Decker Reaffirms Pledge to Irish

Two weekends ago, Taylor Decker took his official visit to Notre Dame the school he's been verbally committed to since last March. While Decker has been the subject of several rumors, he was quick to apologize for not setting the record straight soon after his visit. checked in with the future Irish offensive linemen to talk about his visit and more.

The life of a teenager in the center of a recruiting fire storm can be hectic. For Vandalia, Ohio offensive lineman Taylor Decker, that storm came in the wake of Urban Meyer's hire at Ohio State, and the coach's success at prying verbal pledges away from other programs.

Decker has no problem setting the record straight on where he stands with Notre Dame.

"First I want to apologize for missing you a whole bunch because I've been busy," explained Decker. "But now I'm on break and looking forward to getting things caught up. I was getting calls all the time and I was in the process of getting all my homework completed before I started calling people back. But it's starting to calm down now.

"I've seen people put on websites that I was going to change my mind and go with the Buckeyes on signing day. That is totally ridiculous as people are just putting things out there. There was also a newspaper article written about me here in Dayton that I didn't even want to do. I didn't even respond for comment because I thought it was a useless article for them to talk with me about Ohio State when I wasn't interested.

"The main thing that I think is kind of crazy are people putting things out there that have never been said to anybody. I don't even know where people are coming up with some of it."

Not only has Decker seen the things on the internet and in the local newspapers, he's also heard it from people he knows.

"I've even had people come up to me and ask me if I was going to Ohio State now," said Decker. "I guess you just have to take it all in stride. There really is not much to say about all of it because nothing really ever happened."

One thing for certain is Decker returned from South Bend even more excited about his future plans.

"I feel if you really look at football at Notre Dame you can see them returning to prominence under Coach Kelly," said Decker. "When you look at the guys he's bringing in and the system he's putting in place great things are getting ready to happen.

"Wherever I would have chosen to go be it Notre Dame or anywhere else, which I've chosen Notre Dame, I would be playing great football.

"With some of the teams Notre Dame is putting on the schedule like Oklahoma these next couple of years, that's a big time game and there is always people watching Notre Dame no matter what. Notre Dame has a great fan base and I've learned that just going up to the games and walking around up there. There are just some great people up there."

As for his official visit, Decker said it got started a day early as coach Kelly made a visit to his high school.

"Coach Kelly and coach (Tim) Hinton were at my school the day before my visit to meet with my parents and coach Bush," said Decker. "Then on Saturday, I also got a meeting with coach Kelly one-on-one. Each time I talk with him I get even more excited. He's a great coach and a very intense coach on the field. I feel I'll mesh well with that and be able to rise to the occasion when challenged to do something. I'm really excited to be able to play for him and his staff."

As for the visit itself Decker now feels at home.

"It was awesome," said Decker. "You know I've seen a lot of the campus before and everything. But my favorite thing was being able to spend some time with the players. Me being a younger kid still in high school, I wasn't sure how they would treat me. But they treated me just like I was one of them. The players were just awesome to me and I loved it. I also got to spend some time with some of the professors to answer some of the questions about the academic stuff. I know I can talk with the coaches and ask them questions about football stuff; however, getting the chance to get some of the academic things cleared up was great.

"Being able to meet with some of the coaches again and just getting back on campus felt good. It was also great to see some of the other recruits there and speak with them and pick their brain as to what they are thinking. It's always fun to watch practice there because it's so organized and fast paced. It's not a long practice, but they get everything done and get it done efficiently."

Who served as Decker's host on his official visit?

"Nick Martin was my host," said Decker. "At first I was kind of reserved a little bit because I was around a bunch of guys I really didn't know. So I was kind of feeling things out at first. But they are just a lot like me as they love being around a group of friends and always clowning around telling jokes. I think I'm going to be really good friends with him and some of the other younger linemen once I get there as I had the chance to spend a lot of time with them and they were really good to me."

While many times coaches must reaffirm a prospects commitment, Decker said that would have been wasted time.

"Coach Warinner really doesn't need to recruit me again," said Decker. "We spent our time together just sitting there and visiting with each other."

The highlight of any visit is the dining experiences prospects enjoy. Where id Decker and the other recruits dine at?

"We got to go to Ruth Chris Steak House and it was amazing," said Decker. "That was probably one of the best dinners I ever had. I tried my calamari and didn't even know what it was until after I ate it. They then told me it was squid so it was definitely a lot of fun.

"Coach Kelly wasn't able to make it to dinner. He was going to try and come if he got all of his work done. But all the rest of the coaching staff was there along with the other recruits and their families and our host."

One thing Decker changed this winter was playing basketball. Is he finding himself missing the sport that many felt he would play at the next level?

"I'm really enjoying not playing," said Decker. "If I was to be playing basketball it would be good for my cardio and my footwork. However, my weight would suffer along with my strength because we hardly lift in basketball. I do miss playing with my friends, the locker room atmosphere, and the team camaraderie. But I'm really enjoying it and extremely happy with my decision because I feel if I start working hard now I won't be behind when I get to Notre Dame and I'll be ready to compete."

Members of Irish Eyes will soon be leaning more about Taylor Decker when we speak with his mother in our upcoming "A Mother's Words" segments leading up to signing day. Top Stories