Blue and Gold Illustrated

April 2017

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

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44 APRIL 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY DAVID MCKINNEY In a matter of days, Brentwood (Tenn.) High offensive tackle Cole Mabry went from being a virtually unknown prospect to a recruit with a Notre Dame offer and, finally, the first blocker to commit to the Irish in the class of 2018. It all started back when offensive coordinator Chip Long was still at Memphis, where he found film of Mabry and began recruiting him to the Tigers. Soon after Long took the job in South Bend he stayed on Mabry, telling him all the positives Notre Dame had to offer and inviting him to the school's first Junior Day Feb. 11. Mabry and his father, Jeff, made the trek to South Bend without an offer, but wouldn't leave empty handed. The Tennessee talent received his Irish tender the afternoon of Feb. 11 and made his pledge to join the class by the evening of Feb. 14. It was a quick decision after being offered, but it wasn't one Mabry took lightly. The three-star left South Bend ready to pull the trigger, but decided to think it over a bit. "After we got home, I realized I really loved it up there," Mabry said. "When they made the offer, I was super emotional, and I didn't want to make the decision based off emo- tion. I let it go a few days, and I really thought about it." After those few days of gathering his thoughts, it became abundantly clear that South Bend was the right place to make his future home. "Notre Dame hit every criteria I was looking for in a school," said Mabry, who is Rivals' No. 19 pros- pect in Tennessee and No. 37 offen- sive tackle nationally. "They have great education and great coaches. Coach [Harry] Hiestand is a great coach, as well as Coach [Brian] Kelly and Coach Long." During the visit, Mabry received the opportunity to bond not only with the coaching staff but also with some of his future teammates. That time spent with the current Irish players is what ultimately sealed the deal for Mabry, especially with the upbeat approach after last season. "I got along great with all of them," Mabry said. "I just really felt at home." Now that the process is behind him, Mabry said he's focused on his senior year at Brentwood and getting to Notre Dame as soon as he can. "I'm super pumped up," Mabry said. "I really feel like I made the right decision." Like his son, Jeff Mabry was blown away during the trip to Notre Dame. "The place is amazing," he said. "I knew about the history of it, but I'd never been there before. The de- tail inside every building, it's really amazing. "When we walked through the Ba- silica I said, 'I don't even know what to say. This place is just amazing.'" While the elder Mabry was im- pressed with the facilities surround- ing campus, what really struck him was the effort the coaching staff put into the visit. "The coolest part, aside from meet- ing with Coach Kelly and having him offer Cole, was meeting with Coach Hiestand," Jeff Mabry said. "He was showing some film about teaching technique, scheme and zone plays. "Then, he had Cole's film broken down and said, 'Now here's you in a similar play and here's what we like about you.' I could've sat there for an hour." Before the offer came, Mabry and his father had multiple visits planned and were in communication with several different schools. Once the Irish offered, though, they both knew nothing better would ever come along. "As a parent, I look at it and say from the academic side, it's a win in every way," Jeff Mabry said. "On the football side, it's a win in every way. There's nowhere else like this." ✦ Mabry is the No. 19 prospect in the Volunteer State and the No. 37 offensive tackle in the country according to Rivals. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM COMMITMENT PROFILE COLE MABRY Tennessee Lineman Finds A Home At Notre Dame FILM ANALYSIS Strengths Cole Mabry is a thin player at this point, weighing just 255 pounds, but at 6-6 with long arms he has the frame to get to 300-plus pounds … Lacks ideal size and strength at this point, but is a competitive young man that shows a good motor and a fighter's mentality … Once the size and strength catch up to his attitude, he should be a physical run blocker with the potential to be a top-level pass blocker … Is a quality athlete that shows quick feet and agility … Moves well in space, gets into his pass sets and fires off the ball in the run game … Is comfortable on the second level, and he has the ability to bend well once his technique improves. Areas For Improvement Is more of a project that needs a lot of work … Must add significant weight and strength onto his 255-pound frame, and he must learn to play with a better base … Also needs to improve his footwork and learn to use his hands better … Overall his technique is inconsistent, but once it improves he could be quite effective. — Bryan Driskell "NOTRE DAME HIT EVERY CRITERIA I WAS LOOKING FOR IN A SCHOOL. THEY HAVE GREAT EDUCATION AND GREAT COACHES." MABRY

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