Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Notre Dame Was An Easy Decision For Salerno

February 12, 2018

Accepting a preferred walk-on offer from Notre Dame might have been the easiest decision of Matthew Salerno’s life. The Crespi (Calif.) standout showed some patience, and it paid off.

“I applied early, and I sent a few emails to the coaches at Notre Dame,” Salerno told Irish Sports Daily. “Once I got accepted, I started talking to Aaryn Kearney and Del Alexander. Coach (Brian) Polian came out in January, and they offered me a preferred walk-on spot. 

“Notre Dame has been my dream school for as long as I can remember. The only other school I applied early to was SMU because my brother goes there.”

The Irish were always on the TV in the Salerno household, and when the preferred walk-on offer came, Salerno’s family was also present. 

“I’ve always grown up watching them because my grandpa went there,” explained Salerno. “He didn’t graduate, but he went there to play football for a short time. Notre Dame has always been our team as a family.”

“We were all in the same room when it happened. My families reaction was priceless, and they were in shock, but very excited too.” 

The chance to continue football was critical, but the opportunity to further his education was just as critical for Salerno. 

The 6-foot, 175-pounder currently carries a 4.67 GPA. 

“It’s always meant a lot to me to go to a top-tier academic school, stated Salerno. “I’m planning on majoring in Engineering and maybe a minor in Business. I’m very excited to go to a school that’s so elite academically.” 

On the field, Salerno put up big numbers as a senior against some of the best competition in the country. In 2017, Salerno recorded 77 catches and three touchdowns. 

“I see myself as a possession receiver,” he said. “I have sure hands, and that’s one of my best qualities. I’m not a guy that’s going to juke six people, but if you throw me a slant, I’m going to catch it and take a hit to get the first down.

“I’m going to work on my size and my speed. I want to get bigger, faster and stronger.” 

The success against programs like Bishop Amat, Chaminade, Notre Dame and  Serra has given Salerno belief he can compete at the next level.

“Just knowing the quality of competition I have played against, gives me a lot of confidence,” stated Salerno. "I was selected First-Team All-Mission League at receiver. The other receivers selected were a Stanford commit (Michael Wilson) and the other committed to San Diego State (Kobe Smith).

“Competing at that high of a level gives me confidence heading into Notre Dame.” 

Salerno’s talents don’t just lie on the football field and in the classroom as he was also named All-League in soccer and is a starter on Crespi’s lacrosse team. 

The chance to play three sports will help Salerno in college as he manages the demands of being a student-athlete.

“The time management aspect of it will be extremely helpful,” said Salerno. “I know playing football in college is a big time commitment, but I think I’m used to it. I live over an hour away from my high school, so I’m up early and going to bed late. 

“Playing different sports helps you work different muscles and stay in shape. I’m in soccer and lacrosse shape too. I’m excited to focus on one sport and only focus on football.” 

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