Erik Kohler (6-foot-5, 265-pounds) is very familiar with the Notre Dame football program, as he's seen the Irish staff walking the halls of his high school since he was a freshman.
"I've built a good relationship with Notre Dame mainly because of the past history with Oaks Christian," Kohler responded when asked about the Irish coaching staff. "I have a really good relationship with them. It's just fun spending time with coach Polian, I really like him and he makes me want to go to Notre Dame and he's one of the reasons I'm attracted to Notre Dame. I like all the things that he's told me about it.
"Coach Verducci visited Oaks to see me, so I got to talk to him a little bit and catch up. He talked about how he wanted me to be there. I really liked him. He seemed like he really knew what he was talking about. He really loves the game. He feels that Notre Dame is going to be really good and will continue to be good. He seemed like a really intelligent coach.
"Coach Weis is an awesome guy," he said. "I always get updates on what is going on around Notre Dame from him. I've talked to him on a few occasions. He's just a down-to-earth guy. He's a family oriented guy and it seems like when you go there that he'll treat you like one of his family members. He definitely knows what he's doing and I can tell that he's excited about what they have going on there."
Although Erik is familiar with Notre Dame, he hasn't made a trip to South Bend yet.
"Unfortunately I have not visited Notre Dame, but I plan on doing that very soon," Kohler said. "I don't have anything planned right now, so there isn't anything definite, but I'll definitely be going up there this month or early July.
"I watched Notre Dame growing up, although I wasn't a big football fan until high school. Notre Dame has always been a college that I've been looking at no matter what, because of academics and the reputation that they've built.
Kohler has scholarship offers from Notre Dame, Cal, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State and Washington. He'll welcome additional interest from other programs, but at some point this summer Erik will move forward with the offers he has.
"I'm definitely open to new things," he said. "I'm not going to take down a school right now; I'm going to be open-minded. At this time I have a general idea of what I want, but that could change. My plan at this point is to announce my top-3 by this month and then choose by August. I want to get my decision out of the way, so that I can focus on my football season. I want to go into the season with the mindset that my team will be my primary focus."
That focus for Kohler will be to dominate the opponent across the line of scrimmage. It's dirty work, but it's something Erik enjoys.
"I like to get down and dirty and hit someone and do it well," Kohler explained. "They call it trench warfare and I enjoy it. It's an amazing feeling. Being a tackle is fun because you get to go against these defensive ends, and it's a blast to have fun and not worry about anything but getting after them.
"I can take control of what's going on around the field. I know what it's going to take to win the game. I think I pass protect well and I love running plays. I think I can be an all-around good player, and I think that I'm versatile. I'm willing to take on any challenge."