ND Dips Back Into The Cove

When Tanner Brock was nine years old, he would attend Copperas Cove (Texas) High football practices where his father was an assistant coach. Like all little kids, his favorite player on the team was the superstar. At that time, Brock looked up to Vontez Duff.

"I played catch with him once in awhile," Tanner Brock said.

When Duff chose Notre Dame, Brock instantly became an Irish fan. Many years later, perhaps he'll be able to follow in his footsteps.

Brock is now the star at Copperas Cove High.

Notre Dame assistant coach Michael Haywood stopped by the school a couple weeks ago to check up on the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Brock. One of the best players in the state. in the 2009 recruiting class, Brock already holds scholarship offers from TCU and Tulsa. The linebacker attended junior day at Oklahoma last weekend, and will go to ones at Texas A&M and Texas.

"It caught me off guard since Notre Dame hasn't been down here since they recruited Vontez Duff back in the day," and excited Brock said. A two-time all-state player, Brock had an eye-popping 209 tackles as a sophomore, and 225 as a junior, helping his team advance to the state championship game two years in a row.

"I've been an Irish fan ever since I was younger. Just a prestigious school academically, and they're in contention just about every year but this year with a true freshman starting at quarterback. They're just a winning program."

Brock got a chance to catch up with Haywood for a minute while he was at the school.

"He said he was impressed with the way I played," Brock said. "He said he liked the way I ran. Said I have good feet and that my grades were impressive. Said he will come back down again this spring and be in touch with me."

Haywood left the school with film and a copy of Brock's transcripts. Brock reported a 3.86 GPA.

When Haywood and the rest of the Irish staff sit down to watch Brock's film, they will see a guy that is either first or second to the ball carrier. This past season, Brock also had 27 tackles for loss and 4 ½ sacks.

"I was trying to beat myself from last season where I had 209 tackles, and keep progressively getting better," Brock said.

It will be tough for him to surpass his junior year stats next fall.

"He has really good instincts which is one of the main things," Brock's father and team defensive coordinator Reb Brock said. He played linebacker and defensive end at Indiana. "The other thing is he plays extremely hard. He has great acceleration to the ball when he sees it. Has a nose for it in the first place, and when he sees it, he takes off."

Brock played the WILL position as a sophomore, and inside linebacker as a junior. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds, bench presses 275 pounds, and squats 450.

"Pretty much everything, I owe to my Dad," Brock said. "I actually didn't start playing football until I was in the fourth grade. I've been around, been at practices since I was four. I think when I was three months old, I went to a practice with my father, when he was a coaching at a junior college."

Brock didn't go on any unofficial visits this past season. Instead, he went and saw his older brother Logan Brock play as a freshman tight end at TCU for all the home weekends, and few other free weekends. He has gotten to know the Horned Frogs coaching staff real well.

"It's real nice," Brock said of the campus and the atmosphere. "The coaches are cool also. They're pretty down to earth guys."

Brock would like to check out Notre Dame some time in the future, and has an idea of what he is looking for in a school.

"I'm thinking if they offer, maybe we'll get up there for an unofficial this summer," Brock said.

"I'm looking for a winning program. I've never really lost before. Bowl games are a big thing, championships. Academics is a real big thing. I want to be a dentist if I don't make it in the league."

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