Ikard Meets Fame In South Bend

Meeting two Notre Dame celebrities highlighted Gabe Ikard's official visit to Notre Dame this weekend.

The four-star defensive end from Oklahoma City, Okla., got a chance to shake hands with Lou Holtz, who was in South Bend for the 20th-year reunion of his 1988 National Championship team.

"He just shook my hand and said come to Notre Dame," Gabe Ikard laughed.

Talking with Jake Golic throughout much of Notre Dame's 35-17 win over Michigan, it never occurred to Ikard who the Irish verbal commit's father is.

"I love his show," the 6-foot-4 ½, 248-pound Ikard stated. "I did not make the connection of Jake Golic and Mike Golic until Mike Golic stood behind me and squeezed my shoulder, and I turned around and went Golic!"

The elder Golic was also a standout outside linebacker/defensive end at Notre Dame before playing in the NFL and then joining ESPN as an analyst and morning radio show host.

Notre Dame moved up with Ikard following his weekend visit, but they're still in a tight race with Stanford and in-state Oklahoma for his February signature.

"I know I'd fit in well," Ikard said of Notre Dame. "I like the coaches. I'm just going to go to a few other places and make a decision.

"Hopefully I'll go out to Stanford again, and I want to take an official visit to (Oklahoma). You can see things on official visits that you can't see going to one of their games, so I want to get a behind the scenes look at OU."

Ikard definitely got that at Notre Dame.

Following the game, Ikard caught up with his host John Ryan and several other players in the evening. He toured the athletic facilities on Saturday, and on Sunday got a tour of the campus from Irish assistant coach Mike Haywood.

"It was good, it was good, it was wet," Ikard said of his trip.

"Just, I'd never been out here. I didn't know what it was all about. It was a really great place, a really great college town. I liked everything I did here. The people were great.

"It was real fun. The game was really cool except for the downpour. Other than that, it was a great game to be at. A great atmosphere.

A three-year starter, Ikard helped his team win its second-straight state title last fall, registering 69 tackles and seven sacks. In a very run-heavy offense, Ikard added 10 receptions for 150 yards and four touchdowns. He got some one-on-one time with Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis during his visit.

"Meeting (head) coach (Charlie) Weis was really cool," Ikard said. "When me and him talked, it was weird because we didn't talk about football at all. We just talked about the hurricanes and the presidential race. He said he was more of a guy that likes to talk about normal things than football, because he wanted me to get to know him more on a personal basis."

Ikard also sat down and watched film with defensive line coach Jappy Oliver, and discussed how he would fit into the Irish defense.

"I watched some stuff with coach Oliver on his defensive line drills, and some of the techniques he teaches. I watched some game clips, and he was showing me some of the things they do. That was informative and I probably liked that the most out of everything."

Besides meeting Lou and Golic of course.

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