USAAAB: Fertitta craves competition

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Notre Dame three-star safety commit Nicco Fertitta talks about his experience thus far in San Antonio as an All-American and offers up his thoughts on a particular five-star Notre Dame tight end target.

For Notre Dame safety commit Nicco Fertitta, elite competition is the standard. And, the standard is something he embraces.

"I think I match up pound for pound with these guys," he added. "It's fun being out here meeting all of these guys and getting to them because any of us could be in the NFL, and we could look back on this experience and remember playing with each other."

A four-time state champion, Fertitta has faced some of the best competition in talent-laden California during his high school tenure, and this week has presented déjà vu on the practice field in San Antonio.

"I didn't come in this week nervous at all," Fertitta said. "I came in confident that I was going to do well in practice and do my daily thing like I do at Gorman. I think it helps a lot playing a national schedule, and I've actually played against a lot of these guys before so it carries over."

The three-star Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman product is dialing in on one particular aspect of his game that he hopes to put on display on Saturday.

"My man coverage for sure," Fertitta said. "People haven't seen that from me. We're running pretty much all man, so it should be fun."

Feritta has practiced this week with a cast on his left hand after suffering a break last month, but it hasn't slowed him down on the field.

"I broke it in the semi-final game in the playoffs right before the half ended," Fertitta said. "I have four screws in it, and that was about four weeks ago, so I should be getting my cast off soon after this game. It hasn't affected me at all. I have played with a cast before. I played with it my freshman and sophomore years, so it's nothing really new. I'm the same player that I was, I still make tackles and catch the ball, which people don't think I can do."

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound defensive back has a reputation of being a hard-hitter that proceeds him, but the knock on Fertitta's game has been his size, or lack thereof. But, don't expect that to affect his mental approach to the game.

"I'm definitely undersized for my position, but I don't think about it," Fertitta said. "When there's a difference between me as 5-foot-9, 5-foot-10, whatever I am, and a 6-foot-4 wide receiver, then he better have a quarterback that can throw it inches above my head every single time."

Feritta is teammates with five-star tight end Alize' Jones, who plans to announce his college decision between UCLA and Notre Dame this month.

"Wherever he ends up will be the best for him," Fertitta said. "We're like best friends, so I don't want to push that border. These guys here though, they all crack jokes with him about it."

With four fellow Irish commits on hand in San Antonio this week, Fertitta says the group of five has spent much of their time off the field together.

"It's a brotherhood already," Fertitta said. "You would think that we have known each other for four years already. Not even just with the five us, but it's with the entire class. We have a big (phone) group message, and it's the same exact thing with everybody."

Following community service on Wednesday, the players were able to take in the ending of the Music City Bowl.

"I saw the fourth quarter," Fertitta said. "I was just like, 'please don't turn over the ball.' All of the Notre Dame commits were watching it together, and we were all screaming when we saw the field goal. And, I got to get in the ear a little bit of some of the LSU commits. It's been great."

Fertitta is a three-star prospect and is ranked as the No. 62 safety in the class of 2015.


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