After one trip to Notre Dame, Sam Mustipher knew he’d be coming back. After a second, the 2014 Maryland offensive lineman was pretty sure he’d be calling it home.
The 6-foot-4, 290-pounder from Our Lady of Good Counsel visited South Bend in January and then got back for a second trip in April before offering his pledge to the Irish a few weeks later.
Now, Mustipher is planning his next visit, although he isn’t quite sure when it’ll be.
Mustipher was thinking he might be able to get back down to South Bend after participating in this weekend’s Rivals Five-Star Challenge, but that’s not going to happen. He knew there was a chance that wouldn’t work, but was hoping to reconnect with fellow Irish offensive line pledges Jimmy Byrne and Quenton Nelson at the Irish’s camp later this month. Now, a school trip will bring him to New York and won’t allow him to get back to Maryland in time to get out to the Midwest for that weekend.
He’ll get back eventually and he’s already looking forward to it.
“I think now it’ll be a little bit different,” he said. “My last visit up there, I felt good about it. I felt really good, but now I’m looking at it as home. I’ll be there for four or possibly five years. Now when I get back up there, I’m going to see it as home and get an even better feel than I had from my first two visits. I’m pretty sure it’ll be different, but I can’t wait to experience it.”
Mustipher has enjoyed an overwhelming reaction to his decision to choose Notre Dame over schools like Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Stanford and Tennessee among dozens of other offers.
“It’s great,” he said. “I get random congratulations from people I’ve never met before. As far as being committed, it’s a great feeling. I get plenty of schools coming through. Some coaches act like they don’t know me because I’m committed to Notre Dame. I’ve had others who have come and told me, ‘Congratulations.’ That speaks for Notre Dame. I actually had a coach from USC come up to me and tell me congratulations on my commitment to Notre Dame.
“That really speaks volumes for the program at Notre Dame. They may be rivals with a program like USC, but you have to respect a program like Notre Dame. That’s something I’m really starting to understand. It’s one of the most prestigious programs in the country and I’ve got to represent it as such.”
Mustipher is helping to lead the charge to spread that feeling to Notre Dame’s other top targets. He put some serious work in on Nelson and believes it can help in the future.
“You see the guys you could possibly be playing with in college and to see that they want you to come to their school because of your talent level and ability to play football is great,” he said. “This class we have coming in is a great group of guys. I got a chance to get to know Quenton and his family very well. They’re great people and it speaks for itself. Quenton is a great kid, a down to earth kid. He’s a high-character guy and the kind of guy I want to be surrounded by.
“On Twitter, it shows. We barely know each other and we’re already very close. I can’t wait to get up there and show those guys what we have to offer for the football program.”