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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Coach | 2025 Notre Dame S Commit Ethan Long The "Complete Package"

January 9, 2024

The Brunswick School Football team doesn’t get access to its practice field until 3:30 pm each day.

But that doesn’t stop Ethan Long‍ from finding ways to get a headstart.

“We get out of our coaches meeting at 3:20 and Ethan's already through a 15, 20-minute workout,” Brunswick head coach Wayne McGillicuddy says. 

“He's in the corner of the field, not distracting anyone just doing his own thing; whether it's his hand placement on jams or his pedals or his breaks, all those little things.”

And when practice ends, the 2025 Connecticut safety isn’t done.

“Extra conditioning or a lot of times getting extra lifts or doing other things,” McGillicuddy says of Long, the proverbial first guy in/last guy out.

On Monday, Long announced his commitment to Notre Dame, choosing the Irish over his other finalists, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin.

“They're going to get a kid who is going to come in and work his tail off,” McGillicuddy says. “He's really developed this year into becoming the first one in and the last one to leave. We're not allowed on our practice field until 3:30 because of middle school sports. 

“They're just getting someone that's going to work and do everything they ask and more.”

And, according to McGillicuddy, they’re getting a motivated player.

“I think he has a chip on his shoulder and he wants to prove everyone wrong,” the coach says. “He wants to go out there and be the best. I know that he wants to make people proud and he hates letting people down. It's one of the things that really irks him. He's built this chip on his shoulder and his big thing is proving people wrong.”

Even as a prospect who garnered several major scholarship offers, Long hasn’t forgot those who didn’t offer him or didn’t follow through on what they said or those on the outside who have long doubted him.

“He's probably heard throughout, 'Oh, you're just not that good,'” says McGillicuddy. “Once he gets some of these offers, people will sit there and say, 'Well, how realistic is it?' 

“He just keeps adding fuel to that fire and he tries to take anything that anyone says that's negative and he'll use it against them. That's something that helps that fire keep burning.

“He doesn't always let the negative stuff affect him, but he definitely hears it and he definitely uses motivation to continue to push through. Because it is tough when you start getting all these offers and all this interest and all these people who are calling you all the time. He needed to find a way to fuel that fire and that's exactly what he was doing.”

McGillicuddy calls Notre Dame “a phenomenal fit” for Long. 

“He is coming from a great academic high school and Notre Dame just continues that,” he says. “I think some of the coaches have called them "like-minded schools," so I think it checks the box. When he came in, him and the family had talked about academics and wanting to make a 40-year decision over a four-year decision. I think that plays a role in his decision. 

“But also, they've done a phenomenal job of recruiting him, building that relationship with him. The head coach is a defensive guy, which him and I joke around about because I'm an offensive guy. He's excited to have a defensive guy, especially someone that's really good at coaching DBs. Coach O'Leary's done a phenomenal job of building that relationship. I know when he went out to camp, Coach O'Leary did a great job coaching him up and trying to teach him different techniques against different types of people. I just think it's a great fit academically, athletically, and then socially.”

Notre Dame has been on Long’s mind since he was younger, when his cousin, Austin Webster, was a walk-on receiver for the Irish.

“It's something that he's always dreamed of,” McGillicuddy says. “His cousin was the captain of the team and now he gets to go follow in his footsteps. He grew up watching his family do it, now he gets to go do it.”

Long has grown up around the game with a father who played college football.

“He comes from a phenomenal family,” McGillicuddy says. “Dad has been around football his whole life. Dad played at Villanova.”

McGillicuddy has challenged Long to become more of a vocal leader as a senior and is excited to see him embrace that role.

“I think once he does that, he's that complete package and that's where he's going to take that next step and I know he's going to,” the coach says. “When you look at his tape from two years ago, we played him at what we call our Star position, where essentially he's man-to-man on number two. This year we put him at more free safety, that way his IQ could grow. He could start reading the quarterback's eyes, jumping plays, and also being able to help his teammates over the top.

“But he also had to help us in the run game, we ask our free safety to do as the be that extra hat. Next year, he's going to continue to work on all of those things and I think he really takes that step as a leader.”

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