Nagel's Sunday Education

Sundays have been a study day for Aaron Nagel, and he's not working on his senior paper. Super Bowl Sunday will be his final lesson until reporting to Notre Dame. The Lemont, Ill., product has been watching NFL linebackers, particularly Brian Urlacher, trying to soak up anything he can about his new position, so he can come in and contribute for the Irish, as a true freshman this fall.

The 6-foot-1, 225-pound Nagel, a standout safety in high school, will ink his letter-of-intent to Notre Dame at a Wednesday morning signing in front of local media with Michigan bound teammate Dave Molk, in the school's library.

"My coach is going to fax it in around 9:30, 10ish," said Nagel. The Irish coaches are expecting 19 other faxes just like Nagel's on national signing day, making everything official with the 2007 recruiting class.

Originally expecting to play outside linebacker when he committed to Notre Dame nearly 11 months ago, Corwin Brown's hire at defensive coordinator changed things a bit. In the new 3-4 defense, Nagel said the coaches are projecting him as an inside linebacker.

Nagel had been hearing rumors about Rick Minter's contract not being extended, and Brown's hiring. Brown gave Nagel a call the day before he was announced as Notre Dame's newest assistant. He just wanted to get to know Nagel a bit and tell him about the new style of defense.

"I like him a lot," Nagel stated. "He seems like a real good guy and stuff, and I look forward to playing for him."

The first week of January, Nagel got an opportunity to line up at both inside and outside linebacker during the week of practice in preparation for the U.S. Army All-America Bowl in San Antonio. He looked like he'd been playing the position for years, instinctively covering a lot of ground, and running with the first unit to begin the week.

Yeah Nages, good job Nages, could be heard all over the field at East Practice, as Nagel used his 4.5 second safety speed to make plays at his new position.

"It was awesome to be down there, and it was such a change from high school football," Nagel explained. "That was basically a preview of what college football is going to be like.

"I thought it was going to be a lot harder than it was," Nagel continued. "I never played linebacker, but I thought I was catching on pretty well, and by the time I get to Notre Dame, I should have the position down."

Thanks to his Sunday studying.

Nagel took a week off when he returned home from Texas. Ever since, he has been back in the weight room, building his bench press up to an impressive 365 pounds, and his squat to 465 pounds.

Nagel also resumed his workouts with trainer Dave Devers at Get Fast Inc. He has been using them since his freshman year.

"They've helped me with my overall speed and quickness," Nagel said. "They've helped me with my 40 a little bit. They are good with conditioning because they are real tough and it gets me in shape.

"I started like my freshman year and I was running a 4.7. In a year or two they got me down to a 4.55. They helped me with my shuttle, got me from 4.4 to like a 4.15 showing me how to do it right. My vertical, they got me from like a 28 to like 32 or something like that."

Now Nagel can dunk a basketball, but says he doesn't play much.

When Nagel officially becomes Irish this week, the coaches can send him a workout program they want him doing before reporting to school. Urlacher converted from college safety to NFL linebacker. If Nagel has half the positive results in his move from the secondary to the down seven, Notre Dame nation is going to be very happy.


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