A Dream becomes Reality

In Italy, the bus filled with his Northwest Catholic High classmates patiently waited while Mike Golic Jr. was on the phone with Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis. There was a buzz going around that Golic Jr. was going to get a scholarship offer, and when the standout center finally boarded, he told everybody he accepted Weis's offer to continue his education and football career at Notre Dame.

Mike Golic Jr. became the first player to verbally commit to Notre Dame's 2008 recruiting class last week, telling Weis he was Irish last Monday. The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Golic Jr. left for Europe to enjoy the sites, and came back Saturday to his West Hartford, Conn., home with his future in order. He will sign is national letter-of-intent next February, and the bus went nuts when he told them the news.

"Everyone was clapping for me," Golic Jr. said. "My friends were excited for me, and that made the trip a lot more fun."

The son of former Notre Dame defensive end and linebacker Mike Golic Sr., who is now an NFL analyst and morning radio show host for ESPN, Golic Jr. has had the Irish tradition ingrained in him from day one. The all-state center knew if he was given the opportunity, he would jump at a chance to attend Notre Dame.

"I've always been in love with Notre Dame," Golic Jr. said. "I've been out there god knows how many times for games and stuff. It's always felt like a second home for me. Knowing all the players that have come through Notre Dame and all the tradition they've had there, just being able to be a part of that is special."

So was Golic Jr.'s chat with Weis. After receiving a recent offer from Connecticut, and from the recent extra attention college coaches have been giving him, Golic Jr. figured he better borrow an international phone from a family friend and it take it to Europe, just in case some programs wanted to make an offer. He didn't anticipate he'd be making a call to South Bend, Ind.

The Golic family thought Notre Dame would eventually offer, but Weis caught them a little off guard with his call last Monday morning. They caught Weis off guard when telling him Golic Jr. was in Italy. Golic Sr. called his son and told him to give Weis a call. The international phone lines were working hard.

The bus waited 15 minutes as Golic Jr. spoke with his future head coach, standing about 100 yards away from The Leaning Tower of Pisa.

"It was pretty intense," Golic Jr. said. "I made the call, and as soon as I heard the word offer my face lit up, and I was happy the rest of the trip.

"He basically explained that he is excited about bringing kids to Notre Dame that have a passion to play for Notre Dame, and he thought I fit the bill well.

"It was my first time really talking to him one on one," Golic Jr. said. He met Weis at Notre Dame's summer camp, the coach's first season. "I had been around him when he has been with my dad, but I never got a chance to really talk with him. He said he liked the way I worked at center, liked how I move my feet and everything. He said I have good technique.

"Since I do the long snapping at my school, he said I can work on those things and that will help me with playing early on too."

Golic Jr. recognizes that he has to put weight on before reporting to Notre Dame. A weight room fanatic, he reported a bench press of 320 pounds, and a squat of 425 pounds. One of the most impressive things Golic Jr. said he's seen on campus is the Guglielmino Athletics Complex where varsity athletes work out.

"The new facility is unbelievable," Golic Jr. said. "I walked in the weight room and my jaw dropped. I'll have a lot of fun in there for four years."

Golic Jr. was a two-way standout, and his father told Irish Eyes in a previous interview that many thought his son could've been an all-state defensive tackle.

"I wouldn't be opposed to playing defensive tackle in college, but I think they have me pegged for the offensive line."

Golic Jr. talked about his strengths as a center. He could also play guard at Notre Dame.

"I think I use my head pretty well, I like to think I put the smarts to work," he said. Golic Jr. makes most of the calls to the rest of the offensive lineman, and also uses his head well in the classroom, reporting a 3.99 GPA. "I pride myself on playing hard and tough all the time."

That attitude led to his mailbox being flooded by letters from interested colleges. There was only one school Golic Jr. was interested in, and when Notre Dame started sending mail he was "pretty excited."

"It made it all seem like it was becoming real, the dream," Golic Jr. said.

Now the dream is official.

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