Defensive end Hunter Spears had a big sophomore year for powerhouse Sachse High School with 57 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and four sacks.
Defensive coordintor Mike Elko visited Sachse during the evaluation period to assess Spears and his teammate, 2018 safety Isaiah Humphries, who also holds an Irish offer.
On Thursday morning, Spears learned he had an offer from Notre Dame.
“I was actually kind of surprised,” Spears said. “(The Irish coaching staff) contacted my coach and told him that they offered me. It’s pretty crazy that it happened so quick but it’s pretty awesome.”
On Wednesday, Spears was put in touch with Notre Dame defensive line coach Mike Elston and assistant Harland Bower through his coach so the two sides could get familiar with one another while an offer was in the works.
“It’s one of my favorite offers so far,” Spears said. “The tradition and prestige of Notre Dame can’t be beat and after having a phone call with coach Elston and coach Bower yesterday. I really liked their personality from that one phone call. I like the coaching staff.”
Spears is high on academics. As a result, he sees Notre Dame as a strong fit down the road.
“I’m number five (academically) in my class right now so education is one of my top priorities,” Spears said. “(Notre Dame is) an overall package of somewhere I could go for four or five years and if (football) doesn’t work out, I’ll have the education to back me up.”
Later in June, Spears will take visits to in-state programs, starting with Houston.
In July, Spears plans to visit Illinois and Notre Dame. He’ll make the trip to the Midwest with his family who has ties to Indiana.
“I’ll be visiting with my parents and I think my grandma wants to go to Indiana for a visit. It’ll be my first time in the Midwest but my mom lived in Indianapolis for the good majority of her life,” Spears said. “She was born there, then her dad got moved down here for work and they flip-flopped between here and Indiana. Everyone’s moved down here now.”
Spears is listed as a defensive tackle with Scout and considered a defensive end with others.
At 6-foot-4 ½, 260-pounds, Spears could grow into a defensive tackle in the college ranks.
“Definitely in high school, I’ll keep playing defensive end but just from what I’ve been hearing from a bunch of coaches, most of them think that with my build, I could be a pretty good defensive tackle but also a strong side defensive end,” Spears said. “Just helping the defensive line out as much as I can.”
With offers from Alabama, Houston, Illinois, Notre Dame, Rice, and Texas Tech, Spears has several visits to make and offers to receive before he narrow things down or name a top group.
“It’s still really early,” Spears said. “I still haven’t been on an unofficial visit or anything so everything is new to me. I don’t really have a favorite. Obviously, I have teams that I’ve rooted for when I was younger. I’m just starting the process with a clear mind.”
Down the road, Notre Dame has a decent chance to end up in his top group of potential destinations.
“I’ve had them on my radar for a long time. Just a remarkable school, great tradition. There’s no school like Notre Dame, them selling out every game since 1960, or something like that, it’s just crazy.”