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Safety Rod Heard II Breaks Down Decision To Transfer To Notre Dame

January 10, 2024

It may have been a quick process, but it was a well thought-out process for Rod Heard II‍.

And that process led to the former Northwestern safety choosing to finish his college career at Notre Dame.

Heard just announced his commitment to the Irish, giving them their latest - and potentially last - piece via the Transfer Portal.

Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman and his staff played major roles in the 5-foot-11, 190-pounder choosing the Irish over his other finalists, Michigan and Michigan State.

“I can see that Coach Freeman and the coaching staff and the team are putting something together,” Heard told Irish Sports Daily prior to making his decision publicly. “I think it's going to be a great year. 

“I think it's a great collective of guys who have already had success, but I think what's coming next year and all the pieces that have been added to the team, me included, and the coaching staff that they have, I think it's going to be a very successful year. It's a great opportunity and I just felt I wanted to be a part of it.”

Heard enjoyed great success anchoring a Wildcat defense during his five years there, but wanted to wrap up his college career on a bigger stage.

“On the field, continue to grow as a player; making more plays, becoming a game-changer,” he said of his goals this coming season. “I've already had success before, but just trying to continue and getting better as a player. I think that with what Notre Dame has and the coaching staff over there, they could help me get to the next level as a player.”

Heard was recruited by Freeman to Cincinnati Coming out of Harrison High School in Farmington Hills, Mich., and Heard was seriously interested in playing for Freeman with the Bearcats. But Heard also recognized there was a very good chance Freeman could be headed for bigger things himself, which ended up being the case when the coach became defensive coordinator - and ultimately head coach - for the Irish.

“It's kind of a full circle moment that now I could go to Notre Dame and be coached by him,” Heard said. “Recognizing that he would be moving from Cincinnati to a higher level because of the type of person he is and the type of character he had and seeing what he provided to the program. So it's kind of cool to circle back and now we can have a great season together and have success together for the upcoming year.”

Safeties coach Chris O’Leary was also instrumental in recruiting Heard to Notre Dame over the past few weeks.

“He's a cool guy,” Heard said of O’Leary. “We talked on the phone a little bit before I visited, but going up there and hanging out with him and talking football and just seeing who he is as a coach and what he's done already and all the success he's had in the past.”

Defensive coordinator Al Golden was also impressive.

“Having a meeting with him and talking football and seeing how he structures how they do everything and the intricate techniques and coaching points that they have and the system that they use to coach the guys and how comprehensive it is,” Heard said of what stuck out about Golden. 

“Of course, he has so much experience coming from The League, on the team with Joe Burrow not even two, three years ago where they were having success and just seeing his mind as a defensive coordinator. It was kind of a no-brainer for me to take that opportunity.”

Portal Scouting Notes | S Rod Heard II

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