Centennial (Champaign, Ill.) quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald has always had the dream to one day play Division I football and knew if he set his mind to it, along with his work ethic, collegiate programs would probably come calling at some point in the future.
What the 2015 prospect didn't realize was it would happen this soon though.
“Recruiting’s been going really well so far and I've been extremely blessed,” said Fitzgerald. “On May 7th, Illinois was first to offer me and I heard from Indiana’s head coach (Kevin Wilson) last week. I've already visited a few places like Purdue, Duke and North Carolina. Michigan, Stanford has also stopped by my school to check in on me this spring, so things been pretty busy.
“In early June, Yale offered me the opportunity to play for their football team. Technically, the Ivy League doesn't offer scholarships, and they do things a bit differently, but recruiting has been really interesting and right now it’s kind of fun.”
Now that the 6-foot-3, 220-pound signal caller has received at least one Division I offer (with more than likely a lot more to come) it looks like that dream of his will finally become a reality.
“This is what I've been working so hard for the last couple years and it's nice to be able to have some success, but I know I must continue to work hard and get better every day,” he reiterated. “You can always improve your accuracy and arm strength, but I'm also looking to be more of a leader, both on and off the field. Being a quarterback, you want to always set a good example for your teammates, so you have to be one willing to put in the work to do so.”
Fitzgerald has already accomplished quite a bit over his short football career, both on the field and in the classroom. Not only does the talented sophomore carry a 4.0 GPA, but he also passed for over 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2012. Watching him on tape, it's easy to see why so many college recruiters are starting to take notice, because he seems to have everything you're looking for in a prototypical quarterback.
“I would definitely say I'm a pass first quarterback, but I'm athletic enough to get out-of-pocket and make a play on the run if I have to,” explained Fitzgerald describing his playing style. “I feel I'm like a field general and sort of a coach on the field. I'm not afraid to sit in the pocket and take a hit if I need to. I'll do whatever it takes to help my team succeed.”
One program he has yet to hear from thus far is the Irish, but he's hoping that will change in the very near future.
“There's definitely a lot of interest in Notre Dame,” he claimed. “They recruit the best players in the nation every year and if I had the opportunity to be recruited by them, it would be truly an honor. “It's a terrific school and its great both academically and athletically. Those are two aspects that are very important to me and will play a big part in my decision later on down the road.”
The Centennial standout admits he's already had a slight taste of what the Notre Dame experience is all about and it seemed to have left a very memorable impression on this young man. If the Irish decide they're interested in pursuing the Illinois native, he would be happy to head back to South Bend for a second time to get the full exposure of the atmosphere.
“I went up to Notre Dame to see a game a couple years ago, I think it was the Navy game when Jimmy Clausen was quarterback, and that was just an awesome experience,” recalled Fitzgerald. “Even walking into the stadium and seeing all the names and banners you can't help but feel the tradition. We got to go see all the Heisman trophies and just to have the opportunity to see those was awesome.
“I hope Notre Dame decides to get in contact with me because I'm definitely hoping to get back up there again this year for another visit, but this time as a recruit.”