Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 17, 2016

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

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46 OCT. 17, 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED PREP PROFILES Notre Dame has extended only two offers the last two months in the 2017 class, with one to La Mirada (Calif.) High four-star athlete Elijah Hicks. The 6-0, 185-pound Hicks will now take an official visit to Notre Dame for the Stanford game Oct. 15. He knew right from the get-go the Irish would be near the top of his list. "It was big," Hicks said of the of- fer. "Notre Dame is one of the most popular college football teams there is. I was really excited, and I'm not going to downplay it. "At the time I had a lot of offers … I don't get too excited anymore, but I knew exactly that it would be one of the top schools on my list." Hicks gave several reasons why the offer was special to him. "It's Notre Dame," he said. "Just their tradition and how they play for each other. They play really hard and Coach [Brian] Kelly and Coach [Todd] Lyght, I feel like they could help get me to the next level in the NFL." Lyght, Notre Dame's defensive backs coach, was the one who offered Hicks, and the two have continued to strengthen their relationship. "We talk all the time," Hicks said of Lyght. "He just told me he watched my film, and he loved the way I play. … He saw how versatile I am. I can play corner, safety or nickel. I'm real flexible as a player. He said he would like for me to play for him." Hicks, who is rated as a four-star prospect and the No. 27 athlete na- tionally by Rivals, had been in con- tact with former Irish defensive coor- dinator Brian VanGorder. He respects the decision made by the program. "I talked to him a couple of times," Hicks said of VanGorder. "I heard what was going on, and I appreciate that Coach Kelly and whoever else made the decision took into consid- eration how the players were feeling. They did what they felt was best for the team and the players. "I had no problem with that once I found out the reason behind it." Hicks hasn't compiled a list of favor- ites, but Notre Dame would be in very good shape if he did. His only official visit so far has been to Northwestern, and besides his Notre Dame visit he does not have any others set up. — Corey Bodden Lucas (Texas) Lovejoy linebacker Bumper Pool is an attention getter, not just for his unique name but also for his on-field talent. Pool — a four-star recruit, and the No. 8 inside linebacker and No. 248 overall prospect in the class of 2018 according to Rivals — holds offers from Alabama, Baylor, LSU, Michi- gan, Texas A&M and Washington, among several others. Notre Dame has yet to offer Pool, but the four-star inside linebacker said the Irish were in contact with him early on Sept. 1 — when the con- tact period for 2018 prospects began — and invited him to South Bend to see what the school has to offer. "They talked to me that morn- ing right after practice," Pool said. "They've just been getting to know me. They wanted to make sure I was invited to come to a game this season. "It was just an introduction, and that was the first introduction that I've had to Notre Dame." Pool said he hopes to make good on that invitation and attend an Irish home game in 2016. He wants to see all the good things he's heard about Notre Dame for himself. "Notre Dame is a great program," he said. "They have been, and they will be. I've got a whole bunch of friends that are Notre Dame fans, so it's pretty cool just to hear from them." Should an offer come, that desire to see Notre Dame would only intensify. "I definitely would be interested," Pool said. "I would love to go up there for a game and see everything." It would be a long trip. It's just less than 1,000 miles from Lovejoy to Notre Dame's campus. Still, Pool said distance will not have much of an impact on his decision. "It's just where I'm comfortable on campus and comfortable with the coaching staff, and being able to see myself up there for four years," he explained. Wherever he ends up, Pool said that the recruiting process has been a humbling experience. "It's crazy to think you could be playing for these great programs when a couple years ago you were just playing middle school football," Pool said. "It's truly been a blessing, and I've loved every second of it." — David McKinney California Athlete Excited To Receive An Irish Offer Texas Linebacker Hopes To Visit Notre Dame "AT THE TIME I HAD A LOT OF OFFERS … I DON'T GET TOO EXCITED ANYMORE, BUT I KNEW EXACTLY THAT IT WOULD BE ONE OF THE TOP SCHOOLS ON MY LIST." HICKS ON NOTRE DAME OFFERING HIM "NOTRE DAME IS A GREAT PROGRAM. THEY HAVE BEEN, AND THEY WILL BE. I'VE GOT A WHOLE BUNCH OF FRIENDS THAT ARE NOTRE DAME FANS, SO IT'S PRETTY COOL JUST TO HEAR FROM THEM." POOL ELIJAH HICKS ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ La Mirada H.S. La Mirada, Calif. Status: Offered Class: 2017 Position: Athlete Ht.: 6-0 • Wt.: 185 Rivals Rankings: No. 27 ath- lete nationally and No. 36 player in California BUMPER POOL ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ Lovejoy H.S. Lucas, Texas Status: Interest Class: 2018 Position: Linebacker Ht.: 6-1 • Wt.: 217 Rivals Rankings: No. 8 inside linebacker and No. 248 overall player in the junior class

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