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Notre Dame Football

Summer Enrollee Updates: Cooper Flanagan, Armel Mukam, Boubacar Traore

May 25, 2023

De LaSalle H.S. (Calif.) tight end Cooper Flanagan will enroll at Notre Dame this summer. The consensus four-star recruit is committed to learning the playbook before he arrives.

“I've been studying the formations for over a month now,” Flanagan said. “I'm definitely going to have those memorized by the time I get there. I've been going over some schemes, some film with Coach Parker and all that all that stuff. They're trying to fill me in as much as I can so I'm ready to go by the time I get there and catch me up with all the other guys.”

At 6-foot-6 and about 270 pounds, Flanagan intends to establish himself as a reliable blocker and pass-catcher right away. 

De LaSalle runs a triple-option offense, which limited his production. Over the last two seasons at De LaSalle (Calif.), he snagged 41 passes for 775 yards and four touchdowns. 

“Coming from De LaSalle, blocking was our number one priority,” Flanagan said. “I think that'll definitely separate myself, hopefully. Once again, I don't really have a lot of film proving myself in the pass game. I'm an underdog almost in that sense, so I'm excited to be able to prove myself more.”

It’s safe to say Flanagan will join Notre Dame with a chip on his shoulder.

“I try not to look at social media and stuff like that and all that, but I think a lot of people see me as a blocking tight end, which I have a problem with of course,” Flanagan said. “But I know I can be a tight end who is exceptional at both. I'm just excited to prove myself.”

Flanagan banged up his knee near the end of his high school football season, so he took a step back from 7-on-7 and routes this spring to heal and focus on other aspects of his game. 

He uses his JUGS Machine almost daily and works on his balance hand-eye coordinator. 

“It sucks and all, but it's kind of eye-opening how much stuff you don't really work on when you're fully healthy,” Flanagan said. “You kind of look past some muscles. I actually think it's kind of a blessing that I've been able to strengthen stuff that I never would. I'm excited to see how much I progress.”

Flanagan is already full-go and expects to return to top form this summer.

“When I start conditioning and when I get to Notre Dame, I'm sure I'll shed at least 10 pounds pretty quickly,” Flanagan said. “I'm not worried about the weight at all. It's pretty much just muscle.”

Gerad Parker, Flanagan’s soon-to-be position coach, also became the Fighting Irish offensive coordinator. 

“It’s Notre Dame,” Flanagan said. “They already use their tight ends a ton, but maybe a little bit more with Coach Parker as OC. That's awesome. I'm just excited for him and I'm excited to start to get to really get into work with him. Building the relationship has been I mean, it's been great. I love him. I can't wait to be able to work with them every day.”

More than anything, he looks forward to spending time with his new teammates and developing lifelong friendships. 

“I'm just excited to actually start bonding and getting to know the team, the incoming freshmen, the freshmen that are already there,” Flanagan said. “I'm excited for that. I'm not really sure what other classes I'm taking, but I'm excited for it all. I'm a little nervous. It's a whole new thing, but I'm ready to go. I'm just excited to start a new chapter.”

Armel Mukam

Woodberry Forest H.S. (Va.) defensive end Armel Mukam also worked hard to add lean muscle mass this offseason, adding 10 to 15 pounds. He’s currently 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds.

“That was my main goal, being college ready and not being too far behind once I get to South Bend,” Mukam said.

Part of that process was also improving his burst off the edge. Mukam competed in indoor and outdoor track as a senior. He’s a thrower but also worked with the sprinters. 

“I've been working on my speed a lot, on my get-off,” Mukam said. “I do shot put and discus, but twice a week I go with the sprinters and work on sprints. In high school, I had a pretty big get-off. In college, everybody's faster and I just had to make sure that my get-off is still going to be fast when I get to Notre Dame.

“I feel like that's one of the things I'm good at. I feel like I'm going to make a lot of money off of my get-off.”

He also studied the prospects selected in the 2023 NFL Draft, noting common physical traits and abilities.

“The three main things were get-off, physicality and how they use their hands,” Mukam said. “I feel like using my hands is probably the thing I struggled the most with. In high school, I was bigger, faster and stronger than most of the O-Linemen. I didn't really have to use my hands. But I'm conscious that in college, I'm going to have to use my hands because everybody's big, everybody's fast and everybody's strong. 

“You know what they say, 'beat the hands, beat the man,' so that's definitely something I'm going to have to work on.”

Mukam is still relatively new to football but fell in love once he picked up the sport and wanted to play for a top college program.

“I always dreamed of playing college football,” Mukam said. “To think that in [few]weeks, I'll be playing college football, it's kind of crazy to me. I just can't wait to be in that environment and go to one of the greatest schools in America, football and academic-wise. 

“I'm excited for a bunch of things, but really, the football aspect is what I'm most excited about.”

He’s also anxious to begin classes. He plans to major in accounting and follow in the footsteps of his mother, Djaibe Ngatire.

“That's what she does,” Mukam said. “A lot of times, she worked at home during COVID. So I'd just go into an office and try to see what she does. She'd tell me more about her job, and I was like, 'Yeah, that's so that I could be interested in.'”

Boubacar Traore

The 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds defensive end is a bit raw, but he possesses the traits of a future NFL draftee. 

Traore didn’t play a winter or spring sport. Instead, he’s been all in on football. 

He goes through Notre Dame-assigned workouts four days per week. He also hits the sled often and runs through cone and bending drills, focusing on his hip flexors. 

“I’m working on my explosiveness and just everything that I need to work on: speed, my hips and the key things I'm lacking that I need to get  better.”

He’s committed to improving day in and day out and is well aware that the path before him poses many challenges.

“It's going to be a grind,” Traore said. “I just can't wait to embrace the process and just get out there… I want to be my best. I want them to get the best out of me. I want them to coach me up as hard as they can, keep improving me every time and just to get better every single day with their help.”

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