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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame S Adon Shuler's Off the Field Work Paying Off This Spring

April 6, 2024
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This spring has been night and day for Adon Shuler. 

A year ago, Shuler arrived at Notre Dame in January to get a jumpstart on college, but a shoulder injury kept him from participating in competitive situations last spring. 

The New Jersey native also had to adjust to life away from home, meet academic requirements, and find his footing within the Notre Dame football program. But he made the most of it. 

“It was a culture shock,” stated Shuler. “Just seeing all the guys, how they were getting the playbook down and seeing the older guys and meeting with them, even though I wasn’t playing yet. Just being able to get in the lab with them and talk to the older guys and really kind of get a feel of how it was going to be out there, kind of definitely set me up well for the summer.” 

Shuler played in five games last fall as a freshman, including the bowl, which has given him some momentum as he enters his second spring. 

He’s also increased his time in the film room this offseason, but the biggest gains away from the field might be his one-on-one meetings with defensive backs coach Mike Mickens. 

“He’s growing,” explained Mickens. “He just wants the knowledge and he wants to keep coming in. He wants to find a way to get better every day with the challenge everything part of it. That’s what he’s doing. We can see he’s hungry. We can see he’s being very intentional on the field. He’s working hard on and off the field. It’s been a pleasure.” 

Mickens also connected with Shuler in terms of communicating the work now will get him to where he wants to go. Shuler has embraced the message and taken it to heart each day. 

“He gives me tips on things I need to work on,” said Shuler. “It’s really preparing me for the NFL. He tells me that every day. If I continue to keep doing the right things, I could be where I want to go.” 

Defensive coordinator Al Golden has also seen Shuler make significant strides this spring and it starts with work ethic. 

“The big thing with Adon that you admire is like he's just not going to be outworked,” Golden stated. “He's just got that blue-collar mindset and he's always in the building. He's always trying to be better. He's ultra-competitive. He loves the game. He's fun to communicate with.

“Those are all great traits. You need those things to be a good safety, and he's going in the right direction, and we're excited about that.” 

Shuler has put in the time, but he’s not quite a finished product. 

The next step for the 6-foot, 198-pounder is comfort, which is something that doesn’t happen overnight. 

“Getting more comfortable in my backpedals and making the calls and making sure I know the defense and just really elevating my game,” Shuler said of his goals this spring. “I feel like the more football I know the better off I’ll be; the slower the game will be for me. So, just really making sure the game is slower for me now in the spring going into the fall.” 

Another positive for Shuler is he is playing next to an All-American this spring in Xavier Watts. Shuler is paying close attention to just about everything Watts does and then being a sponge to enhance his own game. 

“Xavier, he’s always next to the ball, especially in the pass game,” Shuler explained. “So, learning that from him, like kind of seeing what he does on the third level is amazing. So, just kind of getting that and seeing just how he plays with the quarterback is something I’ve been learning from him a lot.” 

And perhaps the biggest change for Shuler was safeties coach Chris O’Leary leaving the program for the NFL. 

O’Leary had recruited Shuler and then coached him as a freshman, but there are no complaints with Mickens. 

“I was sad, of course,” said Shuler. “He recruited me my whole time here. But the conversation I had with him was, I’m still in a great place and Coach Mickens is going to take care of me. He's been doing that, so I really can’t complain.” 

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