Big Jake Kaufman Catches ND's Eye

With his size and ambitions, Jake Kaufman bucks a lot of his family's trends.

At 6-foot-8, 325-pounds, Jake Kaufman towers over everyone from his parents and grandparents, to his aunts and uncles.

"I don't know where my size comes from," he said.

A lot of relatives are also doctors and lawyers, and Kaufman isn't sure he sees himself doing either one of those jobs when he grows up. Neither does his kin.

"I'm going in a different direction trying to be a football player," the standout offensive tackle from St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City, N.J. said. "My aunts and uncles say I guess he's right, because I can't picture him sitting at a desk."

But they see Kaufman laying a pancake on several defensive linemen.

This past season, Kaufman started at left tackle, helping lead St. Peter's Prep to a spot in the state semifinals. His play has earned himself scholarship offers from Stanford and Rutgers. Several other college programs are showing interest.

"I have good pass protection, and I'm a good run blocker," Kaufman said of what college recruiters tell him. "I'm a balanced blocker, a balanced offensive lineman. And they like for my size, that I have good footwork. I can run a 5.1 (second) (40-yard dash) at 325 pounds."

Notre Dame is impressed.

When former Irish assistant coach John Latina was regularly making visits to St. Peter's to recruit Nyshier Oliver, he'd also check in on Kaufman.

"We would just say hello, what's going on, when he came down," Kaufman explained.

"We would just have brief conversations because I had to get off to class. He was just saying we're very interested and looking forward to talking with you."

Since then, Kaufman has gotten junior day invites, and an invitation to summer camp. Kaufman missed Notre Dame's first junior day, but is looking forward to trying to take up the staff on both events in the future.

"I've always been a Notre Dame fan since I was little, and my whole family is too," Kaufman said.

"The tradition, the football program, I know it was a little weak this year, but they're rebuilding, and they have a lot of All-Americans that have been coming in. The campus is unbelievable from what I've seen. Just everything about it."

Kaufman added that he will not look down on the Irish, even though his teammate Oliver was once verbally committed to Notre Dame, and opted to change his mind at the last minute and sign with Tennessee.

"I was a little disappointed," Kaufman said. "Him going there, it would've been nice to go to the same school as him again, but if he wants to go to Tennessee, that's great for him."

Kaufman is looking for what's good for him.

He has visited Georgia twice and Rutgers once. Besides Notre Dame, he is trying to get to Maryland, and might go to UCLA's junior day. Kaufman isn't sure where else he'll visit, but would like to make his college decision before his senior season.

"I'm looking for a place that will provide me with good academics," Kaufman began. Pittsburgh may be close to offering. "That if I leave there, hopefully when I get my degree, I'll have whatever I want to choose from, and I think Notre Dame could provide me with that. I've heard that if you get a degree from Notre Dame, you pretty much have a job wherever you want." Top Stories