Why Marcus Freeman Believes Notre Dame Is The 'Most Amazing Job' In Country
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Why Marcus Freeman Believes Notre Dame Is The ‘Most Amazing Job’ In Country

How close was Notre Dame defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to wearing purple and gold instead of blue and gold? Very close. As close as it can get, really.

Freeman spent over an hour on former Notre Dame (1987-90) nose guard and College Football Hall of Fame inductee Chris Zorich’s podcast this week. The two talked at length about Freeman’s upbringing and football career. They also touched on the topic of Freeman’s defensive coordinator courtship this past winter.

Freeman was heavily pursued by some of college football’s biggest brands after guiding Cincinnati to the No. 8 scoring and No. 13 total defense in the country last season, his fourth year with the Bearcats. LSU and Notre Dame were at the top of Freeman’s list. He visited the latter first and was ready to sign on Irish head coach Brian Kelly’s dotted line right away.

“I wanted to jump in, but I told my wife, ‘Listen, we have to go to LSU. We already said that’s what we’re going to do,’” Freeman said on The Zorich Podcast.

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That’s when things got interesting.

“They rolled out the carpet,” Freeman said of LSU. “They made it the dream 24, 48 hours. And they said, ‘Listen. You can’t get on that plane until you give us an answer.’ I said, whew, whew. I was close. But then I said, ‘Hold on, man. I’m 34 years old. I’m 34 with a wife. You’re not going to pressure me like I’m 18.’”

Freeman said he told LSU head coach Ed Orgeron he needed 24 hours to think about his decision. Kelly called Freeman in that span, and the two talked about financial concerns. Freeman said Kelly told him that money would not be an issue.

“We will do whatever it takes to get you here,” Freeman said Kelly told him.

With his salary not being a concern at either option, Freeman said he “looked for every reason to say no to Notre Dame.”

“But there was nothing,” Freeman said. “It was just like Notre Dame, Notre Dame. Honey, we’re going to Notre Dame. And that’s what we did.”

Freeman believes Notre Dame is the most amazing job in the country.
Freeman believes Notre Dame is the most amazing job in the country. (Notre Dame athletics)

Freeman said he uses his own experience in landing at Notre Dame as a recruiting tool.

“I know these kids can come here, they can get the facts. And if they want to jump in now let’s do it or if they want to go home and think about it — Notre Dame is going to win,” Freeman said. “Notre Dame is going to win. I saw it happen with a kid. I can’t use his name, but I wish I could. It happened with a kid recently that went to a place and called us and said, ‘Coach, I think I’m going to go to this place.’ I’m like, ‘You just got home. Relax. What do you mean?’

"He said, ‘No Coach. This is a dream. This is where I want to be.’ I said, ‘Listen. Give us 24 hours. Let us talk to you. Decompress. Let’s talk tomorrow.’ The kid called us later in the week, we talked a couple more times that week. And he said, ‘Coach, I don’t know what I was thinking. I’m coming to Notre Dame.’ Bam. The facts of Notre Dame, it takes over when you give it thought.”

A graduate of Ohio State, the Notre Dame experience has broadened Freeman’s horizons in the half-year he has spent with the program. He said he used to believe a recruit couldn’t go wrong in choosing between the likes of his alma mater, Alabama, Clemson, LSU or any other top tier programs.

But Freeman has now been around the culture of class and top of the line academics long enough to tell a difference between Notre Dame and those other options. That’s what sold him on choosing the Irish over the Tigers, and that’s the pitch he’ll continue to use on prospective players who are looking for a place that offers the total package.

“I wouldn’t have said this five months ago until I sat in this chair; I believe this is the most unique, amazing job in the country,” Freeman said. “You can truly offer a kid here that nobody else in the country can. We just have to be able to explain it to these young people in the right way.”

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