Indiana doesn't produce a lot of elite football prospects, but when there is a national recruit, Notre Dame needs to snag that player. Looking forward, junior Tyquan Hammock (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) has not only caught the attention of the Notre Dame coaches, but he's starting to get looks from coast -to-coast and border-to-border.
"I'm getting stuff from Norte Dame, Northern Illinois, Boston College, Indiana, Minnesota, North Carolina, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Iowa, USC, Kansas State, Ball State and a bunch of other schools," Hammock responded when asked about the recruiting attention that he's receiving. "I think schools became interested in me when I went out and performed at camps this summer. I started out by going to the Minnesota camp and then to the Northern Illinois and the Notre Dame camp.
"The Notre Dame camp was great. I went there focused. I worked hard. I got the opportunity to work out for coach Brown, the defensive coordinator and coach Polian. I worked out good and they had a lot of good things to say about me. I liked all of the coaches. All the coaches treated me nice. I really liked the linebacker's coach, coach Polian.
"The coaches were teachers more than coaches. They were mentors. They were there to help you out with football, but also with life in general. It's just the way they worked with me. Coach Polian wanted to work with me and wanted me to become a better player. He took a special interest in me. There was just a connection between the two of us. He was interested in me more than just a player. He understood me as a player and he understood the player that I was capable of being. He took the time to work with me and teach me the game.
"We play high intensity at Bishop Luers and we focus on us having character and standing out, so I took that mentality with me to camp," Hammock explained. "I just made sure that I stood out to the coaches. As far as what I bring to the table, I'm high intensity, I'm an aggressive hitter, I fly across the field, and I try to keep everyone involved in the game. I just try to contribute some way, some how. Whether it's getting water or clapping on the sidelines, I just try to stay in the game and stay focused and get the job done.
One of the Notre Dame camp participants was a player Hammock was already very familiar with, current Notre Dame commitment John Goodman.
"John Goodman and I played football together in middle school and our relationship has grown stronger in high school," Hammock said. "We just gelled and became buddies. We were at the Notre Dame football camp together.
"We played ‘Irish Bowl' after each practice. It was like ultimate Frisbee. They put me on the same team with John and Mike Floyd. I guess the teams were kind of stacked, but we ended up winning ‘Irish Bowl'.
Although there are a number of top programs starting to take notice of Hammock, he'd like the opportunity to play his college football in South Bend.
"Right now everyone has an equal opportunity, but I really like Notre Dame," Hammock explained. "I love the campus. I've always liked Notre Dame. I've gone to a Catholic school my entire life and it's always a dream of a guy going to a Catholic school to go to a school like Notre Dame. They have a great traction and at Bishop Luers we're all about tradition. Going to Notre Dame would be like the going to Bishop Luers at the next level.
"I look at [Notre Dame's struggles] as a minor setback. If you look at the season we had last year, we were 3-8. This year we have stepped up as a team and we're playing well. I look at Notre Dame as we were last year, and they're gelling and everything will fall in place."
Once recruiting heats up for Hammock, he'll have a very good resource to receive advice from. Ty's brother Thomas played at Northern Illinois; Thomas has coached under Barry Alverez at Wisconsin and he is currently coaching the running backs for the University of Minnesota.
"He's a straight forward guy," Ty explained. "He's telling me to keep focused, stay out of trouble and keep my grades up. His advice is to keep working hard and show up on Friday ready to play...its pretty simple.
"We don't talk about recruiting. I try to talk to him about my speed, height and all of that, but his answer to all of that is, that it isn't about appearance, it's about your heart and determination. That's really his advice for me.
With Ty's athletic ability, he could play a number of positions in college, but he'd prefer to roam the secondary and put fear into opposing wide receivers.
"If I make it to the next level," Hammock explained. "I've always thought that I'd play strong safety. I've worked on my hips and my speed. I've had it in my mind that I'd like to play strong safety, so I'd like to play that in college. I like to see the play in front of me and I like to blow people up. I'd play anywhere the team needs me, but I'd have to say that I like to play safety the most.
"At my size, I'm the size of a college safety, but at our level I'm the size of a defensive end. I generally play where our team needs me to play. This week I'll probably play outside linebacker, because our linebacker got hurt. Whatever my team needs me to do, I'll do.
"Playing different positions is really a chance to show how versatile I am," Ty said. "I can play any position at the high school level, I just want to help my team as much as possible."