Hunter Littlejohn had already planned to make it to South Bend for a game this fall, but somehow, the 2015 Ohio offensive lineman scanned right past Notre Dame’s date with Oklahoma this weekend. When he did realize the Irish were hosting the Sooners for a showdown, he decided to move up his date and get to South Bend this Saturday.
“The gameday atmosphere, I’m sure it’s going to be awesome,” the 6-foot-3, 265-pounder from Olentangy Liberty High School said.
Littlejohn is also hoping for the opportunity to meet and begin building relationships with the Notre Dame coaches. The junior lineman hadn’t heard from Notre Dame at all until this month when the Irish started sending him a bunch.
“Most of it is pretty basic, irrelevant stuff that a lot of colleges have been sending me,” he said.
“It obviously shows that they have somewhat of an interest in you. Some of the stuff you receive is a little more personal than others. I guess it just proves that they have a little bit of interest in you, they’re watching out for you and you’re on their radar.”
Littlejohn may not have heard much from the Irish before this month, but he’s heard plenty about them.
“They have a lot of history,” he said. “I’m from Columbus, Ohio. I’ve been born and raised in a Buckeye family. Basically the three schools you hear most about from here are Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame.
“It’s definitely one of those programs with a lot of history. They definitely care about their football there. I’ve only seen the campus once back when I was in eighth grade, but I’m sure the passion for football there is unreal.”
He already holds offers from Indiana, Illinois, Boston College and Akron.
“It’s kind of a relief,” Littlejohn said of the early offers. “At the same time, it’s a little overwhelming. I get about an average of 13 letters a day in the mail. But at the same time, I know I’m always going to have something to fall back on if anything were to happen.”
In addition to Notre Dame and his offers, Littlejohn is hearing from a host of other schools.
“I went to West Virginia for a camp and I had a really good camp there,” he said. “I didn’t get an offer, but they really liked what they saw from me and they told me to keep in touch as much as possible.
“I’ve been getting a few hand-written letters from the area coach from Michigan State. They seem to have quite an interest. I’ve gotten game invites from Kentucky, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Nebraska.”
Littlejohn has already taken a trip visited Indiana this fall and has plans to visit Penn State, Michigan State, Boston College and Illinois as well, “I’m going to be really busy.”
He believes he had a good showing on the camp circuit this summer, posting sub-5.0 40-yard dashes regularly to show his athleticism.
“Most coaches think I have really good athletic ability for a lineman,” Littlejohn said. “A lot of coaches have never seen me in person, but they really like what they saw on my sophomore film. I think what they see there is my ability to pick up a linebacker, I can make downfield blocks and I guess I’m pretty good in pass protection.”
But after comparing his early junior film to last year’s, Littlejohn knows he’s become a much more dominating player.
“One thing I’ve noticed so far about my junior film that wasn’t so relevant in my sophomore film is through getting stronger, I’ve gotten much more explosive,” he said. “I’m making a lot more pancake blocks. That’s something that wasn’t as relevant in last year’s film.
“When I go back and watch it myself, it is noticeable that I’m a pretty athletic kid who can move downfield well and make blocks when they need to be made.”
Relationships with coaches will play a major role in his decision along with finding an atmosphere that feels like home and a place he’ll want to be each day.