LAKE FOREST, Ill. - Kalon Gervin is always listening.
Haters, doubters, critics, whatever you want to call them. Gervin, a four-star cornerback from Detroit, knows they exist. And he set out at The Opening regional last weekend to prove them wrong yet again.
Gervin, who’s been committed to Notre Dame since February, wanted to make a simple point at the regional camp.
“That I’m one of the top players in the country,” he said. “You know what I’m saying? I feel like I prove that everywhere I go. People still say what they’ve got to say or think what they want to think but I think I’m one of the best players in the country. (Sunday) I proved it.”
Validation arrived after the workout ended.
Gervin scored an invitation to The Opening Finals, scheduled for later this summer. He’ll be one of 166 total prospects to descend on the NIKE campus in Beaverton, Ore., for a few days of competition.
Among the things that set Gervin apart, he ran a 4.41-second 40-yard dash.
“I feel like I performed at my highest level,” Gervin said. “I could’ve did better. There’s always room for improvement. But I feel like I did great.”
When Gervin arrives in Beaverton, he’ll be seeing some familiar faces.
Four-star linebacker Ovie Oghoufo, another Irish pledge, also punched his ticket to the Finals at the Chicagoland camp. Four-star safety commitment Derrik Allen did so last month outside Atlanta. Others are likely to follow.
Gervin joined them as commitments Feb. 13. He’d held a Notre Dame offer for less than a week and was only a day removed from visiting for Junior Day. Oghoufo, a Detroit area native himself, helped spur along the process.
“Opportunity, education,” Gervin said. “I had knew it before I went down there. Then the thought kinda came into my head like, ‘You know, I’m thinking about committing.’ That was just a thought at that time. But when I got there I told my mom and I was kinda thinking about it. She was like, ‘OK.’ I was like, ‘Alright, let’s do it.’”
Notre Dame won out for the 5-foot-11, 179-pound prospect over several other scholarship offers. Most notably, Gervin held offers from in-state powers Michigan and Michigan State. Both have had consistent success pulling players out of Cass Tech High School.
But Gervin chose a different path. He still hears it from people around Cass Tech and elsewhere about picking the Irish.
“I don’t really listen,” Gervin said. “I’m just like, ‘Alright.’ You’ve gotta do your own thing. That’s really important man. That’s what I’m always telling the young dudes. Do what’s best for you. Don’t listen to no outsiders. Think about yourself. Self first.”
Gervin is already looking toward the future with Notre Dame, including this coming season as it looks to rebound from a 4-8 campaign.
“They’re gonna win,” Gervin said. “That’s really important. They’ve gotta win. But I believe they’re gonna win. They’re working harder. Coach (Kelly) has been telling me they’re working harder. Everything’s smooth.”