Tranquill hears advice of Irish locker room

Notre Dame linebacker/safety signee four-star Drue Tranquill of Fort Wayne (Ind.) Carroll trusted his gut in choosing Notre Dame. He explains the moment he realized he wanted to be Irish, and what's in store ahead for both him and Notre Dame's defense under the helm of Brian VanGorder.

Question:A year ago today, did you ever envision yourself headed to Notre Dame to play football?

Tranquill: "It's unreal. Man, I remember watching on television as a kid players make their announcements and thinking how awesome those guys must be. It's crazy that I am going to be attending the University of Notre Dame to play football. The process has flown by. I'm getting ready to start a new chapter in my life."

Question:As a baseball player primarily in your youth, when did you really start to dial in on football?

Tranquill: "When I moved to Indiana, my two favorite schools from the beginning were Purdue and Notre Dame. Before the move, I didn't know much about football in Indiana. I knew it was a basketball state. Growing up in the South, I was all about baseball and the SEC, especially Auburn football. That's where my parents went.

This (football) all started about a year ago. I was all baseball at that point, but then I got teamed up with Mike Ledo of AWP Sports, and that's when things changed. It was at a combine about this time last year where I started to get noticed by the media. Before then, I was behind the eight ball a little."

(That combine was Best of the Midwest held in Indianapolis, Indiana. Tranquill turned heads with his speed, athleticism and coverage ability. In fact, he ended the day as my MVP, even though he was virtually unknown at the time.)

Question:What were the main factors you were weighing in your mind as you mulled Notre Dame vs. Purdue for much of your senior season?

Tranquill: "I knew I wanted to got to Notre Dame before I actually let on about it. I knew in my heart Notre Dame was an amazing opportunity as soon as they offered. After the USC game, it started with the locker room experience. I was able to talk with Cam McDaniel about life and just the things holding me back from switching to Notre Dame. I would be closer to my friends and family at Purdue, and I was uneasy about the decommitment aspect of it all. Cam told me Notre Dame is forever. He said Notre Dame will help you for the rest of your life. And, he told me to go with my gut.

I also talked with Jaylon [Smith] and the linebackers more that day. They said that there's no place like Notre Dame. And, you don't truly realize that until you're a part of it.

I was leaving the locker room with my family. My dad, brother and girlfriend were walking ahead of me, and I was walking behind with my mom on the long trek back to the car. I told her, ‘Mom, this is the place where I want to be.'

She was hesitant at first because you know, she's a mom, and she didn't want her son getting criticized for a decommitment. She didn't want people bashing me. But, my parents have been an amazing support system, and they've had my back through everything."

Question: You're up 10 pounds since the end of the season, now standing 220. Has Brian VanGorder given you any specifics as to how he envisions you impacting the roster, position-wise?

Tranquill: "No not really. He wants to see me grow naturally, which is nice. I want to maintain my speed and ability to move laterally. I think I'll fit into the VanGorder's scheme a little better than Diaco's. It's going to be more of a 4-3 defense, and if I play linebacker, it will outside linebacker and not middle linebacker, which sits better with me. I won't be a rusher off the edge like Prince Shembo. I would play more in space, so I wouldn't have to get as a big as most linebackers. VanGorder seems me as a hybrid guy right now, between outside linebacker and a big, strong safety.

And, VanGorder was explaining to me that it's not just a basic 4-3 defense. It's going to be nothing any college player would ever expect because it's going to be so complicated. We are going to be such a versatile defense."


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