Four-star linebacker Matthew Bauer committed to Notre Dame in August.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder from Erie, Pa., returned to South Bend on Saturday for Junior Day ready to reconnect with the coaching staff and to meet the new coaches. He also was armed with several questions for new strength and conditioning coach Matt Balis.
“It went really good. It was a great day,” Bauer said. “We got to meet the new coaching staff and got to see coach Balis and his whole strength and conditioning program. I got to sit down with him and I asked him a bunch of questions on how I could start preparing myself and how to do different lifts and stuff like that. I had a bunch of questions so I wrote down a lot of stuff.”
Bauer was impressed with Balis’ personality and demeanor and he’s looking forward to working with him in the future.
“He really gets into it which I really like,” Bauer said. “Having to get up at six in the morning and go somewhere where the person training you isn't into it is bad, so he gets really into it. He's going to be able to motivate everybody. All the players I talked to so far have said he really improved them physically so far and it's been a big jump since last year.”
Bauer also spent time speaking with head coach Brian Kelly and several members of the defensive coaching staff including linebackers coach Clark Lea.
“He was telling me how I was going to play,” Bauer said. “He said he focuses on movement efficiency. They play a 4-2, so there's just two linebackers and they have like a rover. They didn't say directly they're going to lock me into one place but I have a possibility to fit the program nicely.”
Saturday’s visit was the first chance Bauer had to meet future teammates Jayson and Justin Ademilola and he was happy to see Phil Jurkovec and Ovie Oghoufo again.
“I knew Phil and Ovie so it was nice to see them again.” he said. “I got to meet up with coach (Mike) Elston again. It was nice for everyone to come back and reunite.”
Bauer said he may return to South Bend again this summer for Irish Invasion.
He’ll have plenty of time to prepare for that camp as he decided to sit out the baseball season to work on his strength and conditioning.
“I decided not to play baseball to get ready for football,” he said. “I was going to play both in college but then I decided not to and go to Notre Dame.”
Scout.com ranks Bauer as the 175th best prospect and 16th best outside linebacker in the nation.