2021 OL Rocco Spindler Commits To Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame beat out LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and many others for its newest commitment.
Clarkston (Mich.) High class of 2021 offensive guard Rocco Spindler announced his decision to commit to the Fighting Irish in front of friends, family and media at Clarkston High School on Saturday evening.
The 6-5, 315-pounder has been a top priority for Notre Dame offensive line coach Jeff Quinn and Co. since they offered him in September 2018. The Fighting Irish have been all over Spindler, who is ranked as the nation’s No. 3 offensive guard and No. 56 overall prospect by Rivals. It was a close battle between the Irish and Wolverines, but Notre Dame won out for him.
“Notre Dame is an amazing program,” Spindler previously said. “They have very challenging academics. They’ve recruited the hell out of me. That’s a national championship team and academics. It’s hard to compete with that.
“I want to play the best competition, and with them not being in a conference, they can play those teams.”
Spindler’s relationship with Quinn played a huge role in his decision to pick the Irish.
“We’ve sat down and done chalk talks; Coach Quinn believes I’m the top offensive lineman in this class,” Spindler added. “He believes he needs to get me to be part of their team.
“I really love the guy. He’s a great guy. He loves spending time with his players outside of football. He takes care of his offensive linemen. He really respects them as players and values them. He wants to help you succeed in the classroom, on the field, and potentially in the NFL.”
With Spindler’s pledge, Notre Dame has four offensive line commitments in the 2021 class. He joins Fridley (Minn.) Totino-Grace’s Joe Alt, Chicago Marist’s Pat Coogan and Avon (Ind.) High’s Blake Fisher. In Fisher and Spindler, Notre Dame has two top-60 recruits per Rivals.
Spindler’s original plan for his recruiting process was to take five official visits in the spring and announce his commitment in May. However, the coronavirus pandemic shut down recruiting trips, and Spindler decided he wanted to wait the dead period out so he could take his trips.
However, after talking to college coaches, he came to the realization that it was unlikely trips would be able to occur this year. Spindler pushed up his timeline to August, and it worked out in the end for the Fighting Irish.
Meeting A Legend
Spindler attended a work convention in Mexico with his father in late February, and 83-year-old Lou Holtz, who led the Fighting Irish to a national championship in 1988, was a speaker at the event.
“We had no idea that Coach Holtz was even going to be there,” Spindler said.
The four-star prospect had already enjoyed his week, and meeting Holtz put a stamp on his time south of the United States border. Holtz gave a motivational speech to the 250 people at the convention, and Spindler and his father got to speak to him for about 30 minutes.
It was Rocco’s first time meeting Holtz, but his father, Marc, was already familiar with the iconic coach. The elder Spindler played defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Panthers before spending eight years in the NFL. Holtz and the Notre Dame staff recruited Spindler to play for the Irish.
Spindler’s father and Holtz bantered for a bit about Pitt defeating Notre Dame 30-22 in 1987, when Marc was a freshman.
“Coach Holtz’s eyes just lit up when my dad introduced himself,” Spindler said. “He said, ‘You had a really great career and wished I recruited you a little bit harder to get you to come to Notre Dame.’”
Then Spindler joined the conversation and introduced himself to Holtz, explaining that he was a target for the Irish on the offensive line for the 2021 class.
“He really inspired me with the stories he told and all the messages he gave about life, recruiting, football and Notre Dame,” Spindler said. “It was crazy. We found out the day before that he’d be there. I was like, ‘Wow, that could be a sign there.’”
Whether it was intentional or not on Holtz’s part, he certainly helped Notre Dame’s cause in recruiting Spindler.
“I’ve heard all the things people say [about Notre Dame] — four for 40 years and that was his motto,” Spindler explained. “He said that Notre Dame is the place to go and gave me all of these reasons and factors. The stories he told me were really motivational.”
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