Four-star junior linebacker Matthew Bauer landed a scholarship offer from Notre Dame on Wednesday and immediately committed to the Irish.
That commitment could have happened earlier this summer after the 6-foot-3, 216-pounder from Erie, Pa., worked out at Notre Dame’s camp in June. At the time, Bauer was considering playing both football and baseball in college.
“I was just keeping that option open,” Bauer said. “It wasn't a 100-percent thing for me but I wanted to keep it open. They didn't rush me at all to try to make that decision but it really opened my eyes. When I went to play baseball this summer I realized it wasn't something I wanted to do so I thought it was time to make my decision now.”
Bauer’s decision to stick to football in college led to the offer from Notre Dame and the quick commitment.
“A place like Notre Dame, how can you let an opportunity like that slip through your fingers,” Bauer said. “There's no better place in the country for me and I believe nowhere in the country is better than Notre Dame. It was the complete package for me.”
Irish assistant coaches Mike Elston and Brian VanGorder made it clear to Bauer just how well he fit into their defensive plans.
“They want me to play middle linebacker,” Bauer said. “They sound pretty excited about it and I feel the same too. I feel like I’m going to have to become obsessed with the game of football because coach VanGorder and coach Elston and all the coaches are hard workers and I have a lot to learn. God-willing I'll learn it and hopefully one day be a captain for them.”
Bauer committed to head coach Brian Kelly.
“I told him right there I wanted to commit to them,” Bauer said. “His face lit up and he welcomed me right into the family. He's a fantastic individual and he was just excited as me when it happened. I feel like it's a great fit there.”
Notre Dame now has two Pennsylvania products in its recruiting Class of 2018 to go along with the three currently committed in the Class of 2017. All held offers from Penn State.
Bauer hopes to get to know those prospects and help them to recruit on Notre Dame’s behalf.
“I know Phil (Jurkovec) pretty well and I ran into Josh Lugg one time but I haven’t met anybody else yet but I'm excited to,” he said. “I'm going to start helping Phil and the other recruits and then get back up there for the Michigan State game and see them play for the first time. It's going to be great.”