Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 25, 2023

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 40 of 55

BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM NOV. 25, 2023 41 BY KYLE KELLY The Notre Dame football program added a second commitment from Chicagoland in the 2025 recruiting cycle Nov. 10. Elmhurst (Ill.) Immacu- late Conception Catholic Prep junior Dominik Hulak announced his Fighting Irish pledge. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Hulak, a three-star prospect, picked Notre Dame over eight other Power Five offers. Wis- consin finished as a finalist. He also paid unofficial visits to Iowa, Illinois and Purdue over the last 17 months. On3 ranks Hulak as the No. 16 pros- pect in Illinois and the No. 52 linebacker nationally in the 2025 class. He has an 87 rating. With his pledge, Hulak follows York (Ill.) Community School defensive line- man Joseph Reiff as the second Chi- cago-area recruit to commit to Notre Dame this cycle. Reiff, a three-star, is On3's No. 10 prospect in Illinois and No. 41 defensive lineman in the country in 2025. Hulak's and Reiff's schools are one mile apart. The Irish offered Hulak during their "Pot of Gold Day" recruiting event March 17. Hulak fills the "money" position vacancy for Notre Dame's 2025 class. Graduate student Marist Liufau cur- rently occupies that spot. Liufau pri- marily plays linebacker. However, he has also played a healthy dose of de- fensive line snaps. Last month, Hu- lak had the oppor- tunity to see first- hand how Liufau operated in his role. Hulak attended the Notre Dame-USC game Oct. 14 — one of his four visits to South Bend. He also attended the pro- gram's "Grill & Chill" cookout July 30 and participated in Evaluation Camp I June 15. But Hulak's first visit, March 25, put the Irish in a prime position to even- tually secure his pledge. "The first time I was down there, I could 100 percent see myself on cam- pus," Hulak told Blue & Gold Illustrated. "When we toured and walked around, I saw myself there. I loved it there. It was awesome." Although the Irish made a strong first impression on Hulak, he still took a pa- tient approach with his recruitment. Those late spring, early summer trips helped Hulak narrow down his recruit- ment. When he returned to Notre Dame for its late-July cookout, Irish director of recruiting Chad B owd e n i n i t i a l ly pushed for Hulak. Still, the Power Five prospect wanted to take his time. As football sea- s o n c o n t i n u e d , Bowden kept up his persistence. Finally, his pitch began to resonate. "He wanted me there," Hulak said. "He knew it was the place for me. His message was always, 'Why not? Why not Notre Dame? You literally have your future set for you after you graduate and everything else?'" Ultimately, Bowden's message made Hulak feel like a priority. "It definitely did," he said. "It really showed how much they wanted me. How much they really prioritized me in this defense that they wanted to build. They just told me how much I mean to them." Eventually, Hulak realized he was meant to play for Notre Dame. He shut down his recruitment privately in favor of the Irish Oct. 31. "Notre Dame has always been a big thing since I grew up compared to other schools," he said. "I'm a big priority to be a part of this defense." Hulak finished his sophomore season with 57 solo stops, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 fumble recoveries and 2 passes broken up. He even blocked a field goal. Hulak helped Immaculate Concep- tion Catholic Prep to a 9-3 record this season. The Knights lost in the third round of the Illinois Class 4A playoffs as the No. 7 seed. In the first 10 games of his junior campaign, he had 36 tackles, 6 stops for loss, 3 sacks, 3 quarterback hur- ries, 5 passes broken up and a blocked punt, according to MaxPreps. Hulak has also boosted the offense by catching 13 passes for 212 yards. On Nov. 9, he was named to the 2023 Red Grange All-County Football Team. In addition to football, Hulak also plays varsity hockey and lacrosse. He reports a 4.6-second 40-yard dash, 305-pound bench press and 500-pound squat. ✦ Notre Dame Collects Another Chicagoland Defender COMMITMENT PROFILE DOMINIK HULAK Hulak, the No. 16 prospect in Illinois and the No. 52 linebacker nationally in the 2025 class per On3, committed to Notre Dame following four trips to South Bend. PHOTO BY KYLE KELLY FILM ANALYSIS "Looking at Dominik Hulak on defense, see- ing where he projects will be interesting. I could see him playing as an edge as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He could grow into putting his hand in the dirt. He has the athleticism and linebacker skills to play off the ball if need be. There's a lot of positional versatility with him as a defensive prospect, and you have to love the play-making ability, athleticism and tough- ness on offense. "You have to be pleased with what he brings as a total football player. He's a guy who could rank as an edge or linebacker. He's currently listed as a linebacker for us, and we'll con- tinue to assess that. He could even rank as an athlete. He brings a lot of skills to the table. He can do a variety of things at Notre Dame." — On3 director of recruiting and scouting Charles Power "Notre Dame has always been a big thing since I grew up compared to other schools. I'm a big priority to be a part of this defense." HULAK

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Nov. 25, 2023