Junior linebacker Matthew Bauer committed to Notre Dame back in August and hasn’t wavered, despite a 4-8 season and wholesale changes to the coaching staff.
His familiarity with new defensive coordinator Mike Elko and linebackers coach Clark Lea doesn’t hurt.
“I met coach Lea when he was at Wake Forest and thought he was a great guy then and he’s still a great guy,” said Bauer, a 6-foot-3, 215-pounder from Erie, Pa. “Coach Elko, I just like them both. They’re good guys.”
Elko and Lea dropped by Cathedral Prep on Friday to check on Bauer, one of their top recruiting targets during their days at Wake Forest.
“They didn't recruit me too hard because they knew I probably wouldn’t be going there,” Bauer said. “They reached out to me and we were down there so we ended up stopping by to see it.”
Bauer is excited by the new additions to the Irish coaching staff and eager to work with them this summer at camp.
“They said they're really excited to have me along and they seem like they're ready to go,” he said. “I'm excited to be with them. They seem really motivated right now to build a great program.”
While the off-season changes and losing record helped cost the Irish a few commitments, Bauer was never close to falling away from the haul.
“Coach (Mike) Elston gave me a few calls to make sure I was still totally committed,” he said. “Of course, I am.”
As a junior, Bauer led the Ramblers to a perfect 14-0 record and the 4A state championship.
He led the team with 106 tackles and 10 sacks.
Bauer is spending the winter preparing for his spring baseball season, then he’ll turn his attention to earning an invitation to The Opening Finals in Oregon. He also hopes to catch an Irish football camp this summer.
First, he’ll attend Notre Dame’s junior day on Feb. 11 to reconnect with some of his future teammates.
“We've got a group messenger so I see them every day in there,” Bauer said. “I just talk to them every once in a while to see what's up with them. Everybody says they're committed to a school, not a person so everybody is still committed. They sound like they're ready to go. It's good to see.”