Jack Lamb has emerged as one of the top linebackers in the country.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound outside linebacker has racked up 29 offers, including Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, TCU, UCLA, Utah and Washington.
Although the Irish joined that list a little later than most of his top schools, that didn’t dull Lamb’s interest in Notre Dame. Still, the Irish aren’t alone in chasing The Opening finalist from Great Oak High School in Temecula, Calif.
“One school that is pushing particularly hard is UCLA,” Lamb said. “I talk a lot with the linebackers coach there, Scott White. We’ve built a pretty good relationship over the last couple of weeks. They’re pushing particularly hard.”
During his spring break, Lamb and his father went on a nationwide campus tour, including Stanford, Cal, Oregon, Washington and Penn State.
Since the trip those schools have put their foot on the gas with the four-star backer.
“I’ve talked to coaches from a lot of schools,” Lamb said. “Especially schools I’ve visited because when you visit these schools, they really want to push hard to get you because they know they can get you if you show interest in them too. So, by taking these visits, the interest level of the schools really piqued.
“It’s a big commitment to go out to some of these schools, especially Penn State. It’s a six-hour flight and three-hour drive to get out there. So, they really appreciate that and then they recruit you harder. Oregon and Washington, they weren’t as far away but they appreciate the effort and recruit you even harder.”
During the third week of June, Lamb and his father will head to South Bend to meet the Irish coaching staff and tour the campus.
Lamb expects the visit to go well, just like the others.
“With Notre Dame, I feel the same thing is going to happen,” Lamb said. “They’re going to push me even harder and there’s a reason for that. I’m going out there to spend time with the coaches in person, face-to-face. It’s really important in this recruiting process I think, knowing the coaches and knowing about what they want to do with you and how they want to use you in their scheme and what their expectations are. I think it’s really good for them to see you.”
Lamb is an elite student who holds an offer from Princeton and is set to graduate early.
The academic prowess of Notre Dame sets it apart from many schools on his list.
“I feel like it’s just a great fit of academics and athletics so you don’t have to compromise,” Lamb said. “You have some schools where they have a really strong football program but maybe not the best academics, so if football doesn’t take you to the NFL, you may not have the best degree that will get you the job that will fit your full potential. A degree from Notre Dame, with what they have academically, is going to push me to get a great job after football.”
With programs coming harder and harder after Lamb, the linebacker hopes cutting down his list will better focus his recruitment. That’s why he’ll likely name a Top 5 in the coming days.
“I’m thinking about narrowing it down to about 5 schools over the next week and Notre Dame is definitely going to be in there,” Lamb said.
Prior to their spring visit trip, father Dan Lamb had hoped his son would gain a clear idea which college fit best.
It appears the reverse nearly happened.
“I was really hoping that on the trip, one school would just stand out, that Jack would walk on the field or walk on the campus and go, ‘this is it,’” Lamb said. “That happened, but it happened, like, four times.
“So, I think we were both pleasantly surprised that really what good coaches, good people that we met. I don’t think we were expecting to see these genuinely real, sincere people that cared about Jack and knew so much about him before he even got there. They were so welcoming. It was a pretty incredible trip, but they were all like that.
“We heard a lot about Oregon’s facilities and they certainly have amazing facilities but frankly, so does Penn State and so does UCLA and Washington’s facilities were phenomenal. There was just so much good stuff that we saw that it really gave Jack a lot to think about.”
Cutting to a Top 5 should give the four-star athlete less to ponder, at least in theory.
“Honestly, it’s just a dream come true,” Dan Lamb said. “Jack’s dream from the time he started playing football was one day play in the NFL but to play at the college level has been his dream. To sit here and watch his dreams coming true as a parent, it’s one thing if you do something well but it’s a whole other level when you watch your kid pass you up and are more successful than you could ever dream. To see their success, it’s just been a surreal experience and I’m super proud of him and he’s worked super hard to get where he’s at. He’s earned it.”