Serious communication between Notre Dame and Mick Assaf didn’t begin until late-January, but what developed from there escalated quickly.
Assaf, a wide receiver/defensive back prospect that hails from Atlanta (Ga.) Pace Academy, accepted a preferred walk-on position at Notre Dame and went public with his decision around midnight of National Signing Day.
“It happened very quickly,” Assaf said. “A little more than a week ago, (Notre Dame Director of Player Personnel) Dave Peloquin reached out to me about the possibility of walking on.”
Prior to his contact with the Irish, the 6-foot, 185-pound athlete was torn between accepting a preferred walk-on spot at Vanderbilt and attending MIT, where he had already been accepted on early action.
“As a kid, the first movie I watched was ‘Rudy,’” Assaf said. “The first game I went to was in 2012 for the goal line stand versus Stanford. It was a magical moment, and it just felt like home. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play in this environment. It’s the highest in college football.
“Before I found out Notre Dame was an option, I was probably going to let my decision between MIT and Vanderbilt drag out. I didn’t know what I wanted to do.”
Irish assistant Scott Booker visited Pace Academy earlier this month on a recruiting visit to see four-star junior offensive tackle Anthony Thomas.
“I emailed my film to Notre Dame after that, and Thomas sent them a note about me,” Assaf said. “That’s when I heard from (Peloquin).”
Assaf has a freshman and senior brothers at Notre Dame and estimates he has visited Notre Dame five or six times already.
“I was in contact with Joe Schmidt and Drue Tranquill today,” Assaf said. “Talking to them was very surreal. All my friends are going to UGA, and knowing that Notre Dame is playing them twice within the next few years … I just couldn’t pass this up.”
Helping guide his team to a Georgia 2A State Championship, Assaf recorded 56 tackles, six interceptions and three defensive touchdowns as an all-state selection in 2015.
“I watch a lot of film,” Assaf said. “I know schemes well and understand down and distance. I like being able to read the play before it happens.”
Assaf has been accepted into the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame and plans to major in either Finance or Management.