Notre Dame football recruiting: Speed provides edge for Trumbetti

South Bend Tribune

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Andrew Trumbetti knew his speed would give him a distinct advantage.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound defensive end prospect would need it in order to fare well in the obstacle course setup in the Under Armour All-America Game Lineman Challenge.

The course, which included a tire flip, hurdles, a blocking sled, an agility chute and a 40-yard dash, favored an athletic player like Trumbetti, who spent part of his senior season at Northern Valley Regional High School in Demarest, N.J., playing running back. Wearing the No. 23 – which for the record, he didn’t choose – Trumbetti even looked like a jacked up tailback.

Trumbetti, who claims a 4.64 40-yard dash time, captured the title in the competition, but took more valuable lessons from the live practice drills throughout the week at the ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Kissimmee, Fla.

In a little more than a week, Trumbetti will enroll early and become a freshman at Notre Dame.

"I feel like this is a good test before I get there,” Trumbetti said. “I'm looking forward to competing against people that have been playing college football for two or three years. I'm excited to get better.”

Before taking on college offensive linemen, Trumbetti has been tested against some of the premier offensive tackle prospects in the country. He quickly learned that size and speed weren’t going to be enough to beat his opponent in one-on-one drills.

“It’s crazy. It’s been even better than I expected,” Trumbetti said.

“The first two days I thought I did really well. (Tuesday), I was trying to work more bull-rushing moves and then work a swim move or something off of it. I feel like I could bull-rush, but the move just wasn't there."

When tackles like KC McDermott (6-6, 301), Trevor Darling (6-5, 330) or even fellow Irish commit Alex Bars (6-6, 285) get their hands on a defensive end, it’s hard to shake loose. Trumbetti will start his masters class on countering offensive linemen when he arrives at Notre Dame.

“I need a little more practice flipping my hips and everything,” Trumbetti said. “Once I get that, I think I'll be fine. Until then, I still have to keep working."

In between the lessons on the field, Trumbetti has been getting to know some of his future teammates. A total of six Notre Dame commits – Trumbetti, Bars, offensive lineman Sam Mustipher, cornerback Nick Watkins, wide receiver Corey Holmes and tight end Tyler Luatua — will play in Thursday’s Under Armour All-America Game.

“We’ve had a great time together,” Trumbetti said. “You can tell there's a difference between the ones going to Notre Dame and the ones going elsewhere. We just have a good time together and we like each other."

Trumbetti also has developed a friendship with fellow defensive end commit Jay Hayes throughout their recruitment. Hayes, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native, visited Notre Dame with Trumbetti for the BYU game in November.

"He's awesome,” Trumbetti said. “He's real fun. I wish he was here. When we took our official together we had a great time. I can't wait to start working with him.”

Trumbetti will have a six-month head start on Hayes when he arrives with the rest of the eventual freshman class in June. In a matter of days, Trumbetti will become a member of the Irish. But he still has some work to do to complete early graduation.

"I have to write a research paper in like a day when I get back,” Trumbetti said. “It's going to be crazy. It's been real tough, but it's going to be worth it."

Penn State possibilities?

With reports of Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien leaving Happy Valley for the Houston Texans, a recruiting frenzy over the PSU commits will certainly follow.

The coaching change could give Notre Dame a second chance at defensive tackle Thomas Holley, who committed to Penn State less than a month ago.

Holley, a 6-4, 303-pound prospect, will also be playing in Thursday’s All-America game. He spoke with Rivals on Wednesday, telling the recruiting website he’ll remain committed to the Nittany Lions until the coaching shuffle settles. The status of defensive line coach Larry Johnson, who was reportedly named the interim head coach, would likely play a role, he said.

Holley also told Rivals that Notre Dame was one of a handful of schools to reach out to him since news of O’Brien’s departure started to spread.

The Irish have struggled to recruit at the defensive tackle position in the 2014 class, and Holley, a four-star prospect, would help fill the need. Rivals ranks Holley as the No. 3 defensive tackle and No. 63 overall. 247Sports slates him as the No. 5 defensive tackle.

The Irish were unable to set up an official visit from Holley in the fall.

Wide receiver DeAndre Thompkins, another former Notre Dame target, could be another Penn State commit to watch. The Irish, who continue to pursue slot wide receivers in the 2014 class, offered Thompkins last April before he committed to Penn State.

Thompkins remains committed to Penn State and slated to enroll early in January. Thompkins rates as a four-star wide receiver with a No. 24 ranking from 247Sports and No. 28 ranking from Rivals at the position. | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Defensive end Andrew Trumbetti will enroll at Notre Dame later this month. Photo courtesy of Under Armour.

What: Under Armour All-America Game

Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.

When: Thursday at 4 p.m. ET

Watch: ESPN



Team Nitro:

CB commit Nick Watkins (No. 6)

WR commit Corey Holmes (7)

WR target Isaiah McKenzie (9)

DE commit Andrew Trumbetti (23)

OL commit Sam Mustipher (54)

OL commit Alex Bars (70)

OL target Braden Smith (79)


Team Highlight:

TE commit Tyler Luatua (9)

S target JuJu Smith (9)

DT target Thomas Holley (55)