Irish, Wolverine commits excited by rivalry renewal

Notre Dame and Michigan commitments and targets offer their reactions to one of college football’s most storied rivalries coming back online.

Athletic directors, higher-ups, coaches, media and fans have taken turns reacting to Thursday’s news that Notre Dame and Michigan will resurrect their football series in two years.

But Irish Illustrated wanted to hear from those that will directly control the outcome, the players that will don the blue and gold (or maize and blue) in 2018 and 2019.

Commitments and targets from both sides weigh in on what the rivalry renewal means to them.

“I’m extremely excited by the series being renewed. It’s a rivalry that is right up there with the best in sports. I know that I’m eager to play in the series and any ND commits and targets have to feel the same way.” – 2018 Notre Dame quarterback commit Phil Jurkovec

“It’s an amazing opportunity for the players to have the chance to play in one of the most storied rivalries in college football. It’s a unique experience for me having my grandfather, Thom Gatewood, who is a Notre Dame alum and college football Hall of Famer, because I’ll be on the opposing side! I’m excited for the renewal of two of arguably the most established college football teams going to head-to-head. It will always be a great game.” – Michigan running back commit A.J. Dillon (held Notre Dame offer)

“Very excited. Being out here in Michigan always hearing about that growing up, it’s one of the biggest games you hear about. The games were not going on anymore, and it was one of the things you wish would come back. Now that I’m going to be (at Michigan), it’s gotten me even more excited. I feel like they’re the two most prestigious schools in the area with the biggest fan bases. “ – Michigan defensive line commit Phil Paea (held Notre Dame offer)

“I think it’s great. It brings back a rivalry that has been lost for a few years. The game will bring back more legendary moments for both schools.” – 2018 Notre Dame running back commit Markese Stepp (held Michigan offer)

"Yeah I saw that and right when I saw it, I felt like it sent a message to me and to everyone that Michigan isn't messing around anymore. They are not backing down from anyone. This thing is turning around." - Michigan offensive line commit Joel Honigford

“It’s going to be fun. We have the No. 3 class in the country and will continue to rise. We don’t have the guys that will back down from a challenge. A win in this game will put us that much closer to a title. The harder the schedule, the louder the statement.” – Michigan defensive line commit Corey Malone-Hatcher (held Notre Dame offer)

“I’m super excited for that series to get started back up. I think the games will be crazy live!” – Notre Dame quarterback commit Avery Davis

“It’s very exciting because I grew up watching the series as a kid, and now I’ll be able to play in it.” – Michigan defensive line commit Luiji Vilain

“I’m really pumped because I love rivalry games!” – Notre Dame defensive line commit Jonathon MacCollister

“I think it’s awesome. The two winningest programs going head-to-head is going to be unreal and I just really can’t wait to be a part of it.” – Michigan offensive line commit Andrew Stueber

“I don’t like Michigan. I can’t wait.” – Notre Dame wide receiver commit Jordan Pouncey

“One of the best rivalries in the nation is back, and it’s the year I come back home. Also we get to show who the best team in the country is. Go Blue.” – 2018 Michigan offensive line commit Jalil Irvin

“Very excited about it! It’s going to be very competitive, which is what we all want!” – Notre Dame linebacker commit David Adams (held Michigan offer)

“I think it’s real big to get Notre Dame back on the schedule! It’s an old rivalry and great to get it back going. I can’t wait to play in that game.” – Michigan offensive line commit JaRaymond Hall

“It’s a game everyone who watches college football wants to see, and I’m very excited to have opportunity to play in it in the future.” – Michigan safety commit J’Marick Woods
 “I like it a lot, actually. Most likely I’ll be looking forward to that game a lot.” – Notre Dame and Michigan safety target Ambry Thomas

“It’s awesome.” – Notre Dame and Michigan offensive line target Robert Hainsey, who announces a decision on Sunday at The Opening

Brice Marich of the Michigan Insider contributed to this report.

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