Blake Countess (5-foot-10, 180-pounds) hadn't heard much from Notre Dame on the recruiting front until Brian Kelly hired assistant coach Kerry Cooks from Wisconsin. Once Cooks settled in South Bend, he added Countess to Notre Dame's recruiting board. "I had a very strong relationship with coach Cooks from when he was the defensive backs coach at Wisconsin," Countess said. "Me and coach Cooks are real cool. I think he's a really positive guy, really down to earth, and I feel that I can talk to him. He followed up with me when he went to Notre Dame and he told the Notre Dame coaches about me.
"Coach Cooks was one of the first coaches that I had contact with when I transferred to Good Counsel. There's always going to be a strong background with us, because he was really one of the first coaches that I started building a relationship with. It was all new to me, I was a sophomore. He let me know that if I needed anything, I could talk to him. He was just a really cool and down to earth guy."
Besides Cooks, Blake is also familiar with a two of the highest rated recruits Notre Dame has pulled from his area in recent memory.
"I know two guys that graduated from Notre Dame, Victor Abiamiri and Ambrose Wooden," Countess explained. "They went to my former school, Gilman. Amborse is working on Wall Street in New York and Victor is playing in the NFL. Both guys are prime examples of what Notre Dame can do. One is in the NFL and the other is in the working world doing very well for himself. Like I said, you can't go wrong, it's the best of both worlds and with the history, Notre Dame just prepares you for whatever you want to do."
Blake is preparing to take an unofficial visit to Notre Dame in March. With scholarship offers from Wisconsin, Illinois, Maryland, West Virginia, and Pittsburgh and he's hoping the Irish extended a written offer on his visit.
"They verbally offered me and invited me out to their junior day (March 20), so I'll be going out there for that. I obviously like Notre Dame because all of the history and everything they have going on there. I like what Brian Kelly was doing at Cincinnati, and I think if he gets his players in there, with his type of coaching, that Notre Dame will be very successful and I'd want to be a part of that.
"I feel with Notre Dame you really can't go wrong," he said. "It's a small private Catholic school, its football history is great. I feel that you can get the best of both worlds. Education is what it is all about, but you can also get the football exposure that you want and need to prepare yourself for whatever you want to do. It's one of those things where you can't go wrong with Notre Dame."
And it will be hard for any school to go wrong if they sign Countess in February.
A lot of coaches tell me that I'm very coachable. When these coaches come up to me and ask me stuff. They obviously have seen my tape and see that I'm a great athlete, but I'm also very coachable and I can take criticism. I like to be coached and the criticism isn't doing anything, but making me better. I have all the tangibles and athleticism to do what they ask on the field. When a coach asks me to do something, I get it done and I think it's builds their confidence in me. They know that I'm going to listen to them and excel and do what they tell me to do."
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