Quality Notre Dame visit for 2016 OL recruit Tommy Kraemer
The last time Tommy Kraemer saw a game in Notre Dame Stadium, former Cincinnati Elder product Kyle Rudolph was catching passes as an Irish tight end.
Kraemer’s return Saturday came with a much different perspective. Kraemer’s now the highly-touted prospect at Elder. The 6-foot-5, 308-pound offensive lineman watched from the recruit section as Notre Dame blanked Michigan 31-0.
“It was awesome,” Kraemer said. “Now I could really soak in everything. I looked at the atmosphere and student sections. The place was electric. There was no dull moment in the stadium at all.”
Kraemer made a full day out of his South Bend visit. He arrived early in the afternoon and had a long talk with offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, took a campus tour and was part in the recruit walk into the stadium before the game.
The recruiting knowledge of the fans surrounding the entrance to the stadium surprised Kraemer.
“To hear people yelling, 'Tommy Kraemer, come to Notre Dame,' I was shocked that people would know who a lineman was,” he said.
Kraemer’s description of himself might be a little modest. He’s not your average offensive lineman. A four-star rating from Rivals and 247Sports proves such. Rivals ranks him as the No. 3 offensive tackle in the 2016 class. 247Sports slates him No. 8 at the position. Watch highlights of Kraemer's sophomore season here.
Similar quality of talent in the 2016 class surrounded Kraemer at the game Saturday. He spent time talking with five-star quarterback target Malik Henry, four-star tight end target Jake Hausmann and four-star defensive end prospect Prince Sammons. Both Hausmann (Moeller) and Sammons (Cincinnati Hills Christian) play in the Cincinnati area like Kraemer.
Kraemer also met offensive linemen Jerry Tillery and Tristen Hoge, the first two recruits to commit to Notre Dame’s 2015 class.
“They're really personable, good guys,” Kraemer said. “They're guys I think I could really play with in the future."
Kraemer could become the first verbally committed member of the 2016 Irish class if he chose to give his pledge to head coach Brian Kelly soon. Despite having previously named Notre Dame, Ohio State, Northwestern, Boston College and Duke as his top five schools, Kraemer didn’t indicate a decision on the horizon.
A return trip to Notre Dame for the Oct. 4 game against Stanford already sits on Kraemer’s schedule. He’s unsure if and when visits to other schools will occur.
"Right now I'm trying to figure all that stuff out,” Kraemer said. “Which school has this? What schools don't? I'll definitely be using things from my past visits to question other schools."
Kraemer does know which factor will weigh heavily on his impending decision.
“The main thing is my relationship with the offensive line coach,” Kraemer said. “I really like coach Hiestand. We've become a lot closer throughout this process. That's what I'm basing it on. If you don't have a good line coach, it's going to be a rough four years. That's the main thing I'm looking at."
It would be hard to argue with the product Kraemer saw on the field on Saturday. Notre Dame cruised against Michigan and dominated most aspects of the game.
“I thought it would be a little bit closer of a game being a big rivalry, Kraemer said. “They came out and shut them out right away. I was really impressed. It was a good thing to see."
The Irish victory capped a nearly perfect visit for Kraemer.
“It was all great,” he said. “I don't think the day could have gone any better."
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