No Plateau for Cave

Braxston Cave was born at 10 pounds, 4 ounces, much larger than his two older sisters.

"We thought he would plateau, but he kept getting bigger and bigger," Cave's mother Kim said. "At three, people would mistake him for being five or six. I knew he had a future in something."

Kim Cave's oldest daughter attended Penn High School in Mishawaka (Ind.) at the same time as future Notre Dame offensive lineman Mike Rosenthal.

"I'd always go to the football games and say I hope my son grows up to be like him someday," Kim Cave said.

She had no idea just how prophetic that statement would prove to be.

14 years after Rosenthal's decision to stay home and play on the offensive line at Notre Dame; Kim Cave's youngest child would make the exact same choice.

For the Caves the decision would eventually be a no-brainer.

"Living here you either love Notre Dame or you hate them and we've always loved them," said Kim, who started bringing her only son to Notre Dame games at the age of three and named him after Irish fullback Braxston Banks. "Notre Dame has always been a love of our family."

But as the recruiting process began, it quickly became a source of stress for the family.

"It was very hectic," Kim Cave said. "We couldn't sit down for a meal without the phone ringing. It was annoying because we would try to have family time but there were constant interruptions."

Even with all of the disturbing phone calls, the one Braxston and his family had been waiting for had yet to come.

"We were getting all of the calls, but nothing from Notre Dame. We wondered what was going on," Kim Cave said.

The family made unofficial visits to other schools and Cave received a scholarship offer at Michigan's Junior Day, but Kim knew that her son wasn't totally into it.

"I could tell that his heart wasn't in any place until he got invited to Notre Dame's Junior Day in (late-February)," she said.

Shortly after attending that Junior Day, Cave got the call he'd been waiting for when Charlie Weis dialed to offer him a scholarship.

"My husband (Rick) and I weren't home when he got the call," Kim Cave recalled. "He called to tell us and we were overjoyed. I had tears in my eyes and my husband had a smile on his face as big as could be. We could see Braxston smiling through the phone."

At the next Irish Junior Day a week later, Cave made it official, offering his commitment to Weis.

"For him it was a childhood dream come true," Kim Cave said.

The Cave family quickly embraced their new role as part of the Notre Dame family. The Caves hosted recruits and the house became an unofficial hangout spot.

"The guys just started jelling so well when they came to town that Braxston would invite them over," Kim Cave said. "I love having the kids around. I'm happy to cook for them and they hang out and play video games. Since he's staying so close to home it's nice to get to know all of the guys."

Braxston Cave even arranged for his father, who was doing some work in Louisville, to pick up defensive tackle commit Brandon Newman and bring him back to Granger to stay with the family for the weekend before heading back to Kentucky on Monday.

Braxston Cave knows that he is lucky to have such strong support from his family.

"It's awesome," he said. "I know that without them I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am now."

So, some 280 pounds later it's obvious that Kim Cave was wrong; her only son never did plateau.

But at the same time she could not have been more accurate, for there is definitely a future for young Braxston Cave. Top Stories