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Future Irish Parents Filled With Pride, Excitement

December 19, 2017
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Tommy Tremble‍ will take another significant step toward his maturation into a young man when the 2018 Georgia tight end officially signs his National Letter of Intent with Notre Dame on Wednesday, but he’s always displayed a great deal of maturity, according to his mother.

“We’ve always been proud of Tommy,” Abigail Tremble says. “He’s always been what we call an old soul. If there’s a puppy or a baby or elderly person, Tommy is always the first one to be looking out and being compassionate for others. He’s always been a fantastic student and done well academically. That’s something we’ve always been proud of.

“This is one of those things where we’re excited for him because this is his passion. We’re excited for all of the years of work he’s put into it, that he’s able to live out his dream to play at the next level.”

Tremble announced his commitment to the Irish just last week, but it was the culmination of a strong relationship that was formed through Notre Dame’s diligence and professionalism.

“Notre Dame has been interested in Tommy really since day one of his junior, we’ll call it recruiting season,” Mrs. Tremble says. “The entire time, everything with Notre Dame has been first class. They’ve been incredibly professional. They’ve been very persistent, but in a respectful way.

“Everything they’ve done has just shown the utmost integrity and that Notre Dame is first class all of the way. Tommy was blessed with the opportunity to select from some great schools, but time and time again, we walked away being so impressed with each and every interaction with the coaching staff, admissions. Every single person we’ve touched and talked to at Notre Dame has been absolutely first class.”

Tremble’s parents believed Notre Dame was the best fit and were glad to see their son come to the same conclusion.

“As parents, you want to make sure they own the decision in the end because they’re the ones who have to live with it for the next four years,” Mrs. Tremble says. “We talked a lot as a family. He had some really amazing schools to choose from, all very strong academic institutions and also excellent football programs. I think in the end, for Tommy to have the opportunity to come to the conclusion that Notre Dame was the best fit for him was huge for us as a family.”

Initially, Tremble wasn’t positive he’d sign on Wednesday, but after talking about it with his parents, they realized there was no reason to wait.

“We’re so excited,” his mother says. “At this point, Tommy has obviously committed and we’re really looking forward to marching toward everything Notre Dame.

“The early signing day just provides an opportunity to make everything official as quickly as possible. We’re anxious and eager to do that. There is no looking back. We want him to be a part of and he wants to be a part of the Fighting Irish, so no reason and no hesitation from us to not take advantage of the early Signing Day.”

“MIXED EMOTIONS TO BE HONEST”

That’s how Dan Lamb and his wife will be heading into National Signing Day with their son, Jack Lamb, the 2018 linebacker from California who committed to the Irish back in July.

“Obviously, we’re super proud of Jack,” Mr. Lamb expands. “It’s an amazing accomplishment, so we’re going to be proud. We’re going to be a little bit emotional because he’s an early enrollee and he’s leaving in less than a month. We’re a little bit sad that he’s going to be gone, but we’re also really excited for him and what’s in front of him.

“To sort of kick him out of the nest so to speak and watch him fly is going to be really exciting. I know he’s excited, we’re excited for him. You go from whatever you are whether you’re 3-star, 4-star or 5-star and in a couple of weeks, he’s no stars. It starts all over again. I’m excited for him for that because now it’s about playing football again. The recruiting process is over and he can go focus on what’s he worked so hard to get to.”

Lamb chose Notre Dame over his other finalists, UCLA, Penn State, Washington and Oregon.

“It’s what the University offers from an academic standpoint,” Mr. Lamb says when asked why the Irish were the choice in the end. “Jack’s enrolling in the Mendoza School of Business. That’s an amazing undergraduate program. It’s always in the top five in the country, he’s excited about that. Not that other schools fall short because I don’t think that’s fair to say, but what Notre Dame brings to the table that seems to be one-of-a-kind is the network of people associated with the University and how strong the alumni are. They want to see you succeed.

“It’s a Catholic university and we’re Catholic. That’s a little relieving to me as well because that’s an important part of his life. I think it’s easy to get away from that maybe at some other colleges and at Notre Dame, it’s part of your week just like it is at home.”

It’s the job of college coaches to show uncommitted prospects a bunch of love and attention in the lead-up to their decisions, but Mr. Lamb says that never changed with the staff in South Bend even after his son committed.

“Exactly the same,” he says of the coaches’ attitudes the last several months. “They’re just sincere guys. Coach (Clark) Lea talks to Jack every week. Coach (Brian) Polian talks to Jack every week even if it’s a quick text exchange or a full-on conversation. Coach (Brian) Kelly has been super involved. Jack had three home visits. Elko came out, Polian was here three times. Kelly came, Lea was here twice, all in the span of a three-week period of time.”

It got to the point where Lamb felt the need to let the coaches know they didn’t need to waste their time with him anymore.

“Honestly, our message to them was, ‘You don’t need to keep coming. Go get other guys,’” Mr. Lamb explains. “Seriously, Jack told them, ‘Go get guys, I want to win.’ We tried not to take too much of their time because we want to be a part of a special class, which I think this one is. The last couple of weeks has been really exciting to see some of the guys they’re signing.

“These guys are really good people and I’m excited my son is going to be around them for the next four or five years.”

NERVOUS EXCITEMENT FOR THE JONESES

Micah Jones will be enrolling early at Notre Dame as well, so the father of the 2018 Illinois wide receiver understands what Mr. Lamb is talking about.

“We only have one child, so I think there’s excitement and nerves on his end and our end,” Mark Jones says. “But it’s a tremendous opportunity that’s been provided for him and he’s worked very hard to earn that our opportunity. For us, it’s really about doing the best with the opportunity you’ve been given.”

Mr. Jones points to “the culture” in South Bend.

“To me, what sold us on Notre Dame, obviously the academics is a huge opportunity,” he explains. “You get to play football at the highest level. As a parent, the size of the school fits his personality. The culture, the diversity, the religious setting, the opportunity to play football at a high level, the academics and then the good brand is really what sold us.”

The relationship Jones has built with wide receivers coach Del Alexander over the past several months has eased any concerns they may have had as parents.

“It’s nervous excitement for me and I think it’s the same thing for his mom built in with a whole bunch of opportunity,” Mr. Jones says. “Coach Alexander came by to see him last week and the message he sent was, ‘It’s a tremendous opportunity and I’m going to be your mom and dad away from home.’

“That helps as well, his position coach acting as that father figure and parent. He has a son around the same age. You put all of those things together and that tells you you’re leaving your kid in a good position.”

SIGNING DAY, ANTICLIMATIC?

If there is a so-called “jewel” in Notre Dame’s 2018 recruiting class, it’d be quarterback Phil Jurkovec, who we at Irish Sports Daily have rated as a five-star prospect. But that’s not the way his family looks at things.

“The entire family is very grateful to Coach Kelly and Notre Dame for the scholarship opportunity and very proud of Philip for maintaining his pledge over these past two years,” Jurkovec’s father, Jim Jurkovec says.

“We appreciate the challenge that is in front of him and have focused our parental efforts on keeping him grounded as he has worked hard to achieve his goals.”

The Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year completed 246 of his 337 pass attempts for 3,969 yards and 39 touchdowns while running for another 1,227 yards and 24 scores as he led his Pine-Richland High School squad to a state championship.

But again, that’s not the way his family measures things.

“Ultimately, more than statistics or accolades, he wants to carry the mantle of being a leader and a winner, and he believes that Notre Dame affords him the chance to cultivate both aspects of his personality,” his father says.

Jurkovec gave his verbal commitment to the Irish more than a year and a half ago and for his family, that's when it became official.

“Signing day, though, is a bit anticlimactic, since Sara and I have considered him signed, sealed, and delivered since May 2016!”

AUSTIN WILL ALWAYS HAVE HIS MOM WITH HIM EVEN WHEN SHE ISN'T WITH HIM

As Kevin Austin Jr., entered high school, the 2018 Florida wide receiver shared some of his goals with his mother. A few years later, Austin is set to officially check off one of his biggest goals on Wednesday.

“His success is really not surprising to me because it’s well-deserved,” Austin’s mother, Andrea, tells Irish Sports Daily. “He’s achieved his goal of playing football at the college level through hard work, dedication, a lot of effort, passion and faith, so I’m very proud of him.”

And Austin knows he’s got a ton of hard work ahead of him as he enters Notre Dame.

“He’s definitely not thinking, ‘Oh, I’m finishing high school and it’s over and I’m going to breeze through college,’” his mother says. “Of course not. He’s still working hard even though it’s not football season right now. He definitely knows it’s not over.

“He’s willing to work hard. He’s very selfless. He’s brave, he’s strong, which I’m very proud of. He’s learned how to balance his love of football with his academic success. He’s going into college knowing he’s got to work hard at football if he wants to be even more successful and also work very hard to be successful academically.”

The Irish got in early with Austin and Autry Denson formed a strong bond with the family based on his personality and being from the area, but that was just a start.

“Notre Dame has great academics, which is very important to Kevin and I,” his mother says. “They also have a great football program and after getting to know the coaching staff, I realized the staff is also the kind of coaching staff I want Kevin to be a part of. They’re very strong men with great family values. That’s important to us as well.

“They’ve been great. Nothing has changed. I can call them anytime. Whatever information you need, they’re right there to answer questions we have.”

Mrs. Austin is going to miss her son deeply when he heads to South Bend, but she’ll always be there for him.

“I’m very happy for him,” she says. “He’s grown into a very inspiring young man with a bright future ahead of him. Because he’s my son, of course I think he’s extraordinary and I’m very blessed to have a son like him. I always tell him no matter where life takes him to always spread his wings and never lose faith in God. He’s always had a very humble personality and I always tell him how proud I am of his personality.

“Him leaving home is of course going to be sad. I’m probably going to cry every day, but I am very proud of him and I do plan to be there for his games as I always am.”

“LIKE HITTING THE LOTTERY”

Notre Dame almost has to go to war to pull elite talent out of SEC country on the recruiting trail, but Georgia defensive back Derrik Allen Jr., knew what he wanted and made the decision to commit to the Irish way back in February.

He’d actually made the decision earlier, but wanted to be 100 percent sure. The Notre Dame coaching staff didn’t even realize how close it was to landing one of its very top targets when Allen Jr., called to say he was in.

“They had no idea,” his father, Derrik Allen Sr., laughs. “They were like, ‘Huh?’ They were caught totally off-guard. They had no idea he was ready to commit at that time.

“We’re exceptionally proud. My wife and I are absolutely giddy about the fact that with all of these schools coming after him with offers that he made the decision that he wanted to go and attend Notre Dame and he was pretty solid with his decision. He never really wavered at all and he had very sound reasons both on the field and off the field. We are ecstatic. He is going away from home, but so be it. It’s about him expanding his horizons. We think it’s a great decision, so we’re 100 percent supportive.”

Wednesday will be the official end of a long a process.

“It’s a culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication by Derrik over the years and sacrifice by the parents getting him to practice and equipment and camps and all of this other stuff,” Allen Sr., says. “We couldn’t be prouder of this opportunity for him.

“It’s real money, man. We get those scholarship papers and see those four years laid out and think about what the annual cost is for Notre Dame, you realize this is like hitting the lottery. It’s great. My wife and I couldn’t be prouder of Derrik or happier for him. He’s relieved it’s gotten to this point. He’s been dealing with recruiting since the end of his freshman season, so it’s definitely been a long time coming.”

The opportunity for the Allen family was too much to pass up.

“It’s Notre Dame,” Allen Sr. explains. “It’s a Top 15 academic institution in the country, it’s a global brand in terms of the institution itself, it’s big-time football on a national stage. This is a great opportunity for Derrik and all of those guys who are going to be signing here over the next couple days. It’s as prestigious as it comes. These guys will have an opportunity to hopefully get Notre Dame back to its glory days of football success.”

Seeing the Irish class, especially the secondary, fill out has also provided some excitement down the stretch.

“As a sports parent, I couldn’t be more excited to see my son surrounded by other top caliber players and make the decision to go to Notre Dame. You don’t want to be the only guy in a class. For them to be recruiting at the level they are right now, I think the class is Top 10, that’s a big deal. I’m equally excited for the caliber of the other players who are going into Notre Dame with him.”

“TEARS WILL BE SHED”

2018 Notre Dame linebacker commit Bo Bauer has had quite a remarkable athletic career already.

“For him to be able to start at Cathedral Prep as a freshman was kind of unheard of and for him to go to three straight State Championships was never done before,” Bauer’s father, Matthew Bauer says. “For him to play in all three of those games along with some of the other kids in his class, I don’t think that was ever done before.

“For him to get All-State, All-District and All-Region three years in a row, it’s pretty unheard of and then for him to win the State Championship back-to-back, it’s the first time any team from this area has done that.”

And now Bauer is headed to South Bend.

“He’s going to be the first kid we know of to graduate Cathedral Prep early and start at Notre Dame,” Mr. Bauer says. “I don’t think you could have written a better story even if you had a creative imagination.”

Getting started early means leaving early and Bauer heads to South Bend in a few weeks.

“I’m excited for him,” Mr. Bauer says. “Mom is a little sad he’s going to be leaving. Both of us enjoy having him home and I think she’s savoring every day he is still here. He’s only six hours away, so I’m sure my wife and I will be going there quite often to see him.

“It’s a magical place. I always tell people it’s the Disney World of college football. The way you feel there walking around and you get to see neat things around great people.”

Football was a big part of Bauer’s decision, but not the biggest, according to his father.

“When you go to Notre Dame, you go there for the academics,” Mr. Bauer says. “When you get out of school – what’s the average of an NFL career? A couple years?

“The education and connections he is going to make at Notre Dame are going to last him for his entire life and that’s the important thing.”

An uncle on his grandmother’s side played football at Notre Dame.

“All we have to do is say the words ‘Notre Dame’ and she starts crying, so I think there is a high probability there will be tears shed by somebody.”  

BRACY MAKES FAMILY PROUD

Tariq Bracy‍ is one of the newest members of Notre Dame’s class, but the 2018 California cornerback’s family has a great understanding of what the decision he made means for him.

“We are extremely proud of TaRiq and his achievements,” his mother Annetta Carter says. “He is an amazing young man and has worked hard over the years.

“Academically and athletically, being able to further his education is a blessing and honor that will positively impact his future and allow him to reach for his dreams!!”

She signed the message, “Love Mom, Dad and twin.”

MORE THAN A GAME, MUCH MORE THAN A GAME

All of the comments from the parents above are heartfelt and revealing, but none of them compare to the situation Maryland defensive line commit Ja’mion Franklin and his father, James Franklin, are enduring in the midst of the recruiting hoopla.

Back in September, Franklin’s father was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, “a type of cancer that starts in the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow.”

We know all of the Irish commits are thankful for their parents' support, but Franklin is going to extreme lengths to prove how much his father means to him and his father is the one who's saying thanks. 

“I am very proud of him for what he has done in his life so far,” James Franklin says. “He is my best friend.

“He’s my hero because he will be my donor for my bone marrow transplant so he gets to save his pop’s life.”

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