Kraemer all in with Irish

Tommy Kraemer’s commitment hasn’t been affected by coaching changes. He says it won’t be, either.

When Tommy Kraemer committed to Notre Dame in October he did so with his education and football career in mind.

That’s why the recent changes to the Irish coaching staff haven’t affected the 6-foot-5, 305-pounder from Elder High School in Cincinnati. Assistants Tony Alford and Kerry Cooks left the Irish to join the staffs at Ohio State and Oklahoma, respectively. Matt LaFleur returned to the NFL after just one season in South Bend.

“To be completely honest, I talked to coach Alford twice and that was really quick on one of my visits and I’ve never seen coach Cooks I don’t think,” Kraemer said. “That doesn’t affect me at all. I love Notre Dame. I love the school. It doesn’t affect me at all.”

Kraemer’s commitment is so strong that he’s doing his best to help bolster Notre Dame’s recruiting efforts.

Last Wednesday, while the Notre Dame coaching staff was busy collecting signed National Letters of Intent from the prospects in their 2015 class, head coach Brian Kelly and assistant coaches Harry Hiestand and Mike Elston all talked with Kraemer to let the Midwest’s top lineman know just how important he was in their future. They also encouraged him to share his reasons for picking Notre Dame with some of their other top prospects.

“They gave me a couple of names of guys to get and explained how important I am to this class and how we can really build off of me to build a national championship winning class,” Kraemer said. “That was really cool to talk to the head man on National Signing Day when I’m sure he’s busy with a million other things.”

Kraemer already had developed a strong bond with two of the prospects the Irish identified. He talks frequently with Ohio lineman Liam Eichenberg and Wisconsin lineman Ben Bredeson. The Irish also named Austin Mack as one of their top targets for 2016.

“I’ve gotten to know them really well,” Kraemer said of Eichenberg and Bredeson. “I talk to Liam a lot. It sounds like he’s between Ohio State and Notre Dame. I’m trying to talk to him to come to the good side. Ben is the same way with Wisconsin. He has strong ties there but I think he really likes coach Hiestand and hopefully I can get him with me as well.”

Hiestand has encouraged the trio of linemen to visit South Bend together this spring.

“I’ve been talking to coach Hiestand a lot trying to set up a date,” Kraemer said. “He’s trying to get myself, Liam Eichenberg and Ben Bredeson all up together for a visit on a Friday and Saturday sometime during spring ball.”

Kraemer, who plans to attend the Nike Camp in Columbus on May 31, hopes to make several trips to South Bend this spring. He also has targeted the Irish’s spring game in Indianapolis.

“I heard they were deciding between Indianapolis and Chicago,” he said. “Indianapolis is very close. That will be nice.”

For now, Kraemer will continue to focus on his high school basketball season. The Panthers are off to an 18-2 start and are heading into the post-season on a high note.

Kraemer averages just 1.4 points and 1.5 rebounds per game but he’s comfortable with his role.

“I go in for a couple minutes, set some good screens, knock some people around to get our good people open,” he said. “I’m just a role player and I love what I do.”

He also loves the physical benefits to his physical conditioning.

“It’s great,” he said. “There’s a lot of lateral movement for me. It keeps my feet moving and keeps me in shape from football on to spring workouts.”


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