Brock Bowers’ inaugural recruiting trip to South Bend meant John McNulty delivering his first in-person pitch as Notre Dame’s new tight ends coach.
McNulty, officially hired on Monday, contacted the four-star tight end in the 2021 recruiting class earlier this week to introduce himself and reaffirm his two-day visit plans. Bowers left Thursday with a solid first impression of McNulty, who spent more time with him than any other Irish assistant.
“I like him. He seems very knowledgeable,” said Bowers, who caught 39 passes for 1,098 yards and 14 touchdowns in nine games as a junior at Napa (Calif.) High. “He’s very even-keeled and a super level-minded coach. He said that they would love to have me.”
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Bowers wondered if Notre Dame would express interest in him at linebacker. He recorded 25 tackles, eight tackles for a loss, one sack and a forced fumble as a two-way player last season. Notre Dame’s class of eight verbal pledges also already includes a tight end — Hartwell (Ga.) Hart County’s Cane Berrong.
The Irish coaching staff project Bowers on offense, though, and would pair him with Berrong if scholarship space permits. 247Sports’ evaluation of Bowers reflects Notre Dame’s preference, ranking him as its No. 2 tight end and No. 52 overall player this class. Rivals also project Bowers on offense, pegging him No. 6 at the position and No. 106 overall.
“They also said that if I got there and it’s just not working out,” Bowers said, “they would put me on the other side of the ball if they wanted to.”
Council Bluffs (Iowa) Lewis Central’s Thomas Fidone Jr. represents Notre Dame’s other uncommitted tight end option. He plans to visit South Bend for the first time on April 1. Bowers and Fidone accrued their Irish scholarship offers in October and January, respectively.
Bowers appears far from a commitment decision but said he considers Notre Dame as a top school.
“The people were great. They all had the same goals as me,” Bowers said. “(Notre Dame) is definitely one of those schools that I want to visit again. Georgia and Notre Dame are up there. Tomorrow, I’m going to Penn State. After that, I’m going to Michigan. Some PAC-12 schools like UCLA, Oregon and Washington are up there, too.”
Quarterback Ian Book, a product of El Dorado Hills (Calif.) Oak Ridge, connected with Bowers over dinner about how he also lived near Sacramento. That Bowers would consider Notre Dame, Georgia, Penn State and Michigan as contenders shows his openness to leaving the West Coast like Book did.
Notre Dame landing Bowers will likely require McNulty pushing for him and receiving an official visit.
“He kind of had the same experience that I’ve had,” said Bowers of Book. “The distance thing, that can be a factor for some people. Having good people around and a good location (are my priorities). A good location that I’d want to live in outside of football and school.”