Avon Lake (Avon Lake, Ohio) lineman Ben Oxley has a dream.
The 6-foot-6, 255 pound prospect from the 2014 class is hoping to have the opportunity to follow in his father's footsteps, as well as former Irish player and brother, Sean Oxley. That's to attend the University of Notre Dame.
“I'm very interested in Notre Dame,” said Oxley enthusiastically. “My brother played there and my father also went there as well, so my family’s been a Notre Dame family for a long time. We’ve pretty much gone to every single game, since I was a little kid, and you could say it's kind of a dream school of mine.”
The Ohio product took a chance earlier this year and traveled up to South Bend to participate in Notre Dame's lineman camp. Oxley hoped he'd be able to gauge just what Notre Dame's interest was in him at that point of time.
“Up at camp, I asked them what position they wanted me at and they said linebacker,” he shared. “That's the position my brother played for them, so that's where I worked out for camp. I kind of wished I could've worked out with the offensive line, but at that time, I didn't know where my recruiting was going to take me. Pretty much every camp I went to this summer I was working with the defensive lineman, but Notre Dame was the last camp I went to and I was happy to work where they wanted me to.”
Sean Oxley, Ben’s older brother, walked on for the Irish as a freshman and continued to be a part of the team throughout his college career. His hard work was going to pay off last season, when he won two starting positions on special teams, but a torn ACL put those plans on hold for most of the year.
“When he was a kid, just like me, Notre Dame was his dream school,” explained the lineman. “He’s told me it's just an unreal experience. He just graduated last year and he's gone to every single game this year. It was just a dream come true for him and we talk about it all the time.
“He said when Brian Kelly and his staff came in, it was a complete game-changer. He was a walk-on, so he experienced the rough side of things for a while, but he wouldn't change a moment and says it's the best thing he's ever done.”
Even though Oxley hopes that he might get a shot to wear the blue and gold like the rest of his family, the Avon Park standout has been setting his sights on the collegiate programs that are showing him the most attention for the time being.
“Recruiting's been going well and has been taken off as of late, which is nice,” he claimed. “I've had a lot of coaches stopping in to say hi and everything’s starting to come to fruition. I've already taken a lot of game visits and as of now, the only offer I have is from Bowling Green, but other schools are interested as well. I’m also hearing from Northwestern, Cincinnati, Maryland, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Duke.
“Honestly, I never thought this time would come, but I'm loving everything about it and it's been a great experience.”
Wherever the talented junior decides to go, he knows the place will have to be special and have all the right tools for his future.
“Number one for me will always be academics,” said Oxley. “My choice is going to come down to the academic prestige of a school, as well as the programs that they offer. I've pretty much decided that I'm going to go into pre-med, because I'm inspiring to be an orthopedic doctor, and being involved in sports medicine in some shape or form.
“Location might matter, because I'd like to stay in the Midwest, but I'm liking Duke a lot. That would probably be as far as I would go. I'll also consider the interaction with the coaches and I've been blessed because every single coaching staff I've spoken to has been amazing.”
Though Oxley would welcome Irish interest, he plans on giving each school that recruits him a fair shake..
“I had a chance to speak to Brian Kelly earlier this year at their camp and he was as nice as can be. Obviously, I love the campus and I think Notre Dame is a respectable University. They have all the things academically that I'm personally looking for.
"While Notre Dame has always been a favorite, I'm very open and receptive at this early stage of recruiting and I'm looking for the"best fit" for me academically, as well as football-wise."