For Keenan Centlivre, it was a dream come true.
Not only would he be attending Notre Dame, his family’s school, but he’d also get the chance to play football for the Fighting Irish.
Following his performance at Notre Dame’s four-day camp at the end of June, the Fort Wayne native was offered the opportunity to join the Irish as a preferred walk-on during a meeting with assistant Mike Elston and head coach Brian Kelly.
“It was really cool,” the 6-foot-6, 200-pound receiver from Bishop Dwenger High School said.
“It was a dream come true. I’ve come here my whole life. We’ve always had season tickets and family history at the school. I’ve always been a fan, but being a player is definitely going to be a dream come true.”
Centlivre’s family history with Notre Dame dates back decades and continues today.
“My grandfather went here and my great grandfather went there,” said Centlivre. “My great grandfather actually donated money in memory of his son, who was killed in an accident when he was 18. They actually have a hall here named after his last name, which is my first name, Keenan Hall.
“There’s a lot of family history. My mom’s always told me to come here my whole life and it didn’t seem like it’d be a reality, but now it is.”
Centlivre is currently recovering from a broken collarbone he had surgery on last month. He hopes to start moving it soon and is looking forward to getting his weight and strength back. With his size and 4.63-speed, Centlivre will join the Irish as a receiver, but could develop into a tight end.
“I definitely have a height advantage being 6-6 as a receiver and not losing speed being as tall as I am,” he said. “I like to get strong, but at the same time not losing any speed and remaining agile.”
Centlivre knew this summer’s camp was his chance to show the Irish staff what he had.
“I just made sure to give it my all the whole time,” he said. “I knew they didn’t want to see any weak links, so I made sure to give it 100 percent 100 percent of the time, even that fourth day.”
This fall, he’s been on campus for each of Notre Dame’s home games, including Saturday night’s victory over USC.
“It was great,” he said. “It was fun to watch. It’s always a good time.”
With so many recruits on campus visiting, Centlivre had the chance to watch Saturday night’s game from above the student section.
“I’d never been up there before and it was kind of cool,” he said.
He enjoyed the lively atmosphere of a primetime game.
“People had time to tailgate all day,” he laughed. “Their spirits were alive for sure.”
A year from now, Centlivre will get to experience the atmosphere from the sidelines.
“I couldn’t be more excited. I’m so thrilled. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime and I’m willing to take full advantage of it.”