Parents of Blake Fisher Detail Why Notre Dame Was Best Family Fit
Notre Dame landed an elite prospect in its 2021 class when Avon (Ind.) offensive tackle Blake Fisher announced his intentions to play for the Fighting Irish. Fisher is ranked as the No. 14 prospect in the country, according to Rivals.com.
Fisher held 30 scholarship offers, and he and his parents evaluated each and every school. Blake's parents wanted to figure out with their son what he wanted in a school. Luckily for Notre Dame, the most important factor strongly played in the Irish's favor.
"Academics continued to be, by far, the most No. 1 thing for him as far as a school was concerned," Fisher's father, Mark, said.
Mark added that having great relationships with a school's coaching staff, players on the roster, the community itself and the opportunity to play early in Blake's career were also important.
Again, the Fisher family did its research. They did their best to leave no stone unturned.
"Having visited Notre Dame on several occasions, we really were impressed with how we were treated," Mark continued. "In talking to other parents and people who either had kids there or had gone to Notre Dame, there was a lot of consistency continuing to churn in our communications with those individuals. That was very important to us."
"Over time, as the offers started rolling in, we had to sit down and spreadsheet all of the universities," Fisher's mother, Erika, said. "What they had to offer, what schools did not meet what was on that list and just really put some time and effort into researching the universities, what majors they offered and looking at from a holistic point of view, not just one-sided. We really had to find that University that was going to give both [strong academics and football] and him be able to excel at them equally."
Fisher's parents give a lot of credit to the football coaching staff at Avon High School for taking a vested interest in developing Blake as a player and a young man. Erika and Mark feel that Blake will get the same kind of treatment in South Bend.
"It's clear that this is something that's evident at Notre Dame," Mark said. "Coach [Jeff] Quinn has no issue with talking football, but he also recognizes the importance of 'you can't play well on the field if you're not playing well off the field.' That was very much communicated in conversations that we've had."
The rising junior offensive lineman made an early commitment; there's no doubt about. So for Fisher to commit so early in the recruiting process, it just goes to show how comfortable he and his parents felt with offensive line coach Jeff Quinn, who Fisher has said is a father figure to him.
"I think [Quinn] is an all-around good guy," Erika explained. "When you have conversations with people as a parent, you are able to -- for the lack of a better term -- discern when there is genuineness and when there's not. With each conversation we had with Coach Quinn, he was consistent and he remained the same across the board. Never did we get an uneasy feeling.
"He treats all of his players as if they are his own. When you're allowing your kid to play at the collegiate level, you're really giving those coaches the opportunity to be at the forefront. At that point in time, they're going to be the focal point of your child's life because they're spending so much time with them. I feel that Coach Quinn has a genuineness not only for Blake, but his other players. He teaches them on the field but he has a plan for them to be good, productive citizens as fathers, as sons, as husbands. He wants the best for them and he was consistent from the initial conversation to the initial visit we had with him to the day Blake committed. We feel very comfortable with him and allowing Blake to play for Notre Dame under his leadership."
"Every time we talked to Coach Quinn, it was not about football," added Mark. "That was phenomenal, for him to be able share as a man, as a father, as a son, as a brother, and then as a coach -- you don't get that very often. We got to see the whole ecosystem, if you will, for Coach Quinn ... I can respect a real man like Coach Quinn to have my son go and play for him. He was real; he was genuine. I look forward to continuing to build a great relationship with him as we move forward."
Fisher gave his commitment to the Irish on Father's Day weekend. His father noted that his son's commitment was the best Father's Day gift he's ever had. Committing to Notre Dame that weekend wasn't necessarily in the plans though.
"We went to Notre Dame for Blake to participate in the O-Line camp. That was the goal," his father said. "We had other schools on the docket to visit. We were not at all in a place to make a commitment that weekend."
However, the visit went so well that Blake, Erika, and Mark all knew that Notre Dame was the place for him to commit, so why wait?
"You could tell with the atmosphere and how everything was rolling," Mark said. "We decided as a family among the three of us that yes this was Blake's decision, but all three of us were a part of the decision. Blake had the 'wink' and he passed it along. When he got our 'winks' to move forward, that's when Coach Quinn was informed. We were right on board with Blake."
The Notre Dame community -- not just the football program -- is adding a fantastic young man to its family.
"Blake has a big heart," Mark stated. "He has a willing heart to go the extra mile to help people out wherever he can. Blake loves to have fun. Blake loves to be challenged. He is that kid who is willing to do what it takes to get the job done, especially when someone said it can't be done. That's just how Blake is wired. He's filled with questions; nothing is ever settled in him when you give him a 'no.' He needs to understand the backend story as to why it got to where it is. He is a genuine, God-fearing, and big hearted young man."
"He has a big personality," Erika added. "His smile lights up a room. Probably the biggest thing about Blake that I really love as a parent is that he loves the Lord. He loves his church. Blake puts our faith in God in his life. He prays daily; he asks God to guide him in his decision making. That goes a long way. As a parent, when your child moves away to college, you just hope that the things you instilled in them as a parent will remain. Blake has always been the child the child to lend a hand to those in need. He's a fun guy with a big heart and a bigger smile and personality to go with it."
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