What a Difference a Year Makes

Brian Kelly and Notre Dame landed the fourth commitment of the 2011 recruiting class this morning as Matthias Farley from the Charlotte Christian School (N.C.) gave his verbal commitment to the Irish coaching staff. Farley was primarily utilized at wide receiver during his junior season, but is being brought in as a cornerback by the Notre Dame staff.

Notre Dame added Matthias Farley to its 2011 recruiting class today, as the 6-foot-1, 190-pound athlete committed to the Notre Dame staff this morning. Farley had nine scholarship offers and had just returned from an unofficial visit to Notre Dame on Tuesday.

"I had a couple other offers, but Notre Dame was by far the biggest and most exciting offer that I had," Farley explained. "Everyone told me that Notre Dame was a beautiful place and that the campus was beautiful and that I would love it. My coaches told me that I'd get up there and fall in love with it.

"I was actually scared to go because I was like, ‘What if I do love it and want to go there?' On the flip side was like, ‘What if I hate it? What if I want nothing to do with it? I made this big trip, I missed school and I didn't even like the place.' So I was scared out of my mind to go, but the second I stepped on campus I could feel the tradition. I'd been to Duke, N.C. State, and North Carolina. They're good places, but there's nothing like Notre Dame… there's just nothing like it. The campus is beautiful. I loved all the coaches. I loved the facilities. I loved the stadium. The academics are great. Walking around I could see myself walking to class in a few years.

"My coach kept asking me ‘Is there anything you don't like?' and there was nothing that I didn't like, so that was it."

During his unofficial visit Farley was able to sit down and talk to one of the Irish players from his home state and get his thoughts on the new coaching staff at Notre Dame.

"I hung out with R.J. Blanton from Butler High School (Matthews, N.C.)," Farley recalled. "I talked to a lot of guys and they said that coach Kelly was going to win no matter where he goes and the coaching staff that came with him is a testament to that. Seeing what he did at Cincinnati and everywhere he's been, coach Kelly is a winner for sure. He's about the team, and he's definitely a college coach. Everyone is buying into it. There's good morale, and they work hard.

"We ate with some of the players and also went to the training table with them after practice. I watched film with them before they went out to practice. They're a close knit group of guys. They're all buying into the Brian Kelly way of doing things. They're all excited about doing things.

"Coach Kelly wants to build relationships with the players," he said. "They said that before all the doors had padlocks on them, so the players didn't have access to the coaches, but now the coach's doors are open. We went to the player's lounge for a couple hours and the coaches were down there playing ping pong and air hockey with them. They're talking to them. They're hounding you in practice, but they have a short memory. They're kind of like my coaches in high school, they're about the team, and the kids. "There's a lot to learn with a new staff, especially for the guys on offense, but I can see Notre Dame getting back to the top in the next couple years and I don't want to miss out in being part of that."

There is a still a lot for Farley to learn on the football field as well. Farley spent his first couple years in high school on the soccer field. It was just a year ago that he began playing organized football and thoughts of playing Division I football were just a dream.

"There's no way," Farley said about his chances of playing college football last year. "A year ago last Tuesday was my first day playing football. It was the first day I got a helmet, so if you had told me a year and a week later that I'd be here accepting a full ride to the University of Notre Dame, I would have laughed at you. I would have said ‘Are you kidding me?' I was terrible when I first started. I couldn't run roués. My technique was terrible, and I'm still learning. It's a blessing. There's no way someone could script this. It's almost comical. I'm blessed and fortunate, but at the same time I think there's no way this is happening.

"There are five boys in my family and I have two older sisters. I had a brother Nathan that played at Coastal Carolina. All of them played basketball, baseball and football and I guess I didn't want to be known as another Farley that played baseball, basketball and football. I loved soccer and I guess I played soccer to be different, do my own thing and branch away from the mold that was set by my brothers ahead of me. I always loved football though. I loved watching my brothers play and watching games on TV, I always have. I just never really thought about playing it myself.

"My middle school didn't have a football team. I played pick-up football games on the playground, but nothing too serious. So my freshman year I got hurt I got hurt playing soccer, so I missed most of that season. My sophomore year we won two games, so after that my love for soccer was gone. That's when I thought I'd give football a shot and it ended up turning out pretty well."

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