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Notre Dame Football

Summer Enrollee Update: Sullivan Absher to arrive in “the best shape in my life”

May 29, 2023

South Point H.S. (N.C.) four-star offensive lineman Sullivan Absher considered enrolling at Notre Dame early. But ultimately, he decided to finish his high school career with the rest of his classmates and enjoyed successful winter and spring athletic seasons.

Absher helped lead the basketball team to a school-record 25 victories and a deep playoff run. 

Next, the golf team made regionals for the first time in years. The 6-foot-7 and 305-pound lineman typically shoots in the low 80s and drives the ball 300+ yards on a good day. 

“We got to make a little history while I stuck around,” Absher said.

Even with so much success in other sports, he never let his commitment to football wane. 

“I'm probably in the best shape in my life,” Absher said. “I'm moving pretty well. The numbers are still going up in the weight room. Of course, it'll be hard when I get there to adjust to conditioning [at Notre Dame] and all that, but I'm feeling pretty good about it.”

He and the other summer enrollees have access to workout plans from Notre Dame director of football performance Matt Balis via the TeamBuildr Training app.

They received access to their plan shortly after making their pledge to the Fighting Irish official on National Signing Day.

“I signed the DocuSign at 7:30 in the morning,” Absher said, “and then I had the email and login ready to go at 8. It was pretty quick.”

Balis assigned four-day-a-week plans that includes time in the weight room and running through drills.

“His plan is Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday lifts and running as well,” Absher said. “Monday and Thursday or mostly upper body days. Tuesday and Friday are for the lower body-type lifts. Then we'll do speed training specifics on Monday, and we'll do position-specific agilities and cone drills on Tuesday. 

“Thursday we'll do conditioning, so like more long distances like 100-yard sprints or a couple of miles. On Friday, he gives us off for the running. He gives us his plan and it's tailored almost individually to everybody, and I think it's worked really well so far.”

With the TeamBuildr app, Absher and the other summer enrollees can enter the amount of weight lifted per exercise and the number of reps, which calculates an exertion score and tracks their overall progress.

“Interestingly enough, I think it's helped my vertical, like jumping and in that in that area,” Absher said. “We do a lot of hip flexibility and hip strength stuff. I get scared to death at these camps when you had to do like the standing squat. Because back when I was a freshman and sophomore, I had really tight hips. 

“Now, it's a piece of cake and you're doing squat jumps and box jumps with ease. It really shows how effective even the little exercises that you do that just help strengthen and improve your flexibility around your legs. It's really helped the legs become more explosive.”

Absher is also preparing for life as a Notre Dame student-athlete. 

It helps that offensive lineman Sam Pendleton, a fellow North Carolina native, enrolled in January. 

“Sam’s been great for giving me information as far as the workouts go, the team runs, what to bring and what not to bring when you move into your dorms, how hard the classes are and all that good stuff,” Absher said. “It’s truly a help to have a guy like Sam already there who can help the rest of us guys transition when we get there in June.”

Pendleton initially gave Absher the lowdown on new offensive line coach Joe Rudolph. 

Over the last few months, Absher and Rudolph have developed a strong relationship. 

“I got to meet him in person for the first time at the spring game,” Absher said. “Two weeks later, he came to my school and we walked around. I gave him the tour and all that we talked for a couple of hours just about really anything and everything but that was really good to help further the relationship and all that. but I'm excited. 

“I know he's got a great football mind. He really connects with the players already. I'm excited to, once again, get there with everybody and get to work for him.”

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