Dreams Do Come True

Notre Dame fans have been pining to see a kick-off land in the end zone almost as much as Kyle Brindza was looking for a scholarship offer from Notre Dame. The kicker from Plymouth Canton High School (Mich.) got what he wanted and is looking forward to getting the opportunity to give the Irish fans what they want.

Kyle Brindza (6-foot-2, 195-pounds) had thought about playing at Notre Dame since he was a little kid. Hard work, a little good fortune, and he's about to realize his dream.

"I actually grew up a Notre Dame fan," Brindza said. "They were my dream school. My grandpa graduated from Notre Dame. I was born in Valparaiso. I grew up around Notre Dame fans, so I grew into a Notre Dame fan. I grew up watching Rudy and always wanted to be like him. But once I understood more I about it, I didn't want to be like Rudy the walk-on, I wanted to be like Rudy with a full-ride.

Once Kyle earned the starting kicking duties his sophomore year he started to think that he might get the chance to live that dream. Michigan, LSU, Central Michigan and other schools started to take notice of him, but he was still waiting to hear from Notre Dame.

"I finally got am email from Notre Dame in September of my junior year," he explained. "Coach Weis wanted me to come to come to their camp. I was going to do that, but then coach Weis had to shut down his recruiting. At that time I was thinking that I wouldn't get a chance to go to Notre Dame, so I started thinking more about Michigan and Cincinnati more.

"Then I heard Brian Kelly might be going to Notre Dame and I thought maybe if he got the job that he'd want me at Notre Dame, because he was recruiting me when he was at Cincinnati. When he got the job, I was ecstatic."

Attention from the Kelly and his staff didn't happen right away, but luck was on Brindza's side.

"They weren't sure if they were going to take a 2011 kicker, but when they found out about me being a Notre Dame fan, they started recruiting me harder and harder," he recalled. "Then Michigan came along with the idea that they wanted me to forgo my senior year and come kick for them this year. When Notre Dame heard that, they jumped on board.

"Both schools wanted me to forgo my senior year, but when I decided that I wasn't going to do that, I took a step back and took some time to think about it all.

"I took another visit to Michigan and talked to the coaches, and then I went to Notre Dame for the spring game," he said. "I waited a little, and then I realized that Notre Dame is where I wanted to be.

"I took football out of the equation and Notre Dame was great. They have every program that I would want to study. I based my decision on academics, socially, and how I'd be able to mature as a man. Notre Dame is the place for me.

"I don't get some of the recruits can go on that campus and just say ‘oh, that's cool' and not have Notre Dame as their top school. Notre Dame just pops out when you see it. The Golden Dome, nothing beats it."

The Notre Dame kicking game has struggled over the past several years, and nowhere has that been more apparent than kick-offs.

"I get that a lot on Facebook," Brindza admitted. "Fans will send me messages that saying that they're really impressed with my kickoffs and that they wish I could come in this year, because they can't remember the last time they had someone that could get touchbacks or kick to the three-yard line.

"I'm just working my butt off. I've heard comments that I have the NFL distance, but I don't have the NFL hang time. I was at the Notre Dame kicking camp (June 19) and the coaches said that I was consistently kicking 75 yarders with a hang time of four seconds, which is really pretty good. That's enough to make a touchback.

"I'm just working my butt off to on kickoffs and field goals to get my height up. I know that my future is getting brighter every day. Basically I come out with the attitude that I'm going to get better and be prepared for Notre Dame."

Notre Dame assistant Mike Elston will be in charge of special teams under Brian Kelly, and he's indicated that he would like Brindza to be prepared to compete for the kick-off duties from day-one.

"They want me to come in and take the kick-off spot right away," Kyle said. "They also told me they want me to fight for the field goal spot my freshman year. They'd like me to push for the punting spot, but they do believe that Ben Turk will win that spot.

"I've seen Ben punt a lot, and I think he's a phenomenal punter. I've been told that he had a couple of flaws, but that he's worked those out. He's a very good Division I punter. From what I've seen, he‘s a phenomenal punter."

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