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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Nation's No. 1 LAX Player Matthew Jeffery Headed to Notre Dame with Eyes on Football

November 10, 2023

2024 Cheshire (Conn.) midfielder Matt Jeffery‍ signed with Notre Dame lacrosse on Wednesday and it was a full circle moment as he had dreamed of playing for the Fighting Irish since he was in middle school. 

And yes, it was also a statement by Notre Dame lacrosse head coach Kevin Corrigan as Jeffery finished as the nation’s No. 1 prospect in the 2024 recruiting class. 

“That’s been my dream since I’ve been a little kid,” Jeffery told ISD. “Signing that letter of intent, it was a dream coming true and everything was finally over. I have all the pressure taken off my shoulders and the excitement on everyone’s faces. I could tell how proud my mom and dad were and today was a special moment for me and my family, but also my friends and seeing my other friends commit to schools they’ve dreamed about.” 

There is also an added sense of pride within Jeffery’s group as they accomplished their goals without going to one of the many private schools located in the Northeast. 

“We reached our goals and that’s the thing that makes it feel like a movie,” explained Jeffery. “It’s crazy to me the experience I had. I want to move it on to the younger kids and show them why you don’t have to go to private schools.” 

As one of the top athletes in the country, Jeffery is aware all eyes are on him when he steps on the field in any sport and he believes it’s his responsibility to show the youth in the area they can accomplish their dreams by staying home.

“If you’re an athlete, they’ll find you anywhere,” stated Jeffery. “I feel there are a lot of athletes in Cheshire who feel they can’t go to the high school because they won’t get recruited. I did it and there are a lot of other guys on our team who have done it too. I want to be a role model for the youth and inspire little kids.

“I put that on my shoulders and every time I’m out here I want to set an example for little kids. I want to show them they can do anything they want if they dream it and if they manifest it, it can come true.” 

Notre Dame might have held an edge in his recruitment because of his love for the Irish, but Corrigan and the lacrosse team quickly sealed the deal last September as one visit confirmed everything Jeffery needed to know about the program. 

“It’s all about the rich tradition,” said Jeffery. “When I went up for my unofficial last year, I talked to all the guys on the team that won a national championship. They talked about how they wouldn’t want to play for anyone but Coach Corrigan and how he provides such a good example for the program. He wants the kids to succeed. He wants the team and program to succeed. That’s what they did last year and they want to keep moving forward. 

“Coach Corrigan is a dog in the way he teaches and sets the culture they have at practice. I looked at other schools, but they weren’t for me and not what I wanted. I always wanted to be in the blue and gold.” 

The Kavanagh brothers also had their impact as Jeffery saw Corrigan let his players be themselves on and off the field. 

“Seeing how Pat played and seeing him learn from his older brothers and I watched that as a little kid,” Jeffery said. “I wanted to be those guys. Notre Dame has always had that grit for so long. That’s their play style and that’s the team I want to be on. I want to make those gritty plays and doing what I do best.

“Sometimes other programs want to coach you how they want to be, but I feel like Notre Dame wants you to be the best player you can be and they don’t want to force any other way on you. They want you to be you. They want you to strive for greatness.” 

Now, the 5-foot-11, 185-pounder will be the first to admit his first goal wasn’t to play lacrosse at Notre Dame. It was to play football for the Irish. 

“I remember going to a Notre Dame football game in seventh grade with one of my buddies,” recalled Jeffery. “The atmosphere and the whole community and the college itself, it connected with me. Ever since I was in seventh grade, it’s been my dream to play football there. 

“My talents took over in lacrosse and pursued that passion for a little bit. I took the time in the summer to play lacrosse and I didn’t pursue the football realm.” 

Jeffery hopes that he’ll be given the opportunity to play both at Notre Dame as he feels he can not only succeed at two sports, but he needs it to be the best version of himself. 

“I’ve always had that love for the sport of football and I still love basketball too,” Jeffery stated. “Going off to college, I feel like I need to play another sport other than lacrosse. That’s been my model my whole life. I can never play just one sport. It gets me into the right mindset for each sport and I’ve been rolling with it and it’s worked out.

“I’m going off to one of the best schools in the country and one of the best lacrosse schools in the country and one of the best football schools in the country. It’s so surreal. I can’t believe this is happening.”

The love for Notre Dame goes back to various family members, but Jeffery still points to that day in seventh grade as one that changed his entire outlook on what he wanted in life.

“I’ve watched the movie Rudy and my grandparents are obsessed with Notre Dame,” explained Jeffery. “When I went for the first time, I felt it was my destiny and I had to do it. Ever since then, every other college football game just wasn’t like Notre Dame.

“It’s a different level of energy. It’s a different feeling. Everything about the football program, the school and how the community comes together builds it all together. It becomes one and I love it. I want to be all about it and a part of it. I want to help them win a national championship in football and lacrosse. I want all that.” 

Jeffery plays a little bit of everything for Cheshire and is open to starting at any position if that’s what it takes, but he believes receiver could be his best position.

“Right now, I’m playing running back, quarterback, receiver and defensive back,” stated Jeffery. “I’m the kicker too. I’m doing everything right now, but I see myself as a receiver scoring touchdowns. I’ve always been a receiver type.”

Notre Dame Director of Recruiting Chad Bowden and the Irish staff are well aware of Jeffery’s football talents and have been closely following his senior season. In fact, Jeffery signed with Notre Dame on Wednesday and then was on the phone with Bowden shortly after. 

A final decision hasn’t been made, but it certainly seems like Jeffery has put himself in the best position possible to play two sports when he arrives in June. 

“Chad said I’ve been discussed this whole season,” Jeffery said. “He sees me on the team and doing things for the team whether that’s starting or on the practice squad or special teams. Anything to help the team win a national championship.

“I’m coming up next Friday for my lacrosse official visit and I’m going to meet Coach (Marcus) Freeman and see practice. To me, he sounded like I was playing football. He asked me what I preferred to play and I told him I just want to be on the team. I don’t care where I’m at. I just want to win a national championship in South Bend.” 

Perhaps the best news Jeffery received as it relates to his dream was seeing freshman Jordan Faison accomplish the same feat last year. Faison signed with Notre Dame lacrosse and then accepted a walk-on spot with the football team. 

Life accelerated quickly for Faison as he found himself on the field for the football team this fall and has recorded seven receptions for 102 yards and one touchdown. 

“I messaged him last year before he went to Notre Dame,” said Jeffery. “I asked him how he did it and how the process went for him because that was my dream. Everyone really doubted me and felt I was crazy. I stayed true to it. I knew if Jordan did it, then there’s hope there. They seem to love it.” 

There were still some stressful moments because other schools started recruiting Jeffery to play football. The Cheshire star never wavered in his commitment to Corrigan and leaned on Faison’s advice.

“My dream was to always play football and I was going to Notre Dame no matter what, but I was getting the looks for football,” Jeffery explained. “He told me to straight up tell them. They were understanding of it and they helped Jordan. They helped me and were very understanding. They want the best for me and if that’s me playing lacrosse and football, then that’s that.” 

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