Bivin Took Brothers Advice

For Apollo High School head coach Billy Cooper, Saturday was a dream come true as one of his players committed to Notre Dame. spoke with Cooper as he headed back to Owensboro, Kentucky after an eventful weekend.

Saturday afternoon found Owensboro (KY) Apollo High School football coach Billy Cooper in the middle of star offensive lineman Hunter Bivin's recruitment.

Cooper, who is a die-hard Notre Dame fan, talked about the events leading up to his star player pledging with the Irish.

"We got here last night and spent some time with the coaches," Cooper told "On the trip coming up, I had told Hunter to have an open mind about this weekend as he was kind of reluctant and hesitant going into the weekend saying he was for sure going to commit."

For Cooper the Irish change in recruiting coach and a new offensive line coach left a few questions to be answered.

"Hunter wanted to make sure he saw coach (Harry) Hiestand in action and to see him coach," explained Cooper. "He wanted to meet him and talk with him as we have spoken with him several times on the phone but had never met him in person until Friday night for the first time. Hunter really liked him and how he did things."

Following Junior Day activities Cooper and Bivin stayed around and spoke with other members of the Irish coaching staff. It was here when things really turned for both parties.

"We met with some of the other coaches after the Junior Day was over," said Cooper. "Hunter was still kind of riding the fence so coach (Chuck) Martin asked him what was holding him back. I think it was then that things kind of clicked that there was really nothing holding him back and that Notre Dame was the right place he needed to be."

This was where Cooper had to step aside and allow the process to have a natural ending.

"I'm a Notre Dame fan," said Cooper. "I've tried not to be influential in Hunter's decision. However, I'm tickled to death. But I had to be fair and step aside. So during the final minutes of him making a decision I left the room and told him he had to make the decision for himself.

"It was then when Hunter called his brother Harris who plays football at Murray State. I don't know if most people know this about Hunter, but his dad passed away a couple of years ago. So when I came back into the room Hunter showed me the text his brother had sent him telling him to do what dad would have wanted you to do. It was then he told me he was going to commit to Notre Dame.

"I gave him a big hug and kind of teared up a little bit, but I was tickled to death. It's been a big day for sure."

Looking down the road Cooper feels the Irish are getting a player with a lot of upside. He explained the conversations he's had with members of the Irish coaching staff.

"I've talked with Coach Martin and Coach Hiestand and both of them said they see him playing left tackle at Notre Dame," said Cooper. "They feel he can use that first season to get bigger and stronger and I think he can impact the offensive line at Notre Dame. Things can change, but I think he'll be a left tackle at Notre Dame."

When asked what makes Bivin the player he's become, Cooper was quick to point out his star lineman's competitive nature.

"Hunter's a natural competitor," Cooper said. "That is something I feel he would tell you himself. I think that is why he plays sports year round because he loves to compete.

"He plays football in the fall, basketball in the winter and he throws shot and disc in the spring. I feel it really helps him with his footwork on the field when he plays basketball so basketball has only helped him." will have more on Hunter Bivin's verbal pledge when we speak with the newest member of the class later. Top Stories