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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Kyle Hamilton Makes Family Proud

January 4, 2019

With a father who played professional basketball, an older brother on his way to playing Division-I college basketball and the frame of, well, a basketball player, it makes sense that Kyle Hamilton’s family figured his future was on the hardwood as well.

“We always thought he would play basketball in college,” Hamilton’s mother, Jackie says.

Kyle started playing tackle football at the age of six and while he was a standout growing up, it wasn’t completely obvious how good he really was.

“We knew he was good playing in the Little League and whatnot, but how do you measure how good a kid is because you’re looking at a small sample size versus all of the kids playing in the country?” his mother recalls.

“We didn’t know football was an option. We always thought he was going to be too tall and too skinny. He was always one of the skinnier kids on the field. I just thought he wasn’t going to have the size to play football, especially down in this part of the country. They grow them big down here.”

Like most kids who play multiple sports, Kyle’s favorite sport depended on the calendar and which sport he was playing at the time.

“During basketball season it was basketball and during football season, it was football,” Jackie says.

By the time high school rolled around, Mom thought it might be time to focus on one.

“He got a basketball offer when he was in ninth grade, so I almost tried to talk him out of playing football, but he begged me to play at least for one more year,” Jackie says. “He begged and begged and begged and I let him play.

“After his sophomore year, he ended up getting two football offers. That’s when we realized, ‘Maybe there is something to this football thing.’ Until then, he played, but we didn’t really take football seriously.”

Hamilton started taking it seriously too and he knew it’d mean trying his best to put some serious weight on, which became even harder during an extreme growth spurt.

“During his sophomore year, he grew six inches,” his mom says. “He wasn’t short. He was a slightly above average height kid until he was in 10th grade.

“He knew that he had to bulk up and get bigger and stronger. He’s worked a lot. He’s worked hard in the weight room. He’s been eating around the clock and been drinking supplements in between meals trying to gain weight…We knew from talking to some of the nutritionist. They told me what to get. In between meals, he would eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and protein shakes to bulk up.”

The Hamiltons entered the recruiting process with confidence that Kyle would handle it well and that proved correct.

“He’s always been mature beyond his years,” his mother says. “It seems like he’s been here before. He’s very thoughtful. He’s still a teen-ager, so he still does teen-ager goofy stuff now and then. But in terms of taking a step back and thinking about the big picture, I think he gets it. He wants to do well, whether that’s on the field or in the classroom.”

That’s why it wasn’t a huge surprise when he chose Notre Dame, especially given the similarities between the university in South Bend and Marist, his current school.

“We couldn’t be any prouder,” Mrs. Hamilton says. “He always knew I wanted him to go to a high-academic school, so I’m glad he made the right choice. He had some good options, but I think at the end of the day, that’s what he felt comfortable with. Notre Dame is a lot like his current school.

“His school is kind of like Notre Dame on training wheels. I think he felt comfortable with the culture and the type of people who are going to be there and of course the alumni network and academics speak for themselves.”

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