From Spectator To Player

Watching the U.S. Army All-American game on television every year, Mike Golic Jr. made it one of his goals a few years ago to be named a player in the prestigious event to cap off his prep football career.

Mission accomplished.

Hard work has made Michael Golic Jr. one of the best players on the east coast, and the offensive lineman from West Hartford, Conn., will join several of his future Notre Dame teammates in San Antonio, Texas, for the game, Jan. 5.

"It was more a feeling of great satisfaction," Golic said. "That had been a big goal of mine. Always seeing it on TV, I worked towards playing in that game my senior season. It was a huge honor and satisfaction knowing I've been able to achieve that goal."

The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Golic, a three-star recruit from Northwest Catholic High, texted Dayne Crist the other night. He keeps in touch with Crist's Notre Dame High (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) teammate Anthony McDonald regularly. There is constant chatter about the Army game.

"A lot of the guys are playing in the game," Golic said. Irish commits Crist, McDonald, Ethan Johnson, Michael Floyd, Jonas Gray, Robert Blanton, Sean Cwynar, John Goodman, Steve Filer, Darius Fleming, Brandon Newman and Kyle Rudolph have been selected as well. "We've been getting some east coast-west coast jawing. A lot of guys are going down there and it's going to be fun. It's going to be a great game.

"I keep giving them a little crap that this is finally the time the east squad is going to stick it to west squad."

As a center or a guard, Golic has to temper his trash talk a little bit when talking to guys like McDonald, who he will have to block in the game.

"Hopefully he doesn't catch wind of all of this," Golic said with a laugh. "I don't want to light too big of a fire under his ass."

Last weekend, Golic and his family made the trip to Notre Dame's campus, where he was able to hang out with his future teammates. The Irish beat Duke 28-7, and Golic caught up with fellow commits Lane Clelland, Kyle Rudolph, Braxston Cave, David Posluszny, and uncommitted four-star receiver Gerell Robinson of Arizona.

"I'd have to say the game," Golic said of the weekend highlight. "Just to be able to see those seniors go out with a win on their final home game, and see them run around the field celebrating with each other. Just the way they interacted with the students after the game. Guys jumping up into the student section and celebrating with their friends. It was cool to see how close they are with the students. It is something really special."

The committed players worked on Robinson a bit during the game. His six finalists are Notre Dame, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Tennessee and Georgia Tech.

"He said he enjoyed his weekend a lot," Golic said. "We tried to talk to him about the reasons why we chose Notre Dame, and told him we'd love to have him come aboard with this class."

Potentially, the nation's top class. Scout.com currently has Notre Dame atop its recruiting rankings.

Golic's father Mike, who played defensive end and linebacker at Notre Dame, and is now a NFL analyst and morning radio show host for ESPN, spoke at the pep rally the Friday night before the Duke game.

"I think he did alright," Golic said of his father. "There is always room for improvement. I'm never going to give him the easy way out and say he was perfect."

Golic hopes he and his Northwest (7-2) teammates are perfect on Thanksgiving Day. They need to beat Plainville (6-3) to earn a spot in the state playoffs. Winners of five games in a row, another victory will make the turkey taste that much sweeter.

"I think it's a good tradition the schools have," Golic said. "It's a big game for us. We're able to play some ball on Thanksgiving and then go home and get a meal. Makes you feel like you worked for the meal.

"Plainville's a solid team. All three games they've lost have been close ones."

Also on the family trip to South Bend last weekend, was Golic's younger brother Jake, one of the top tight ends in the 2009 recruiting class.

"Obviously, he's very interested in Notre Dame, and they're taking a hard look at him as well," Golic said. That makes me happy to possibly play with my brother another four years. That would be a great time. I would look forward to that."

Jake Golic will participate in the U.S. Army National Combine the week of the Army game, featuring some of the top juniors in the nation. Perhaps he will end his prep career the same way his older brother is going to.


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