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Notre Dame Football

Cornerback Cam Hart: 'Notre Dame prepared us well'

March 1, 2024
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Former Notre Dame cornerback Cam Hart might be one of the more interesting names at the 2024 NFL Combine this week. 

The 6-foot-3, 204-pounder holds rare length and size, but Hart is also fresh off an impressive Senior Bowl, where he showed his ability to make plays on the ball. 

Hart is quick to give Mikee Mickens and Al Golden credit for his development and simply preparing him for what the NFL will be like. 

“I feel like Notre Dame prepared us well,” explained Hart. “That’s a conversation that’s ongoing with all the guys that are down here and even at the Senior Bowl. I attribute that to Mike Mickens and Al Golden.

“Al Golden came from the NFL and that experience with Coach Mickens, he played the position, understands the position and coaches great cornerbacks. The knowledge I gained from those guys is second to none.”

Cornerback was where Hart thrived at Notre Dame after arriving in South Bend as a receiver. The Baltimore native finished his career with 59 tackles, 17 pass breakups and two interceptions, but Hart also learned much more than just the cornerback position. 

“Coach Mickens did a really good job preparing me to play any position in the NFL,” stated Hart. “I know safety in and out. I know linebacker in and out in our defense. I especially know field corner and nickel. I’ve practiced at nickel all year and I have a game film at Nickel when we played at Louisville. I have a great understanding of it.”

The ability to play boundary, field or in the nickel is a rare trait and Hart’s size only draws more intrigue from NFL personnel as he enters Friday’s combine testing where he hopes to showcase his ability to play all three spots. 

“All the cornerback positions are appetizing,” laughed Hart. “Nickel is different. You’re closer to the ball. You’re more run fits. You’re guarding shifter receivers, but it’s no different than playing field or boundary corner.

“My feet are comparable to a 5-foot-9 corner. I feel like I can guard anybody and put hands on them. Just knowing who you’re going against with film study, knowing tendencies and route recognition.”

And with his versatility, it’s not a complete shock Hart watched three bigger cornerbacks with very different games. 

“Coach Mickens coached Sauce Gardner,” Hart said. “He and I have a similar stature and I watched a lot of him in college because we played a similar defense. I watched Richard Sherman growing up. He was always a guy I watched his game. Pat Surtain. He can do everything, he’s a technician. He’s 6-foot-2 and can do everything and I try to watch his game.”

When it comes to his best performances, Hart highlighted Cincinnati (2021), Duke (2023), Ohio State (2022, 2023), USC (2023) and Wisconsin (2021), but the talk always seems to center around the game against the Buckeyes last September. 

Hart held Marvin Harrison Jr. to zero receptions, while Notre Dame held him to just three catches for 32 yards. 

“We played them the year before and I’m going to prepare for every game the same,” Hart explained. “It doesn’t matter if you’re the No. 1 receiver in the country or No. 500 receiver in the country. I prepared for it the same as every other game. I didn’t put too much focus on it. I didn’t get too high or too low.”

That mindset allowed Hart to have a big 2023, but also step into a significant leadership role for Notre Dame as he was named a captain. 

The leadership role was something Hart embraced as he took a great deal of pride in showing the younger players how to maneuver Notre Dame. 

“Building relationships was one big thing I did at Notre Dame, especially this past year with the younger guys,” stated Hart. “Notre Dame is a hard place, right? It’s hard to fit in. It’s hard to get your footing at a place like Notre Dame. I made sure the young guys had an idea of what that feels like. I come from a place where it wasn’t as hard - the high school I went to prepared me well, but there are some guys who didn’t get that advantage. 

“I was big on relationships and making sure the young guys had an understanding of where they can go and what they can do at Notre Dame.“

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