Braxston Cave won't be reporting to Notre Dame for over a year, but at times it is hard not to consider him a member of Notre Dame's incoming freshman class. Braxston is already participating in an intense training regimen, and he's finding every opportunity that he can to work with the Notre Dame staff.
"My team is No.1 on my list since I only have one year left," Cave responded when asked about his plans for the summer. "I told my coach that I would always put the team first and that the recruiting and everything that goes with it would be second.
"We do have a break with our team right now, so I'm working with a personal trainer three times a week. I'm also doing conditioning. I go up to Warren Dunes once a week and run the hill. I do a couple workouts there. I have one where I try to get up to the top of the hill as fast as I can. I have another workout where I have a sled that I put on my back and I put weight on it. That is more of a power and endurance workout.
"My dad has always wanted me to do these workouts, but now that everything has gotten more serious I decided just to go out and do it. I have guys from my team do it with me. My best friend works out with me all the time. He's a linebacker for us, so he's up there all the time with me. I need to get Sean [Cwynar] and Darius [Fleming] up there to do it with me."
Braxton has stayed in close contact with his future teammates, and all can be found on the Notre Dame campus from time to time. Braxston is hoping Cwynar and Fleming make plans to attend the Notre Dame football camps this summer.
"I'm probably going to stop in to both camps for a day, so I can see some guys and work with coach Latina," Braxston explained. "My schedule for my team is kind of crazy, so I really don't have a chance to go to the whole thing. I know that John Goodman is coming in. I think Darius and Sean are coming in, so I guess we'll all probably end up going over there.
"I've been to five practices and I've been going in and watching some film with coach Brown. They were running the practices, and I'd watch the offensive line to try and pick things up. They'd have the plays out where I could see them and I could start memorizing them.
"The drills they do are basically the same as we do at our high school. Our coaches go to their clinics, so they pick all that up. A lot of the stuff is very similar to what we do, so I really just have to learn the playbook.
"I think the biggest adjustment will be speed," Cave said. "I talked to Bob Morton about everything. He said when you first come in as a freshman, an offensive lineman can't even catch up with a linebacker, because of the speed difference. He said it's about angels and geometry. Once you start learning the angles it becomes more like high school football again."
Braxston will continue to focus on having a successful senior season at Penn, but he will also continue to help the Irish bring in a top recruiting class.
"Its coming quicker than I thought it would," Cave said of Notre Dame's recruiting class. "I think there are still a couple guys out there that we need to pick up. Right now, I think we've set a pretty good pace. Now it's down to the guys that want to sit around and then take their official visits. It's going quicker than I thought it would and right now I think the class is awesome.
"I won't sit around and call people, but if a guy comes on a visit, I usually make an effort to get over to campus and talk to him. If there is a guy there and I know something about them, I try to stay in contact with them, and I try to help bring in guys that I think can help us win national championships."