Three-star defensive tackle Kurt Hinish hopes to end his recruitment before his senior season.
College coaches aren’t necessarily cooperating.
The 6-foot-3, 285-pounder from Pittsburgh’s Central Catholic High School landed scholarship offers from Notre Dame and North Carolina on Thursday, pushing his growing list to 18.
“I’m going to make my commitment in the summertime because I don’t want to have any distractions with the upcoming season,” Hinish said. “Obviously, I want to make sure we can go back and win another state title. I’m not going to let any of that stuff be in my head while I’m playing during the season. I’m going to focus on it right now before football rolls around and after that it’s just football from there.”
If the offers continue to pour in, and there is no indication they won’t, Hinish might have to adjust his commitment timeline.
He plans to visit Penn State this weekend and Notre Dame on March 19 for Junior Day. He has several other trips on his calendar as well.
“Me and my family are going to sit down and make a schedule and plan out dates for where we’re going to go and see,” Hinish said. “I’m going to Penn State this weekend. I’m going to go visit Baylor and Ole Miss, Florida State and probably North Carolina. I’m going to go visit a bunch of schools. I just haven’t really narrowed it down to how many. I know I’m going to take a lot of visits. I know that. I might go see some schools that haven’t offered or if they offer.”
Hinish learned of his Notre Dame offer through Irish assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Mike Elston.
“We have been talking for a little while now and I called him and we talked for a little while,” Hinish said. “He finally said, ‘We want to offer you a scholarship from Notre Dame.’ I was really excited to get it. I actually told him on the phone, I said, ‘You should see my face. I have the biggest smile on my face.’”
Notre Dame’s offer certainly complicated Hinish’s recruitment.
He had already heard plenty about the Irish from teammates Damar Hamlin and David Adams. Hamlin, who signed with Pittsburgh, was one of Notre Dame’s top cornerback targets last cycle. Adams, a linebacker, was one of Notre Dame’s first offers in the 2017 class.
Now Hinish is looking forward to seeing South Bend for himself.
“It means a lot because it’s a great school with great tradition,” he said. “I’m really impressed with the tradition with everything and it has great academics from what I’ve heard. I really, really like it.”
Penn State and Pittsburgh both have offered Hinish and several other regional programs also have extended offers.
Notre Dame’s offer turned Hinish into a national prospect and he hopes some of the other powerhouse programs follow suit.
“I was on the phone with the Michigan State guy the other day. He’s going to get my tape in front of their head coach and see what he thinks of it,” Hinish said. “I haven’t heard anything from Michigan so far. I really, really want to hear from Ohio State. I want to try and pick up an offer from them. That would really pique my interest. I’m pretty sure I’m going to get some more offers after this Notre Dame one. I think there will be more opportunities.”
While he waits for those opportunities, Hinish plans to learn as much as he can about every school that has offered.
“I honestly don’t have a favorite right now,” he said. “I haven’t really been anywhere to distinguish which one is my favorite or not. I don’t want to say this one is my favorite and then go to another college and say this one is my favorite. I don’t really have one yet.”
Hinish plans to approach the recruiting process like Hamlin and Adams.
“The main thing I learned from them is to stay humble and stay patient,” he said. “Some days David will pick up a huge offer and I won’t know until later because he doesn’t tell anybody. He just doesn’t care. He’s just really humble and Damar also. That’s one thing I really picked up from watching those guys go through the process, to just stay humble and patient.”
Hinish and Adams are close friends and have talked about playing together in college.
“Me and David are best friends. We talk about playing together all the time. We tell each other every day that we want to play with each other in college,” Hinish said. “We’ll find out if we do or not. I don’t think we’ll be upset if I go to a school that’s a right fit for me and I won’t be too upset if he goes to a school that’s a right fit for him. We always joke around that we want to play in college together but we’ll see if it happens.”