Even before signing Drue Tranquill in the Class of 2014, Notre Dame was already recruiting his younger brother, 2015 prospect Justin Tranquill.
The younger Tranquill landed an invite to the Irish’s Junior Day on Saturday from Notre Dame assistant Mike Elston.
“I’m definitely excited to put that down,” the 5-foot-11, 185-pound athlete from Fort Wayne, Ind., said.
“I’ve seen various parts of the campus, but I haven’t really gotten to see everything. I’ve been into the Gug and I’ve seen the Stadium and stuff like that. I’m really looking forward to getting to know the coaches better because obviously whenever we went up, it was more for Drue. I’m excited to get to know the coaches more, seeing more of the facilities, getting around the campus and seeing what Notre Dame football is all about.”
Tranquill has stayed in touch with Elston via direst messaging on Twitter and through his brother.
“We bounce DMs back and forth on Twitter every now and then just to stay in touch,” he said. “Some of our communications even come through Drue since Drue stays in close contact with him. Coach Elston will just tell him like if they were talking about me in their meetings or something like that and Drue will relay that to me.
“I know one thing Notre Dame does is they recruit guys out West who are far away first and near the end of it, they start recruiting in-state guys. It’s exciting for me to have the opportunity to go to this Junior Day and it’s only February.”
After watching both brothers play live last fall, Elston told Justin he thought he could definitely be a BCS running back, but now the Irish see him as an athlete who could play on either side of the ball.
“Originally, they said I wouldn’t be able to play defense for them because their old defensive coordinator had a stature in mind for all of his defensive players, he wanted them all over 6 feet,” Tranquill shared. “But since they’ve got their new defensive coordinator, Coach (Brian) VanGorder, he said he’s not as big on that.
“He really just looks for the guys with instincts and talent, so he’s not going to let size determine where a kid can play and where he can’t. I think it’s opened back up. Originally, they just said an offensive athlete, but after they’ve seen me at defense, I believe that has a possibility of changing.”
Tranquill had the opportunity to show what he can do as a defensive back at a couple recent Core Six events and walked away with MVP honors from both.
“My aggression and speed are two things I’m able to show out there,” he said. “Sometimes during games, I don’t always get thrown to, so it’s kind of hard to just sit out there at corner. It’s hard to get a lot of film if I’m not thrown to a lot.
“At these combines, we’re doing one-on-ones and the quarterbacks are forced to throw to you and that can really show. If I’m pressing a guy, I can show my speed when I’m running with him. I can show my fluidity and my natural instincts, I guess.”
Tranquill already holds offers from schools like Purdue, Illinois, Indiana and Cincinnati among others. He’s still waiting on an offer from the Irish, but even if one comes, it’s not a lock that he’d commit on the spot.
“A lot of times, people automatically assume I’m going to commit to Notre Dame as soon as I get an offer,” he said. “It is a dream of mine to be able to play with Drue at the next level, but I have to give every school a fair look.
“I can’t make a decision solely based off where Drue goes because at the end of the day, it’s got to be something that best benefits me as well. I’m not going to rush things or hurry into any things based off my emotions. I’m just going to do a lot of praying and wherever I find peace at heart is going to be the school that best fits me. I’d definitely say it gives them an advantage because that is a dream of mine, but at the same time, I’ve got to look into every school and give them all a fair shot.”