Matthew Bauer finds fit at Notre Dame

Junior linebacker Matthew Bauer landed an offer from Notre Dame during a visit on Wednesday. He quickly joined the commitment list for 2018. Bauer’s prep coach sees a future middle linebacker.

Junior linebacker Matthew Bauer first impressed at the Irish Invasion.

On Wednesday the 6-foot-3, 216-pound, four-star linebacker from Cathedral Prep High School in Erie, Pa., returned to South Bend to get another look. That’s when Bauer landed an offer from Notre Dame and quickly became the sixth commitment in the Class of 2018. Scout ranks Bauer as the nation’s No. 171 overall prospect in that class.

"Place like Notre Dame, how can you let an opportunity like that slip through you fingers? It was the complete package for me," Bauer told Irish Illustrated

Bauer, already a two-year starter at Prep, recorded 33 tackles and two sacks as a freshman then moved to middle linebacker as a sophomore. He posted 104 tackles, including 11 for a loss, and 3 ½ sacks last fall.

“In the history of our program we've only had six kids come up and play and start as a freshman,” said Cathedral Prep head coach Mike Mischler. “He was one of them.”

Mischler had no choice but to play Bauer on the varsity as a freshman.

“He's just a real physical player,” Mischler said. “He's got a lot of speed and explosiveness in him. He's got a good head on his shoulders. He's a smart kid. You can trust him. He probably played at about 195 pounds as a freshman. He was somebody we thought was a very special player. He broke in the lineup and beat out some pretty good players who were older than him.”

Bauer was even more productive as a sophomore in the middle of the Prep defense.

“We were able to move him around a little bit,” Mischler said. “I think with the experience and the speed of the game, he got used to it. He's a very sudden player. When he sees stuff he can get to it. He got a lot stronger last year and fought off some blocks he wasn't able to as a freshman. I think everything just came together for him. He was in a position on the field where we thought he could be the most productive and he did that for us.”

Virginia offered Bauer after his freshman season. Michigan State, Penn State and a dozen other schools followed suit.

Notre Dame likes Bauer’s potential. Linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator Mike Elston got an up-close look at that during Irish Invasion.

“They want him at middle,” Mischler said. “If you see him, you can put another 25 pounds on him. He's not going to lose much of anything as far as the speed and agility is concerned. He's probably a high school outside guy that is playing middle but he can play the middle in college pretty much at any school.”

Bauer also has the potential to be a first round draft pick in the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft.

“Our baseball coach here thinks he's a possible first round draft pick for baseball but I think right now his love is in football,” Mischler said.

Cathedral Prep also produced current Notre Dame walk-on kicker John Chereson.

Bauer joins quarterback Phil Jurkovec, running back Markese Stepp, linebacker Ovie Oghoufo, defensive tackle Jayson Ademilola and defensive end/linebacker Justin Ademilola in Notre Dame’s Class of 2018. This is the earliest the Irish have hit a half-dozen commitment in the junior class in the Scout era.

Jurkovec, Stepp, Oghoufo and Jayson Ademilola are all members of the Scout 300 along with Bauer. Only Jurkovec rates higher than Bauer from within that group.

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