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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Once Again, Notre Dame Impresses Top 2025 CB Mark Zackery IV

January 22, 2024
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Notre Dame had already shown Mark Zackery IV‍ what it can offer, but the Irish took another opportunity to show the top 2025 Indianapolis cornerback again during Saturday’s Junior Day.

“It went pretty well,” Zackery told Irish Sports Daily afterward. 

But this visit wasn’t a simple repeat of past visits. 

The Ben Davis High School star had the chance to dive more into the football aspects of the University and meet some of the people he’d be around if he chose to attend college in South Bend.

“I got to talk to a lot of the recruits and just experience a great time with them,” he said. “Most of the committed guys and then some of the main guys I was talking to like Owen (Strebig), Dallas (Golden), people like that. It was a fun time. 

“They're great. I feel like if I was to choose a school like Notre Dame and those guys were to go to that school, I feel like those are the type of people who I would like to be around. They seem like they work hard, they're competitive.”

Competition is a theme of Notre Dame recruiting visits these days and that fits perfectly with Zackery’s mindset. 

“Even when we were playing the games - offense versus defense - with the recruits, you could tell that everybody was trying to win,” Zackery explained. “That's what you want for a team that's trying to win a national championship. I feel like that went well and I feel like I could be teammates with those guys.”

Zackery would know having won state championships in both football and basketball at Ben Davis. The chance to play for a winning program is going to be a crucial piece of Zackery’s decision.

“Definitely a school that competes for a national championship, but also setting me up for success in life after football,” he said. “That's what I've been preaching since day one of my recruitment, that's what I've been looking for. 

“I feel like Notre Dame has been checking all the boxes and letting me know how they feel about me, so just getting into the other schools and trying to figure out what's the best fit for me. But Notre Dame is doing really well at that.”

Zackery also enjoyed his meetings with head coach Marcus Freeman, defensive coordinator Al Golden and cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens.

“It was definitely more in-depth about football this time,” Zackery said of his talk with Freeman. “He still continues to preach about life after football and how a Notre Dame degree can take you different places. Of course, you could be drafted from Notre Dame and they have all the tools to win a national championship and get to where you want to be, but even after that time in the NFL or in college, where will you be in life? What do you want to do in life? It was about that and football and how they can develop you and develop you as a man also.”

The coaches also explained why they see him fitting in with the Irish.

“They definitely want to use me for my length,” the 6-foot, 160-pounder said. “They're recruiting me for not just how I played, but me having a competitive spirit also and being a winner. Me winning two championships and at Ben Davis for basketball and football means something to them. They feel like that can translate to college. 

“They feel like I could be one of the next great corners there and helping build this class up to winning the national championship.”

Earlier this month, Zackery cut his list to 10 - Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, Purdue, Penn State, USC and Tennessee. 

While he’s been to South Bend a few times already, Zackery hasn’t had the opportunity to make too many visits elsewhere yet, so he’s going to try doing that now.

“I'm going to Purdue on Tuesday for a basketball game and a visit somewhat with the football team,” he said. “Then, I think Tennessee in the spring, maybe April. We haven't officially set it up, but just trying to hit the schools that I haven't seen yet and figure out what's best for me.”

He doesn’t have a firm timeline for a decision.

“I'm not super sure right now, but I'm definitely getting there,” he said. “It's kind of hard with basketball, but if I had been able to visit the schools earlier, I feel like I could make my decision earlier. But just based off the season, it's probably going to be a little later. 

“Definitely before I start my senior season for football. More than likely in the summer sometime, but I'm pretty sure I'll narrow it down again before that.”

In the meantime, he’ll keep building relationships with the Irish and will continue to have Notre Dame in mind when he’s elsewhere.

“I feel like they've had me up there a lot and I've experienced it and being around the players has helped me a lot, so I can know that when I'm going to the other schools, who are the people they are recruiting and who I would be around,” he said. “Just comparing and making sure I make the right decision.”

And he said he’ll “definitely” be back in South Bend as well.

“Whenever I have a chance. I feel like it's always great to go back and feel it just because it's so close and I'm able to get there. Just trying to hit the schools that I'm able to whenever I can as much as possible.”

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