Photography: Inside the Auburn Tigers/

Irish offer shocks Alabama athlete

Andres Fox had already picked a side in his home state. Growing up in Alabama, it’s impossible to avoid it. Yet when Notre Dame offered the 6-foot-5, 230-pound rush end on Wednesday it got Fox looking beyond state lines.

Andres Fox admittedly doesn’t know much about Notre Dame.

There’s good reason for that considering the 6-foot-5, 230-pound athlete from the Mobile Christian School grew up in Alabama, where exposure to Notre Dame has been basically limited to the BCS National Championship Game four years ago. The last time the Irish signed a player out of Alabama, Nick Saban was one month removed from winning the first national title … at LSU.

So when defensive line coach Mike Elston reached out to Fox on Wednesday to offer a scholarship, the Irish recruiting coordinator probably figured the Irish faced an uphill climb. Still, Fox said Notre Dame’s move has him looking to at least give the program an honest look.

“I didn’t see it coming,” Fox said. “I talked to the defensive line coach on the phone and he wanted to get me to campus. I know they have an elite academic program, that’s about it.”

Fox said he wants to study engineering in college.

With offers already in from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, USC and LSU, Fox will have his pick of programs when it comes time to decide. Born in Georgia, Fox has already seen the in-state schools, plus Georgia and Florida State. Next on his visit list is a return to Auburn and a look at Florida.

Fox said he grew up pulling for Alabama and that “you have to pick a side” in the state when it comes to the Iron Bowl rivalry.

It’s easy to understand why the Irish moved on Fox as they scour the country for pass rush help. Notre Dame offered defensive linemen from Florida, Utah, Missouri and Oklahoma this week. Offers were already out to pass rushers from Texas, North Carolina, California, Ohio and Nevada.

Fox fits the apparent prototype defensive coordinator Mike Elko wants better than most considering his build.

“Quickness off the edge and using my length are the best parts of my game,” Fox said. “Depth charts don’t matter. I’m looking for a great relationship with my coach. Academics are first.”

As for seeing South Bend, Fox said he might get here before next season. While there’s no date set considering he picked up the offer less than 24 hours ago, there’s interest to see what the Irish are all about. That goes for programs beyond Alabama and Auburn, even if the draw of staying home would be understandably strong.

“I’m open,” Fox said. “I’m looking to explore.” Top Stories