Bruce Gaston (6-foot-3, 290-pounds) is confident in his abilities and when the Notre Dame coaching staff asked him to attend their football camp in order to earn a scholarship offer, he was up for the challenge.
"I ended up getting an offer from Notre Dame today, so I was excited about that," Gaston said when asked about his conversation with the Irish coaching staff. "Notre Dame has been looking at me for some time, so I definitely knew that they were interested. I talked to coach Ianello and he told me that if I came in and earned an offer, that I'd get it. I was expecting it. That's what I came in to do and that's what I did.
"The offer means a lot, but to tell you the truth, every offer means a lot to me. This one means a lot to me just the same. It is Notre Dame and Notre Dame is a great university. It truly is. If you graduate from Notre Dame it can take you a long way. It truly can and I think about it in futuristic terms.
"The defensive coaches told me that I did great," Gaston said. "Coach Ianello told me that I was defensive lineman that could dominate and cause havoc. He said that I could fit the position of a bigger defensive lineman and he said that they were looking for that."
Gaston attends one of the best prep high schools in the Chicago area and he's sees similarities between his school and Notre Dame.
"St Rita is a school that someone goes to look for more opportunities…a better education," Gaston explained. "Notre Dame is the same way, you go there to get a better education and the better opportunities after school. In my case it's to play football, to play for a championship team. At St. Rita it's the same thing. We're a championship caliber team in almost every sport. St. Rita is a school in Chicago that a lot of kids that grow there would love to go to. The kids that go there now, myself included, are very fortunate to go to school there. That's just like getting a scholarship from Notre Dame; it's a very fortunate thing.
"Notre Dame would be a great school, but at the same time it has to me a great school for me. I'm not going to choose a school just because a teammate of mine went there or a friend or a buddy goes there. I'm looking forward to going back to Notre Dame and developing a deeper relationship with the coaches and the staff, meet some more of the players and getting on campus. I really think things will turn out good. Notre Dame is a great school and the interest level for me is very high. At the same time, Notre Dame has to be the right school for me and not someone else.
That someone else Gaston is referring to is former St. Rita standout and current Notre Dame linebacker Darius Fleming. Although Bruce may not follow Fleming to Notre Dame, he is carrying on his tradition at St. Rita.
"I do wear No. 90 and Darius did wear No. 90 at St. Rita," Gaston said. " There's a story behind that actually. My original number was 54, and that was my number ever since I met Brian Urlacher, so I was going to wear his number when I got to St. Rita. But a senior had that number, so I figured I'd wear No. 90. Darius wore No. 90 and he was a great player, and I wanted to be a great player. The jersey doesn't make the player, but at the same time Darius was a great player, so I thought it might bring me some luck."
Whether it's luck or not, Gaston has 14 scholarship offers at this point, and he has a big decision to make regarding his future.
"It's a life changing decision and it's probably the biggest decision I'll make thus far in my life, so I want to make sure that it's perfect," Gaston explained. "I'm looking for a great team, a winning team, but it all depends on how comfortable I am with the school, with the coaches and with the players. Not every school is a winning team, but I'm going to look for a great school. My job is to go in a reach my potential, but also to help increase the winning percentage of the team. My biggest thing in terms of football is getting along with the coaches and me being comfortable with the players and the coaches.
"I'm just going to try to visit the schools that I can visit and then look forward to my senior season. I plan on going over to Notre Dame for some practices and I'll take an official visit there. I haven't set up an official visit yet, but I'll definitely be doing that."