Harrell saw another side of Notre Dame

The last time Mark Harrell visited South Bend he was like many high school players hoping the Irish had interest in making an offer. Last Friday, Harrell made a return visit as a player holding an offer. What was different this time around?

With sixteen scholarship offers at his disposal, Charlotte (NC) Catholic High School offensive lineman Mark Harrell is in a great position. However, one program that has always caught his interest is Notre Dame. Friday, the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Harrell returned to South Bend.

"I was up there on Friday and watched practice with my parents," Harrell told Irish Eyes by phone. "The visit this time with the offer was different than last time. Last time I was skeptical I would ever be offered and you do not want to get too excited about a school. Now with the offer, I was able to put myself in the position of going to the school and being part of the Notre Dame family. The visit went very well."

Harrell knows holding an offer from Notre Dame is special and one not to be taken for granted.

"Notre Dame is a school I have always been interested in and they will make my short list of schools I really like."

While not ready to cut his list of schools down, Harrell knows the day will come soon.

"I am not going to turn any schools away right now as I am not going to pick any favorites. However, Notre Dame is a school I'm very excited about."

Watching the Irish practice was an eye opening experience.

"Just watching how they compete with or without pads and how they were getting after it was impressive. Practice was fast paced and they get after it on every snap. They were competing against each other, yet they were very supportive of one another."

Watching the offensive line work gave Harrell a chance to see what his future could be like.

"I was watching the offensive line coaching very close. I like how Coach (Ed) Warinner does not degrade his players and while tough, he is also supportive. I also liked the fast pace."

Another positive about the visit was having a chance to see a different side of Notre Dame.

"This time I had the chance to see not only the athletic side of Notre Dame, but also a lot of the academic aspects of Notre Dame. I had a chance to meet with the head of admissions and members of the athletic support staff learning how they help all the athletes that attend Notre Dame. We also visited the school of business and speak with a professor there as I am looking to study business in college."

With one offensive lineman already on the Irish pledge list, Mark knows it is in his best interest to make a decision sooner than later.

"I know Notre Dame already has an offensive line prospect committed. I know I cannot wait forever, so I will have to think more about it if I want to be at a certain school. I hope to get it done before I step on the field for the start of my senior season."

Behind the scenes, Mark knows he got a great amount of support.

"I have a lot of support from coaches and my family behind me helping in this process. I hope to make it back to Notre Dame this summer."

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories