Sophomore defensive end Malik Vann hopes to play linebacker in college but he’s open to other ideas after landing a scholarship offer from Notre Dame during his Blue-Gold Game visit on Saturday.
The Irish offered the 6-foot-2, 240-pounder as a hybrid defensive end, a role similar to the one being filled by current Irish player Jay Hayes.
“They said they liked what I did in the classroom and they like what I do on the field,” Vann said. “They know I want to play linebacker but they feel like I could play defensive end. I saw Jay Hayes. He had his hand on the ground and he got to stand up a little bit and rush the passer and cover a receiver a little bit. If I can fill that role I'll be fine.”
Vann met with head coach Brian Kelly for a few moments before Notre Dame’s spring game. That’s when Kelly made the offer.
That put the Irish in Vann’s early top three with a lot of time to make up ground on Michigan State, Vann’s early leader.
“Michigan State would still be my leader but I would say that it's up there with Kentucky, which would be my second,” Vann said. “I'm probably looking at (committing) going into my senior season because I want to go experience a visit everywhere because I want to see what every place has to offer.”
He plans to return to South Bend to get a closer look at what Notre Dame can offer its student athletes.
“I didn't get to do like a full tour like I wanted to do but the campus is beautiful,” he said. “I loved the stadium and meeting some of the players and seeing the alums and the diehard fans coming out to support them.”
Vann spoke with defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, recruiting coordinator Mike Elston and a few others.
“I got to meet some of the coaches like coach Elston and coach Kelly. That was really huge. I like coach Elston a lot,” he said. “I talked to (VanGorder) and the D-line coach. They liked my size and length and ability. They just wanted to see what I look like going into my senior year. “
Cincinnati, Louisville, Maryland, Pittsburgh and West Virginia are among Vann’s other offers.