Story Poster
Photo by Matt Freeman
Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Coach | 2025 Notre Dame Safety Commit Ivan Taylor A '1-Percenter'

December 14, 2023

It wouldn’t take long for you to spot Ivan Taylor‍ out on the practice field at West Orange High School.

In fact, you’d probably be able to guess who the elite 2025 Florida safety prospect ticketed to Notre Dame was based on the amount of stickers on his helmet alone. 

But none of Taylor’s stickers were awarded for an interception or a sack or a tackle.

“All the stickers we do are based on off-field performance,” West Orange head coach Geno Thompson explains.

Players can receive stickers for volunteering, performance in the classroom or any reason a teacher or administrator feels is worthy of a nomination.

“When college coaches come down to evaluate our kids, if a kid has a lot of helmet stickers, they know that they're a great person,” Thompson continues. “Not only do they have the grades, they're going to be instantly qualified, they're doing what they're supposed do in the classroom as well as volunteering in their community.”

Taylor’s helmet is packed with stickers from all three categories.

“Phenomenal kid,” Thompson says. “No concerns whatsoever. The top 1 percent that I've ever coached. He's a great kid. He does everything right. Teachers love him. 

“He's just one of those kids who is not only really good at football, but is just a great human being. Someone you love to represent your program. Notre Dame is getting an amazing individual, not just a football player.”

Thompson notes that every college coach who comes in his school inquires about the type of kid they’re recruiting. With Taylor, Thompson can let him speak for himself.

“Everyone who comes in loves Ivan,” he says. “They're head over heels over Ivan. I'm talking about any school that walks in these doors is doing that. Honestly, every coach is more impressed when he leaves than he was when he came in. 

“It’s just the way he handles himself, his demeanor, how respectful he is. He'll stare you in the eyes. He's not going to be one whose eyes are floating around when he's talking to you. He's very intentful in what you're saying. Like I said, he is the top 1 percent I've ever had a chance of being around. That means not just a player, but also an individual person.”

Notre Dame landed Taylor in part because the Irish coaches reciprocated that same kind of respect.

“I think what separated Notre Dame from the rest of the schools was the amount of time that they spent with Ivan and the quality of time and questions and what they did,” Thompson says.

“That was very important to Ivan in terms of how he made his decision. He even said himself, the biggest thing that set Notre Dame apart from the rest was the coaches and how they went about communicating with him and how they made him feel as a person.”

Want the latest scoop on the Fighting Irish? Sign up for our newsletter and become an ISD Premium Subscriber: Sign Up for ISD

Under Armour Olive Notre Dame Fighting Irish Military Appreciation Full-Zip Jacket

subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.