Winnetka (Ill.) New Trier 2019 athlete Duke Olges had been to Notre Dame a couple times before this past weekend, but it was his first to watch the Irish in action.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder is glad he finally experience South Bend on game day.
“It was great to be back,” Olges told Blue & Gold Illustrated. “Just elite facilities and a beautiful campus. I enjoyed myself throughout the whole day and loved every part.
“My favorite part was getting inside the new locker room and also seeing the classic 'Play Like a Champion Today' sign. The new locker room was unreal and not many people can get to see the iconic 'Play Like a Champion Today' sign in person.”
Notre Dame’s fans grabbed the attention of Olges throughout the game.
“The atmosphere was nothing like I have seen before,” Olges explained. “Fans from all over came to see the game and everyone wanted to be there, even the people watching on TV. I just loved the amount of support Norte Dame gets and how you are engulfed into excitement of the game.”
Olges also enjoyed watching the Irish perform well on both sides of the ball in the 52-17 win over Miami (Ohio).
“The game was great an Norte Dame got off to a very strong start against Miami in the first quarter, and maintained that momentum while all the starters were in.” Olges said. “Josh Adams continues to impress me and many with much credit to the offensive line. They’ve been able to establish the run and passing game in the majority of their games.”
The junior participated in Irish Invasion over the summer and has been in contact with special teams coach Brian Polian in the spring as well. He got to reconnect with Polian during his visit.
“Coach Polian just told me to keep working hard and keep putting out my best game film,” Olges said. “I think he is a great special teams coach, and he’s also very fun to be around when he is not coaching.”
With multiple visits under his belt, Notre Dame is a school of high interest for the Illinois native.
“The elite academics with the combination of a nationally ranked football team,” Olges said of what stands out. “Norte Dame is one of the very few schools that can consistently produce a ranked team with top tier academics. This stands out because it’s very difficult to do and that is what I am exactly looking for in a school: a great football program accompanied by an outstanding academic program.”
Olges plays both tight end and defensive end for New Trier. He’s still waiting for his first offer, but has been in contact with programs such as Penn State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Illinois and Northwestern.