Hausmann’s backup, junior Matt Dotson, will attend the Irish Invasion camp on June 19 with the intentions of earning a scholarship offer.
“I’m excited about that,” said Dotson, a 6-foot-5, 230-pounder. “Coach (Mike) Elston came to my school and talked to my coach. He said he wants me to come up and invited me and coach (John) Rodenberg passed the word along to me so I just decided it’s a great way to show what I can do at the camp.”
Playing behind Hausmann, Dotson saw limited varsity action but the Irish had the opportunity to see him during the spring evaluation period and his size and athleticism led to the camp invitation.
“I think it’s because of my size and potential that they see in my JV film. They came to watch me work out and I caught some passes, ran routes and they saw my athletic ability,” Dotson said. “I’m hoping to pick up an offer. I think I have what they’re looking for in a big tight end with speed and hands but I also have the strength to block. I’m hoping to pick up an offer while I’m up there.”
Dotson has another reason to be excited about his opportunity in South Bend.
His grandfather, Steve Niehaus, played defensive tackle for the Irish from 1972-75 and was a first round selection of the Seattle Seahawks in the 1976 NFL Draft. Niehaus finished 12th in the Heisman Voting as a senior.
“I made the trip up there with my grandfather multiple times,” Dotson said. “We went up to games when I was a kid. I loved watching their football games. It was always fun and tailgating was always fun and the fans, just how much they cared about Notre Dame football.”
“I think really in the early stages when I was a freshman all the college coaches came in to look at Hausmann and just stumbled upon me and now I’ve grown out and filled out a little more,” Dotson said. “They came back and checked and I’m now 6-5, 230. I put on about 25 pounds since freshman year.”
Dotson recently ran a 4.79-second time in the 40-yard dash at a Tennessee camp and he is as sure-handed as they come.
This year, Hausmann will again start at tight end but Moeller will find other ways to use Dotson.
“They’re splitting me out this year to wide receiver,” Dotson said. “It will probably be half and half between tight end and wide receiver. During single tight end sets Jake will be tight end and I’ll be wide receiver, so I’ll be more versatile.”
Those schools are among Dotson’s early favorites.
“My top six, just because these are the schools that are talking to me the most are, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Michigan State, Wisconsin and LSU, I’ve been talking to LSU weekly,” Dotson said. “Those are all the schools I’m really talking to heavy right now.”