Notre Dame commit Fertitta shows improvement

TYLER JAMES
South Bend Tribune

Nicco Ferttita wanted to show Notre Dame’s coaching staff his new tricks.

The 2015 Irish safety commit chose to compete in Friday night’s Irish Invasion camp rather than watch from the sidelines. He wanted to reassure the ND staff on the decision to recruit the undersized three-star prospect.

“My man coverage is so much better,” Fertitta said. “Compared to my film from last year and my camp film from this year, I'm a whole new player.”

Fertitta showed his improvement in one-on-one drills in which the Irish coaches matched him up against 2016 tight end target Jake Hausmann. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Fertitta held his own against the 6-5, 230-pound Hausmann.

"It was fun going against him,” Fertitta said. “One time, he was a little bit too big and I got underneath him and I couldn't really get to the ball."

He pulled down one interception while diving backwards away from Hausmann to corral an errant pass. It was a performance Fertitta walked away from with pride.

"The coaches after the camp were really excited,” Fertitta said. “They said that I did really good and jumped ahead a little bit. I don't think they knew my man coverage skills were that good.”

Fertitta also had a chance to watch 2015 cornerback commit Shaun Crawford in person for the first time. The two could end up working together in a future Irish secondary.

“He was a really cool guy,” Fertitta said. “I loved talking to him. He looked really good out there. He had an interception and was locking people down. He's a really explosive, fast kid. It was pretty cool working with him."

The visit marked Fertitta’s first time meeting the majority of his fellow commits on campus for the weekend. He and the rest of the group are working to improve their recruiting class and future ones.

"I talked to Malik Henry a lot,” Fertitta said. “He's a 2016 quarterback. I think he would be big time at Notre Dame. Then the (2015) running back, Jacques Patrick, I talked to him a little bit before the camp. When he walked into the room, I thought he was a linebacker.”

The trip from Las Vegas for Notre Dame’s first Irish Invasion camp was well worth Fertitta’s time.

"I thought it was a really cool experience,” he said. “It was fun to do some drills with guys that I'll end up playing with and being out there competing in front of the coaches.”

Helpful for Hausmann

Jake Hausmann was perfectly content with the two-hour Irish Invasion camp.

Other camps the 2016 tight end target from Cincinnati has attended have lasted up to six hours.

“After those camps, you can't walk because you're running around so much,” Hausmann said. “It's good that they shortened it. I got as much out of it as I would in those six hours.”

Hausmann, a four-star prospect ranked as the No. 6 tight end in the 2016 class by 247Sports, showed why the Irish coaching staff has already offered the junior-to-be at Archbishop Moeller.

“I did pretty well,” he said. “The first part was the learning stuff — learning how to block and the routes on air. Then we did one-on-ones. I think I did pretty good on that.”

For most of the one-on-one session, Hausmann matched up against Fertitta. Hausmann enjoyed that the Irish coaching staff repeatedly put him against one of the best recruits at the camp.

“That was pretty cool. He's a good player. We were battling out there,” Hausmann said. “Once you catch the ball, he's all up in you trying to get it out right away. He's a good competitor.”

The trip to Notre Dame, his first, was about more than the two hours of camp. Hausmann arrived in South Bend shortly after noon on Friday. He spent the day meeting with coaches and taking a tour of campus.

"It was beautiful,” Hausmann said. “I’m from a small Catholic school, and I can definitely see myself at Notre Dame because of all the similarities they have."

Defensive line coach Mike Elston, who recruits in Ohio for Notre Dame, has already established a strong relationship with Hausmann. It was only strengthened on the visit.

"I love the coaching staff. Coach Elston is awesome,” Hausmann said. “He's a real down-to-Earth guy. (Tight ends) coach (Scott) Booker's a great coach too. I talked to coach Brian Kelly a little bit. He knows what he wants and gets it. I look for that in a coach. He's a real good guy."

Hausmann planned to return to Notre Dame on Monday to learn more about the school, then head to Northwestern for a visit. A trip to Wisconsin on Tuesday remained an option as well.

Friday’s camp at Notre Dame set the bar for the upcoming visits.

“It was awesome,” Hausmann said. “There wasn't any messing around trying to draw it out. They made it quick and gave me some good advice. I learned a lot from those two hours."

TJames1@SBTinfo.com ¦ 574-235-6214 ¦ Twitter: @TJamesNDI

2015 safety commit Nicco Fertitta, right, and tightend target Jake Hausmann during Irish Invasion football camp on Friday, June 20, 2014, at Notre Dame. (SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)
2015 safety commit Nicco Fertitta during Irish Invasion football camp on Friday, June 20, 2014, at Notre Dame. SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN
2016 tight end target Jake Hausmann during Irish Invasion football camp on Friday, June 20, 2014, at Notre Dame. SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN