safety as the future of DJ Brown is still up in the air and sophomore Justin Walters didn’t dress for most of the year. Xavier Watts and Ramon Henderson return and provide Notre Dame with playmaking and experience. Incoming freshmen Adon Shuler, Ben Minich and Brandyn Hillman will help fill out Chris O’Leary’s room, but the addition of Harper is a significant one given his experience. 

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