Next year he'll be suited up on that sideline, playing in the game as a Notre Dame verbal commit.
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is usually reserved from some of the nation's top seniors to announce their college decision to the nation. On Saturday afternoon in front of an NBC audience, a five-star junior stepped up and stole some of the spotlight.
Five-star offensive tackle Christian Lombard told Irish Eyes on Friday afternoon that he would be verbally committing to Notre Dame, which he did so to head coach Charlie Weis, but the standout from Wm Fremnd High in Palatine, Ill., wanted to keep it undercover so he could make his pledge public the day of Saturday's game.
"I'm happy with this decision," Lombard stated. He also called Notre Dame assistant coach Rob Ianello today. "I think it's a good fit for me, and overall it's a good thing.
"I think just the blend of athletics and academics, and the chance of me probably playing early, because I know they have a lack of tackles, just the combination of everything."
The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Lombard chose the Irish over his other two finalists, Iowa and Wisconsin, and becomes the first player to commit to Weis in the class-of-2010. Since the summer, Lombard also racked up offers from places like Michigan, Illinois, Nebraska and Stanford.
On December 18th, Lombard attended one of Notre Dame's bowl practices, where he spent extensive time with current freshmen Trevor Robinson and Sean Cwynar. Lombard used that trip to see how he fit in with the Irish players.
"When I went to Notre Dame, I had a better feeling than when I was at Iowa," Lombard said. "I just could see myself there, and felt more comfortable there."
Lombard also visited South Bend for the Notre Dame summer camp, where he earned his Irish offer, and later for the Michigan game. He will soon call the place his home away from home.
Lombard isn't sure if he will play right or left tackle on the next level.
"I'll play whatever the (heck) they want me to play," Lombard said with a laugh.
Lombard now turns his attention to helping the Irish land more players in the class-of-2010.
"I'll tell them to check it out," he said. "I made the decision, I'll let them know why I made the decision, and tell them I think it's a good place."
Turns out their were seven future Notre Dame players inside the Alamo Dome on Saturday. Six in the game and one more on the sideline.