How did Fort Thomas (KY) Highlands quarterback Patrick Towles feel about his recent game day visit with the Irish?
"I loved it, you go up there and get the campus feel, and with Touchdown Jesus and the Grotto, the tradition up there is unbelievable. Going on the field and the tour of the facility was also great to experience."
With a former teammate (Austin Collinsworth) now at Notre Dame, has Patrick learned anything about the Irish?
"After the game they let us in the locker room and I had a chance to talk with Austin. He said he loves it and loves how he fits in the offense. The fact they are an independent school and can play anyone they want, and stuff like that will really play a lot in where I'll look at going to school."
This past summer, Patrick looked to get a step ahead of other quarterbacks by attending the Irish summer camp. How did he do and how was his experience?
"With all these camps you get little time to show what you can do because of the amount of kids that go up there. I feel I did pretty good up there. I had a good forty and shuttle time and threw the ball well. I spoke with Coach Hinton and he was excited about how I did and I also spoke with Coach Molnar and they were both very happy with the way I ran."
Living just across the river from Cincinnati, Patrick had a chance to watch Brian Kelly's offense in action. How much did he watch the Bearcats under Kelly?
"Not really that much. I have never really been a big UC fan, but I watched the Florida game because one of our former players (Ben Guidugli) is their tight end. So I watched if for that. They run the spread offense and that I really like, I can see they are getting guys ready for the next level. Coach Kelly has won everywhere he's been and so it looks good at Notre Dame."
As for how the early part of the recruiting process is going, Towles is just getting things started.
"I do not have any offers yet but I'm starting to send out tapes to every school that has contacted me. I am going to be pro-active during the process and see how the rest of this season goes and then evaluate everything and go from there."
As for his early feelings about the Irish, Patrick liked what he heard during his visit.
"Notre e Dame is a really good academic institution, when I went up there Coach Martin told us they do not recruit players who only want to come and get a good education, they want kids who also want to win National Championships. That really stood out to me and will play a huge role when I do make my decision. I want to be part of a program that wants to win championships."
As far as the type of player Patrick is, he feels fully capable of playing big time college football. At 6-foot-5, 235-pounds, he has the physical size teams look for, but what does he feel he brings to the field?
"I'm not going to say I'm a dual threat quarterback by any means. But I am fast enough to sit in the pocket and evade the rush and tall enough to see over the line. I feel I have enough arm strength to throw the ball 50-60 yards down the field and enough finesse to drop a ball right over a linebacker if I need to."
Last season Patrick got an early dose of playing when Highlands senior starting quarterback when down with an injury. Once given the job, he never looked back and held onto the position even after the seniors return. The results were another State Championship for the Bluebirds marking their 22nd Kentucky title overall and third in a row. The experience helped but Patrick knows his game is still in a growth mode.
"While I have championship game experience, last year this was Austin's team. Now, I'm getting more responsibility and working on my game management as to time left, down and distance and what we need and what we do not need."
As for other teams showing interest, those in the Commonwealth are already showing interest along with a few others.
While Patrick knows there will be plenty of schools to chose from, Notre Dame has a few things going for them others do not.
Over the past several years, Highlands High School has not only been Kentucky's top prep program, they have put out a few quality quarterbacks. With former Bluebirds quarterbacks like Gino Guidugli and Jared Lorenzen, Patrick knows about the pressure that comes with playing the marquee position on the field.
"There is always pressure when you are the quarterback at Highlands High School. But Jared, since he is my quarterback coach, has really done a great job deflecting the pressure off me and I'm just trying to be the next Patrick Towels."
This season Patrick and his teammates are on pace to win another state title. One of the highlights of the season was a showdown between Highlands and Dixie Heights with Class of 2012 quarterback Zeke Pike. While Pike may be holding all the early offers and attention, it was Towels and his teammates that walked off the field with a 42-14 victory.
Irish Eyes will continue to follow Patrick Towels and any interest Notre Dame may show in his as a future member of the Irish football program.