Bernard Keeps In Touch With ND

Sitting in class together this week, Cody Riggs was fresh off his visit to Notre Dame, and got his St. Thomas Aquinas teammate, Gio Bernard's attention.

"First thing, he came back, and the first thing he told me was, he was like during class, Gio I need to talk to you after class," Gio Bernard began. "I was like what's up, and he was like they really want you to come badly.

"I knew they did, but I didn't know it was that bad, to tell another recruit to talk to me. It definitely made me think about them a little more. A lot of people are making me think about Notre Dame a lot more."

That starts with the two Irish coaches recruiting him, Bernie Parmalee and Tony Alford.

"I talk to coach Parmalee and coach Alford like every other week," Bernard said. "I'll switch them up, like I'll talk to one on one week, and then I'll talk to the other the next week. They're probably the one school I keep a good basis with week in and week out.

But the standout running back from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is also hearing from teachers at the high school, who've seen Sam Young and Dan Wenger graduate and go on to Notre Dame, as well as having their own Irish connections.

Then there is his older brother Yvenson, who graduated from Oregon State and is trying to launch his pro career. People close to him are telling the younger Bernard how valuable a Notre Dame degree is in the corporate world. And of course, there is Irish head coach Charlie Weis.

"Sometimes I talk to coach Parm and coach Alford, and coach Weis will be in the background saying is that Gio, let me talk to him, and I'll have a chance to talk to him on the spot," the 5-foot-9, 195-pound Bernard explained. "He's definitely a cool guy. He's real laid back and chill. He seems like a young buck, but we all know he's not too young, but its all good though."

Notre Dame appears to be in good early position for Bernard's services.

After rushing for 1,579 yards and 18 touchdowns in helping lead St. Thomas Aquinas to ESPN Rise's National Championship, Bernard has racked up roughly 20 scholarship offers from places like Florida, Florida State, Auburn, Miami, Oklahoma and West Virginia. He says some schools are beginning to standout.

"Kind of, but nothing public," Bernard stated. "I don't want to put that out there, but probably by the end of spring. But you know, Notre Dame is definitely one of my top schools that's for sure, because football is not everything, but at the same time they have a good football program and later in life I know I'll be able to succeed after playing football."

Bernard is expecting to see Parmalee and Alford at the St. Thomas Aquinas spring game in May.

"They tell me I'm the one running back they really want," Bernard said. "They tell me I'm the top of the class, and they really want me to come there, and they said if I ever have a chance to visit there I should take it. I'm trying to take this process slow, but they're probably one of the schools I will take a visit to."

Bernard isn't expecting to make a decision until well after his senior football season.

"It's how I feel about the area and the coaches," Bernard said. The only schools he‘s visited thus far are Oregon State, Florida and Miami. "It doesn't matter if you're the last running back to get picked, because at the same time you have to battle for a position. If I know I can succeed at the school, I'll commit."

Riggs isn't Bernard's only teammate that has said nice things about Notre Dame. Offensive tackle Brandon Linder has the Irish in his top three, and has visited South Bend twice.

"Brandon Linder took a visit up there and he said it's a good town, it's a college town, and the food there is great. He was telling me about (Bruno's) and how the guys go out there and load themselves with food. I was like I have to take a visit up there."


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