Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2016

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 77 of 99

78 PRESEASON 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY COREY BODDEN Linebacker Matthew Bauer, a two- sport star at Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep, wanted to give baseball a shot in the college ranks as well as football. How- ever, the Notre Dame staff wasn't sure if playing both would be ideal given his potential position in Brian Van- Gorder's defense. This summer, Bauer and his fam- ily discussed whether it was the right choice to continue to pursue playing both sports in college. Once he made his decision to go football only, Bauer found his new home at Notre Dame, committing right after receiving his offer from Brian Kelly Aug. 3. "I had to have a heart-to-heart with myself and my family this summer to decide if I really wanted to play base- ball, and I decided against it," Bauer said. "That was keeping the Irish from originally offering me. Once we put that out of the way I feel like that made their decision to offer me a lot easier. "That was where the connection was made, and the choice to go to school there was made, too." The Irish checked off all the boxes for Bauer. "Notre Dame is just the right place for me because it's that combined place of excellence," proclaimed the four-star linebacker. "Everything I can ask for, it has. It's a fantastic place. "It hits all my little things that I could want from the academics to the coaching staff to the college life to the alumni. I like how I can do, how they do service hours and how there is a spiritual aspect. It was a pretty easy choice for me once I actually got see it and meet everybody." Kelly certainly was elated to receive Bauer's commitment to the Irish. "I don't think he was really expect- ing it," Bauer said. "His face lit up, and he welcomed me right into the family. It was a great experience. "He was just amazing with it. He got some photos, he was happy and dancing around." The objective of the early August trip was mainly for Bauer's father to see everything Notre Dame could of- fer his son. Bauer described the visit as a "great time." He said he knew going into the visit he would commit if he received the offer. Bauer said he would describe him- self as a player who plays hard at all times. "I would say that I play with no breaks," Bauer said. "I'm going to make mistakes because I'm human, but I'm going to make them with 100 percent effort and create a lot of may- hem at middle linebacker. I'm going to be obsessed with the game as Coach VanGorder says, learn from him and try to be the best football player I can be." When players of future classes com- mit early in the process, decommit- ments tend to be a worry from fans. That does not appear to be the case for Bauer. "My word is my oath, and I can't break it," Bauer said. "I'm going to Notre Dame." Cathedral Prep is one of the state's premier programs, which makes Bau- er's success the last two seasons more impressive. According to head coach Michael Mischler, Bauer is just one of six players in the history of his school to play varsity as a freshman. "I think he's an exceptionally tal- ented young man," Mischler said. "He's everything you want in a high school player. He's got the size, he's ex- tremely explosive and has good lateral movement, he's fast, he's quick. "Most importantly he's a good kid with great character, and he's a very smart kid. To me, he's the full pack- age." The 6-3, 216-pound Bauer said he will return to Notre Dame Sept. 17 for the Michigan State game and may come back the following month to see the Irish play Stanford, if his schedule permits. Bauer racked up 111 tackles, 11 tack- les for loss and 3.5 sacks last season, and was the only sophomore on the Pennsylvania Football Writers' Class AAA All-State Team. Rivals listed him as the No. 5 inside linebacker and No. 116 overall prospect nationally in its initial class of 2018 rankings. ✦ FILM ANALYSIS Strengths Matthew Bauer is perfectly suited for the Mike linebacker position … An extremely physi- cal run defender that plays the game with a great deal of energy and passion … A highly instinctive defender that makes quick reads and sound decisions … Once he makes his read, he flies downhill and attacks the line of scrimmage with a great deal of force … Takes good angles to the ball and knows how to properly avoid and disengage from blockers … A quality athlete that uses his instincts to play faster than he likely will test … Stays light on his feet and redi- rects well, which allows him to be an explosive in-the-box run defender … Is long and rangy, showing good pursuit skills to the perimeter. Areas For Improvement There really isn't much wrong with his game outside of normal concerns that come with being young … He must continue filling out his frame and getting stronger, especially in the lower body … His frame is outstanding and he should easily get to more than 235 pounds, but he is not there yet … Has a tendency to play high when attacking through the line, so learning to bend more will help his game … Also needs more experience in coverage. — Bryan Driskell COMMITMENT PROFILE MATTHEW BAUER Notre Dame Lands 2018 Pennsylvania Linebacker Rivals rates Bauer as a four-star recruit, and the No. 5 inside linebacker and No. 116 overall player in the junior class. PHOTO BY NICK LUCERO/RIVALS.COM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Preseason 2016