Football was thus buried in the background until Tranquill excelled at the ‘Best of the Midwest' combine in his junior year at Carroll High School (Fort Wayne, Indiana.) Before that, people from college football's heartland were skeptical of his chances.
"I had gone to a few SEC football camps and people had said ‘Not many white boy's your size make it in college football'," Tranquill said. "But I kept working hard with my coaches and after that combine I started to get more attention."
Tranquill continued to improve during the rest of his prep career and eventually committed to Purdue. However, after a visit to Notre Dame he started to waiver and eventually switched to the Irish. His choice to de-commit was a tough one and it was not without consequences. Just as LeBron James was eviscerated by fans when he made ‘The Decision,' Tranquill discovered that high school athletes aren't exempt from the wrath of keyboard warriors either.
"After I chose Notre Dame I got some hate mail on Twitter from Purdue fans but that is the way it is in sports today," Tranquill said. "It was a really difficult decision to decommit from Purdue because that is not the kind of character kid I am. I really respect the coaches at Purdue and it was hard to tell them I was leaving."
Tranquill's recruitment may have been a tumultuous process but he's now fully focused on the future, and his off-season program has helped him bulk up to nearly 230 pounds.
"I think I will be involved on almost every special teams play," Tranquill said. "The coaches see me playing at the Sam linebacker spot. I am not nervous about coming in and playing because it is a dream come true for me."
A perk of being at Notre Dame is getting the opportunity to play in some of the greatest sporting cauldrons in the country, a fact that is not lost on Tranquill.
"The Purdue game is at Lucas Oil Stadium so playing in an NFL stadium will be really cool," Tranquill said. "My family is coming in for that game so that will be special. I'm just looking forward to getting to Notre Dame and taking the next step in my life."
Drue isn't the only Tranquill to attract the attention of college football's biggest programs. His younger brother Justin has also garnered his fair share of suitors. The brothers played together in high school as well as making up half of the track team's 400 meter ever relay squad. Tranquill says it would be a dream to reunite with Justin at the collegiate level but doesn't want to influence his brother's decision.
"Obviously it would be great to play with my brother in college," Tranquill said. "But I want him to do what is best for him. I don't want to dictate where he plays."
Some players might choose hobbies where they can relax and enjoy a change of pace from the punishing grind of football. But Tranquill is the opposite. Even when he isn't playing football he still likes to test his body. He is Tranquill by name if not by nature.
"When I am not playing I like to get outdoors as much as possible," Tranquill said. "I like extreme sports like rock climbing, although I won't get to do as much of that with the weather up there."