The revamped Irish coaching staff has made several changes in the way they recruit.
This offseason, the Irish have been identifying the nation’s top sophomores and putting offers on the table at a higher rate than ever. The Irish raised their 2019 offer count to an estimated 40 on Tuesday when they offered Katy (Texas) Mayde Creek defensive end Marcus Stripling.
Stripling is a physically imposing 15-year-old. At 6-foot-4, 252-pounds, he looks more like a college sophomore at first glance. Last season he posted 80 tackles, 18 sacks and four fumble recoveries.
After receiving his Irish offer, the New Orleans native spoke with Irish Illustrated.
“I’m just very excited,” Stripling said. “I never thought that I would get an offer from a big-time school like Notre Dame. They have a really good football program and really good education, like world-class education. It’s a nice place to play football.”
Being only a sophomore, the Irish coaching staff hasn’t been able to contact the Texas Division 6A star directly. Stripling explained how the offer came about.
“It was a phone call and I went to the office and Notre Dame’s coach was on the phone and he was talking to my coach,” Stripling said. “He said he liked the way I play and then he offered me. It was their defensive line coach.”
The Stripling family already has plans to visit South Bend in the coming months.
“I’ll probably get down there this summer,” Stripling said. “We’re taking a tour and I’ll most likely visit ND. We’re going to visit most of my offers and more. I’m making the trip with my family and some of my teammates.”
The family relocated to Texas after Hurricane Katrina hit their area in New Orleans. Stripling started his football career in Louisiana as a running back.
“I played running back and defensive end, both sides of the ball,” Stripling said. “Running back was my main position for a while. I still play running back a little bit.”
Depending on how Stripling develops, he could end up lining up at a different position at the college level.
“I could play (defensive end), or I could play linebacker or anywhere on the defensive line,” Stripling said. “Right now, they move me around, but I’m the strong side defensive end.”
In the last month, Stripling has received offers from Florida, Alabama, Baylor, Houston, LSU and now, Notre Dame. His emergence on the national recruiting scene is a big deal at Mayde Creek High School
“We only won one game last year,” Stripling said. “Not a lot of kids go Division 1 from my school. I’m kind of the first one to get all these big offers. I’m starting a new trend, this is a new wave. I’m going to bring everyone with me, pull everyone through the hole.
“UCLA came in to see me (Tuesday). OU came to see me, Colorado, Texas, Texas A&M came through, a lot of schools came through.”
Notre Dame will get a long look from Stripling and his family.
“Yes sir, definitely,” Stripling said. “I definitely see Notre Dame as a school I would be interested in going to. It’s more than just football. They have a really great education program. I need to get my education before anything else I do. I’d like to go to a school like that.”
College football isn’t something new to the Stripling family. It’s business as usual.
“My dad and my uncle played football at the University of Grambling,” Stripling said. “My whole family played football at Grambling.”
Unlike many high school football recruits from the Lone Star State, going to a school in the Midwest is a definite possibility for Stripling.
“Whichever school I feel is the best for me, that’s the school, whether it’s in Texas or not,” Stripling said. “I’m just kind of laying low and taking in all the offers and then I’ll make a decision before my senior season.”