Tommy Rees (6-foot-3, 192-pounds) had confidence that he'd be able to impress the Notre Dame coaching staff during last weeks summer football camp, but it wasn't until retuning home last week that he heard the news he had been waiting for.
"My dad told me that coach Powlus wanted to talk to me, so I called coach him after my practice the other night," Rees responded when asked about the events leading up to receiving Notre Dame's scholarship offer. "When I called him and he let me know that they were going to offer me a scholarship. I was really, really excited. I can't put it into words and right now I'm trying to let it sink in for a while.
"I've been in contact with them for a long time and I've been up to Notre Dame three or four times this year. They saw my film, which was the first step, then I came up in the spring and that was the second step. The third step was to come to camp so they could see me throw. I knew I was going to compete and do well at the camp. I felt if I did that, I'd put myself in position to get a scholarship. Camp went really well for me, and here we are."
Chicago is known to have a large base of Notre Dame fans, but Rees did not grow up rooting for the Irish.
"I was born in California and lived there until I was six, but I didn't root for anyone in particular," Rees said. "Northwestern is just down the road and my mom went to UCLA, so I liked those two teams, but to be honest I never really was a huge fan of Notre Dame, but I definitely respect the program.
"I went to a game last year and they're on TV every weekend, so I've seen them play a bunch. I like the pro-style offense that they run, and they mix in some shotgun, so there's a good balance between the two sets.
"I want to have a great relationship with the coaching staff, that's very important," he explained. "The offensive coordinator and the quarterback coach are very important. A good education is a high priority. A degree from Notre Dame can help you, and can take you pretty much where you want."
Rees had a solid junior campaign, throwing for 2,200 yards, 22 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.
"I'm a pro-style quarterback that's athletic enough to run around and make people miss," Rees said. "I wouldn't call myself a dual threat guy, but more of an athletic pro-style quarterback.
"I think of myself as a good leader, and one that can bring the team together. I'm very, very competitive, almost to a fault. My friends give me a hard time about how competitive I am, whether we're playing video games or playing basketball in the backyard. I never want to lose. As soon as I get on the field, winning is all that matters. I try to stay calm during the game, and try to do what I know I can do."
The Irish coaching staff won't need to wait long to find out how excited Rees was about their scholarship offer, as he's planning to make a decision very soon.
"I'm going to think about things for a week or two probably," Rees said. "I'm looking at Stanford, Tennessee and Notre Dame. I'm going to sit down with my parents and make a decision sometime soon."