2014 Maryland offensive lineman Sam Mustipher traveled to Notre Dame this weekend hoping to land an offer. During a meeting with Brian Kelly on Saturday afternoon, that wish became a reality as he was informed that he had an offer from the Irish.
“I was meeting with the offensive line coach and they said I had to go to meet with Coach Kelly for a little bit,” the 6-foot-4, 290-pounder from Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) said. “I went into his office and sat down on the couch with my dad. He said, ‘I wanted to personally let you know that you have $63,000 a year to go to the University of Notre Dame.’
“He asked me if I was excited about that and I said, ‘Yeah, that’s pretty awesome.’”
Notre Dame joins schools like Florida, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Maryland among others on Mustipher’s early offer list.
“(Kelly) said, ‘I’m really excited to be recruiting you. I’m looking forward to continuing this recruiting process with you,’” Mustipher recounted.
“We spoke about getting back up there with my mom and my little brother so they can tour the campus and get a feel for the program.”
Mustipher enjoyed the entire visit.
“It was great,” he said. “Honestly, the visit itself went above and beyond my expectations, but then getting to meet with Coach Kelly, sitting in his office, seeing all of the rings he has from previous schools and championships, seeing it and getting a feel for the direction of this program was pretty awesome.
“He’s definitely a down to earth guy. He spoke with me just like he would speak with any other player. It was nice.”
Notre Dame’s tradition was the thing that stood out most to Mustipher.
“You talk about the tradition with a lot of guys and people see Notre Dame Fighting Irish and say, ‘That’s a traditional program,’” he said. “But for me, I didn’t really understand what that encompassed. You go to the stadium and you see they still have wooden bleachers. They don’t have any advertisements within the stadium. It’s all about what you do as far as your athletic ability on the football field.
“That’s something that the coaches definitely emphasized. They’re not here to make money off you. They want you to get the best education and most out of football as possible. That was something that I really enjoyed about the experience.”
Mustipher had the chance to eat dinner with some of the current members of the team.
“I spoke with Zack Martin, the left tackle,” he said. “He’s a pretty cool guy. He told me the next time I come up to let him know.”
Mustipher also enjoyed the time he spent with Irish offensive line coach Harry Hiestand.
“He’s a cool guy,” the 2014 offensive lineman said. “He’s calm, but he told me he’s going to get in me if I do decide to come up there. On the field, he’s going to push me to the best of my ability and that’s something I’m OK with. I definitely enjoyed talking with him. He told me things I could work on for next year.
“We spoke about what position I’d be playing. He likes me more as an inside guy. He felt I’d be playing a guard spot with my athletic ability and ability to pull and speed and leverage I have coming off the ball.”
Mustipher is being recruited by other programs as a tackle, but position won’t be a factor in his decision.
“It doesn’t matter at all,” he said. “Whatever piece I could fit in to help the program win the national championship, that’s all that matters to me.”
Mustipher had the chance to spend some time with the other visiting recruits. He didn’t get to talk too much with 2014 Irish offensive line commit Jimmy Byrne, but the two plan on catching up more soon. Mustipher is already eyeing his next visit to South Bend.
“I might come up there for a spring practice,” he said. “This time I only came up with my dad. I want to make sure I bring my mother and little brother back up with me. If I’m not committed before the time of official visits, I’ll definitely be back there for an official.”
Mustipher isn’t ready to name any program his leader, but Notre Dame definitely made a great impression.
“No favorites as of right now, but with this visit, they’re definitely going to be high on my list. This was a great visit for me. The coaching staff, getting a feel for the campus and what it’s going to be like if I come up there and it was great overall. Bar none, this is one of the best I’ve had. I’m just looking to build on this throughout the process.”