Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Reece Atteberry Is Much More Than A National Recruit

May 28, 2019
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A high-profile recruitment came as no shock to anyone who watched 2020 Eaglecrest (Colo.) offensive lineman Reece Atteberry‍ grow up through the years. 

Atteberry wasn’t always a 6-foot-5, 280-pounder, but he was bigger than his peers. His mother, Dani Atteberry, also saw a difference in the way her son conducted himself on the field from an early age. 

“He was always bigger than his age group of kids,” stated Atteberry. “It was the first or second year of tackle football, and he had a little bit more intensity to him. He knew what he was doing and it wasn’t just lining up.” 

The four-star prospect was also different in the way he conducted himself off the field. Atteberry is known for his nasty playing style, but he also makes sure to take care of his own business. 

“He’s a gentle giant,” said Atteberry. “When he’s on the playing field, it’s game on. He’s cute because he’s like a grandpa driver. He drives the speed limit and leaves a few minutes early knowing he might hit some lights.” 

Discipline 

It’s not easy to earn the offers Atteberry has accumulated over the course of the last year. Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Colorado, Colorado State, Duke, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon and USC are just a few of the programs who have extended offers. 

It would also be easy for a prospect in Atteberry’s situation to become content, but that’s not him. The Eaglecrest star is up early to train at Six Zero Football Academy, which is the same facility and training staff who train 2020 Notre Dame defensive line commit Aidan Keanaaina‍.

Atteberry gets tested and pushed to his limits every day and his mother saw that determination from an early age. 

“When he was little, he would line up his little football helmets in order of conference,” explained Atteberry. “He had this determination of the big picture about him. High school wasn’t going to be an end for him. He knew he was going to do bigger things at the next level.

“He’s always conducted himself that way and had a maturity to him. Reece knew he had to stay on his grades, go to training and practice. It was his life.”

Influence 

Atteberry may have shown an initial determination and credit should go to his parents, but his sister, Rylee, should also be recognized.

Rylee went through her own Division I recruitment as she was actually a verbal commit to Notre Dame’s women’s soccer team for 10 months before eventually landing at Coastal Carolina. 

“His older sister plays soccer and she was recruited early as well,” Atteberry said. “He saw what she had to do to get to the next level.” 

While his parents stressed good grades, Atteberry was able to see the emphasis pay off for his sister and served as intrinsic motivation.

“Education has always come first,” explained Atteberry. “It’s not just school GPA, but mom’s GPA. From kindergarten on, we have celebrated good grades and made sure the homework gets done. Grades have always had to come before anything else.” 

“He bought in and has stayed disciplined to be on track for everything. Reece saw Rylee and realized if he came home and got his work done or used his off period for homework, he could be doing these other things and not be in trouble. 

“He’s a very observant kid. He was pretty easy to deal with on that.” 

Irish Sports Daily
Reece and Rylee Atteberry

Maturity

For many prospects across the country, the process takes many twists and turns. There are positive and negative moments which test a kid’s maturity. Atteberry has always remained the same person throughout his recruitment, which means he’s always looking out for others, while also taking things seriously. 

“He’s a very much a gentlemen,” said Atteberry. “Reece makes sure everyone is OK. We live in Colorado, we’ve had Columbine and the theatre, which is the theatre we go to as a family. Those are things that I have made sure to point out to him to make sure he’s always aware.” 

Atteberry isn’t an uptight kid, but he has his fun while remaining comfortable in his own skin and he’s also not afraid to listen to advice.

“Reece is a black and white guy,” Atteberry explained. “He’s not gray. He’s not so serious he doesn’t have fun, but he knows boundaries. Reece knows to be respectful to everyone. He opens doors for everyone and is a ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ kind of guy. 

“He definitely doesn’t take anything lightly. He listens to stories from his grandparents and takes it all in. Reece definitely thinks about things and different options before he talks about it.” 

Recruitment 

It’s fair to say Atteberry is a calculated guy in his life away from football, but it has also translated to his recruitment. He has been able to effortlessly transition between his academics, personal life, social life and his recruitment. 

“It’s amazing to me how he has handled it,” stated Atteberry. “I know this time last year when offers were coming in so fast, it was a little overwhelming. I checked on him and asked what I could do to help. 

“He said he was doing OK. He kept everything organized but kept it in perspective. It wasn’t going to interfere with class or practice. When he got home, Reece would take 30 minutes to respond to people and put some boundaries on himself. He knew what he had to get done and what he wanted to say.” 

Coaches across the country would love to land a verbal commitment from the Eaglescrest standout, but Atteberry is on his own time. Atteberry also has resources around him who can help when it’s needed.

“Reece knows what is important to him, so he’s not rushing it,” Atteberry said of her son. “He knows where he wanted to visit to get the feel of people and the area.

“He’s very calculated in his mind of what is important to him. I’ve been very impressed with how he has navigated through it. He’ll call his sister, his dad or me just to talk. It helps him sort out some thoughts or questions he might have.” 

Last summer, Atteberry traveled to just about every area of the country to visit programs. The goal was to find out if he was comfortable, but also to find out if a school clicked. 

Those experiences have led to a top five of Duke, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame and Ohio State. 

“He did his homework with every reporter, coach and head coach,” Atteberry explained. “He’s appreciative of the time people have taken to reach out. In the same aspect, he’s always known what he’s wanted to do. He’s now ready for his officials and will commit before the season starts.” 

Life Lessons 

As with any parent, Atteberry has seen some of her life lessons rub off on her son over time. In this case, it’s treating people right, but also making sure the work is done. 

“It’s always been about representing himself as he wants to be treated,” said Atteberry. “If he wanted to be the best, then be the best and work as hard as you can, but not to the detriment of someone else. 

“You’ll see him rock someone on the field, but after the whistle, Reece will help them back up. It’s not to humiliate somebody. 

“Conducting himself appropriately has been important, so he doesn’t embarrass himself publicly or privately. He’s done that.” 

Atteberry has seen her son recognized when out and about in their community and he has handled it well. Time is something you can’t get back and Atteberry is always willing to give his time to those who know he’s a national recruit and to those who see a big kid who plays football. 

“Reece hates shopping, but there was an elderly gentleman at the grocery store who stopped him and said, ‘You’re a big boy. Do you play football?’ 

“He gave his history of what he played and I was done shopping before they were done talking. The man apologized about taking up his time, but Reece said, ‘Sir, I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me and I’m glad to hear your story.’ 

“They shook hands and that’s how it ended. He doesn’t take anything for granted.”

Irish Sports Daily
Reece Atteberry and Harisen Miller 

Advice 

The recruiting process doesn’t have a book and Atteberry is in the rare situation of having two kids go through a recruitment. 

While the recruitments have been different in many ways, they are also similar at the core. 

“Having a girl go through a recruitment to a boy, the biggest thing I can say is to listen to your kids,” explained Atteberry. “Pay attention. You know if what they like for dinner or how they want something flavored.

“When you go on these trips or talk to coaches, watch your kid. See how they are responding or reacting. I know from both my kids, a place that wasn’t going to be for them. There would be a place there was a flicker in their eye, but then I also knew when a school was going to be a major contender. 

“I kept it to myself because I didn’t want that to be an influence.” 

Parents are often a driving force in the decision and while their input is crucial, Atteberry also understands an essential part of the process. 

“Remember, they are the one going to school,” said Atteberry. It’s not me. They have to enjoy it. I have my favorites, but I keep it to myself because I’m not the one going to school. He has to love his coaches, the environment and the same was with Rylee. The decision is for them. 

“As a parent, listen and be there for them. There are times it’s going to be stressful for them, or they are over it. You have to shut down the phone or have a weekend with no contact and go do something with the phone off.

“The Athletic Director and the Dean at our school, I told them to keep an eye on them. If you start to see them wavering mentally, emotionally, or getting frustrated, then we need to be raising the flag to each other as adults that it’s too much. 

“We made a decision to keep an eye on it to make sure it didn’t turn into a negative.”

 
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