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Chicagoland defender Dominik Hulak commits to Notre Dame football

The weekly conversations between 2025 recruit Dominik Hulak and Notre Dame football director of recruiting Chad Bowden always circled back to the idea of committing.

Hulak, a three-star linebacker from Elmhurst (Ill.) IC Catholic Prep, didn’t plan on making a decision at this point in his recruitment. But when Bowden brought it up last week, something changed.

“He just kept going on about how Notre Dame’s the best place for me to be,” Hulak told Inside ND Sports. “After a while, something clicked in my head. Why not Notre Dame?”



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He told Bowden that evening he was, in fact, ready to commit to the Irish. Bowden told him to sleep on it. Hulak called Bowden the next morning at 6:45 and delivered the news to head coach Marcus Freeman.

“He went nuts,” Hulak said. “Chad went nuts again.”

Hulak gave everyone else a chance to go nuts Friday morning when he announced publicly his Notre Dame commitment.

“I can definitely see myself exceling here,” Hulak said. “It shows that I’m a big priority to this coaching staff as they have been recruiting me really hard. It shows that I’m going to be special within part of that defense and whatever else I’m part of.”

Notre Dame recruited the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Hulak as a vyper defensive end with linebacker versatility. Defensive coordinator Al Golden and defensive line coach Al Washington worked him out as a potential pass rusher during a Notre Dame camp in June. The Irish offered Hulak three months earlier.

Hulak primarily plays linebacker for IC Catholic Prep, but he’s added some defensive end responsibilities during his junior season. Through 11 games, Hulak has been credited with 36 solo tackles, six tackles for loss and three sacks. He’s added 13 catches for 212 yards as a tight end.

Bowden is expected to attend Hulak’s game Saturday when the Knights (9-2) play against St. Laurence (8-3) on Saturday in the IHSA Class 4A state quarterfinals. IC Catholic Prep won the state championship at the Class 3A level last year.


Rivals ranks Hulak as the No. 19 inside linebacker and the No. 11 prospects in Illinois for the 2025 class. Rivals national recruiting analyst Clint Cosgrove expects Hulak to be in line for a rating/ranking boost in the next update.

“When you evaluate a kid like him, you look for what separates him from the others around him,” Cosgrove said. “Two things really stand out right away: his size and his overall athletic ability. The kid is an athlete. He’s a big dude that can run. That definitely makes him stand out.

"You love the size. You love the frame. You love his ability to move. He runs like a receiver despite being 6-3, 225. It seems like the kid grows every time I watch him or have seen him in the past.”

Hulak became the third defensive end and fourth defensive lineman to commit to Notre Dame’s 2025 class of eight commitments. Four-star defensive tackle Davion Dixon committed to the Irish in April. Three-star defensive ends CJ May and Joseph Reiff followed suit in September.

Rivals continues to rank Notre Dame’s 2025 class as third best in the country behind No. 1 Georgia and No. 2 Alabama following the addition of Hulak.

“When you watch him on defense, you see a lot of position versatility,” Cosgrove said. “He’s played anything from middle linebacker to lining up on the edge. He’s phenomenal at rushing the passer. He’s a thumper. He’s a physical kid who loves football. You can see it through the film.

"On top of that, you love his ability to play in space. A lot of guys with his frame are typically that Midwest mike linebacker, old-school style. He’s not that. He can play in space. He can rush the passer.”


Washington will be tasked with developing Hulak into a pass rusher at the college level. The Irish have often opted to recruit high school linebackers as future vypers with likes of Jordan Botelho, Joshua Burnham and Junior Tuihalamaka.

“I love coach Washington,” Hulak said. When I first talked with him, the immediate reaction was this guy is awesome. His energy and who he is as a person is awesome.”

Hulak was last on Notre Dame’s campus for the 48-20 victory over USC on Oct. 14. It was Hulak’s first time attending a game in Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish defense put on a show in forcing three interceptions by quarterback Caleb Williams and sacking him six times.

Hulak saw something worth joining.

“It definitely showed up in my mind. This is an awesome defense,” Hulak said. “Being able to be part of coach Golden’s defense, it means a lot in every way.”


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