Game days in South Bend are nothing new for the junior quarterback from Algonquin, Ill. He’s been making those trips since childhood with a family full of Irish supporters. But this time around they came to town as expected guests of the program.
Katrenick camped with Notre Dame in June at the Irish Invasion. He’s been on the recruiting radar ever since. Needless to say, his view of the game improved as a result.
“It was an awesome time and it was an awesome game,” Katrenick said. “It was a great visit. They had everything put together extremely well. I got to talk to coach (Mike) Sanford a little bit, especially after the game in the locker room. That was pretty cool, just that whole experience being in the locker room after a game like that. I had great seats. I got to talk to coach (Mike) Denbrock too.”
Katrenick and family arrived a couple hours before kickoff, in time to tour the football facilities. They moved from there to the sidelines at Notre Dame Stadium to watch warmups.
“Notre Dame always has a great atmosphere,” Katrenick said. “Being on the field, it was pretty crazy. There was so much going on on the sidelines. I got lucky enough to see the Blackhawks walk across too, so that was pretty cool. Then watching the quarterbacks, I like to do that before the game. Seeing Brandon Wimbush out there and DeShone Kizer, it looked like they were having a fun time. Just from the start, even in warmups, it was a great atmosphere.”
Katrenick kept his eye on Kizer throughout the game.
Kizer guided Notre Dame to a 30-22 win in his first start by going 21-of-30 passing with one touchdown and one interception.
“I thought he did very well,” Katrenick said. “Being a backup and coming in like that. he did everything they asked him to do. I think the playbook was probably set up for him to succeed and he executed all that. I’m sure that he’ll get better and better as the season goes on but he looked super comfortable out there. It helps having a defense like Notre Dame, how well they played. That’s always a good thing too as a quarterback.”
Katrenick touched base during the visit with offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford, who revealed a little bit about how the Irish will approach recruiting quarterbacks beyond senior commitment Ian Book.
“We talked a little bit about my season,” Katrenick said. “We didn’t talk too long. He basically told me he was looking at 2017 kids and he’s going to take a longer time on that. He’s in no rush. He said he wants to see how the season goes for me and he wants me to keep everything I’m doing up. I don’t know exactly what’s to come but I’m staying patient with it. Coach Denbrock, we talked about our season and our next games and stuff like that. That was real quick because it was right before the game.”
“It was awesome,” Katrenick said. “I’d never been (to Bloomington) either. I brought my wide receiver. He’s all for Indiana and he loves it down there. That was a fun time. The coaches down there are really excited about me. I thought the game was good and I like the offense down there. That’s definitely a school I’m looking at now.”