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Notre Dame Football

Thomas Harper Goes In-Depth on Notre Dame Decision

January 11, 2023

Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman stated he wanted the football program to use the Transfer Portal to fill specific needs and the Irish did just that by landing Oklahoma State grad transfer Thomas Harper. 

The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder can play nickel and safety, which are two positions the Irish needed to add depth at following losses to graduation. 

Harper entered the Transfer Portal on December 5th and Notre Dame was on the phone with him and then the Tennessee native was on campus last week for an official visit. 

“I was initially really excited,” Harper said of when Notre Dame first reached out. “Everyone knows Notre Dame. The prestige and how good the football program is. I was really just excited. Coach (Chad) Bowden and then Coach (Chris) O’Leary reached out.” 

On his visit, Harper quickly noticed the genuine nature of everyone on campus as he was welcomed everywhere he went.  

“The first thing that stood out was how genuine everyone was at Notre Dame,” stated Harper. “Everyone was nice and going everywhere, everyone spoke and was super nice.” 

Like most grad transfers, Harper knew what he was looking for in a future school and had a firm checklist. Notre Dame checked those boxes and led Harper to an easy decision. 

“For me, my priority was being on a winning team my last year and going somewhere that could maximize my potential for the next level,” explained Harper. “I feel like being genuine matters as a relationship aspect and I wouldn’t commit anywhere I felt like it wasn’t a genuine relationship.” 

Harper couldn’t be more excited about his decision and is looking forward to arriving on campus to learn more about Notre Dame’s defense, but also the finer details of the plan for him. 

“I got a quick overview of the positions they see me at - nickel and safety,” Harper said. “I enroll later this weekend, so I’ll meet with them to really get a whole bunch of the details. Right now, they see me at nickel and safety.” 

And yes, Harper is aware Notre Dame’s defense likes to get three safeties on the field at the same time, which means he could play both positions over the course of a game. 

“It’s extremely attractive to me, especially with versatility,” Harper explained. “Having versatility these days is almost a must. It was another big reason I wanted to come to Notre Dame.” 

Harper was also impressed with Freeman as Notre Dame’s head man didn’t hide anything from him. 

“He’s a great coach,” stated Harper. “He’s really down to earth and he keeps it real, but at the same time, he doesn’t sugarcoat anything. He’s just a really cool guy and a good leader. I feel I can learn a lot from him.” 

What can Notre Dame fans expect to see from Harper over the next 12 months? Someone that’s going to work and play with his emotions on his sleeve, but also someone who is going to go about his business. 

“As a player, they can expect a competitor,” said Harper. “I’m going to compete and play with a lot of emotion. That’s just how I play the game. You can definitely expect to see a lot of emotion and a lot of competition from me.

“Outside of football, I’m not really too into the party scene. I’m laid back and chill. I like to read and watch movies.” 

Under Armour White Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2022 Shamrock Series Adjustable Hat

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