Friends Kurt Hinish, David Adams make Notre Dame pledge

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

Kurt Hinish and David Adams decided to commit to Notre Dame at a rest stop just off a long stretch of highway between South Bend and Pittsburgh.

Google Maps will tell you the drive takes approximately five and a half hours. It slices horizontally through Ohio, a straight shot on Interstate 80 that just misses Toledo, Cleveland and Youngstown on its way. The trip from Hinish’s house to nearby Pittsburgh or Penn State pales in comparison.

Turns out, he had to travel a little bit farther to find a second home.

“There was a lot of pressure from people outside of school, kids at school,” Hinish said. “What they all said was, ‘Go to Pitt,’ or, ‘Go to Penn State. Stay local.’ I would tell all of them, ‘I’m going to go to the place that fits me right.’ Notre Dame is that place for me.”

The 6-foot-3, 283-pound defensive tackle came to that conclusion during Notre Dame’s Junior Day weekend, his first visit to his second home. He toured the campus. He met the coaching staff.

He did it all with Adams — a four-star inside linebacker, a teammate and his best friend. At Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School, their lockers are situated next to each other. They eat lunch together. They won a state title together.

It stands to reason that they would visit — and fall in love with — Notre Dame together.

“I thought I was going to go up there and think, ‘Oh, this place is all right.’ But I went up there and I was completely blown away,” Hinish said. “It felt like home. It was a dream come true to go up there with my family and my best friend.”

"I've always liked ND and every visit it impressed me more and more," added Adams, one of the top inside linebackers in the country, who claims nearly 30 scholarship offers. "The academics are elite, the football is elite and just the overall situation was perfect for me."

The Hinish and Adams families better get used to the drive. At a rest stop following their junior day visit, the Pittsburgh pair abruptly ended their recruitment.

“I think I know where I want to go to school,” Hinish said.

“I think I know where I want to go to school, too,” Adams responded.

“Are we going to Notre Dame?”

“We’re going to Notre Dame.”

On March 20, the day after his visit, Adams announced his commitment. Less than 24 hours later, Hinish followed suit.

"It feels amazing," Adams said. "It's a dream come true for us to play college ball together. We can't wait."

Together, the duo may provide an element the Irish sorely need.

“To take that final step to a national title, Notre Dame needs to recruit impact players on defense,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “Adams is a typical Penn State-type linebacker — physical, quick to the ball and a team leader. Kurt Hinish is an athletic defensive tackle. He’s not as big as some of the other big-name guys nationally, but very effective.”

Ask Hinish, and he’ll link that effectiveness to his attitude. It’s why Penn State, Pittsburgh, Baylor, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Tennessee and many more programs offered him scholarships before he settled on Notre Dame.

“I play old school, blue collar football,” the consensus three-star prospect said. “That’s the way it’s supposed to be played. I play to the whistle. I get off the ball very well. I use my hands. I’m mean. I play old-school football with the intangibles of a modern day defensive lineman.”

He does it all with Adams, his best friend — first at Central Catholic, next at Notre Dame. From road trips to rest stops to cafeterias to commitments, the defensive tackle and the middle linebacker continue to stick together.

“It’s a great feeling,” Hinish said. “It’s nice to have someone you can rely on, who can do their job just as good as you’re going to do yours. I know he’s going to get it done back there, and he knows I’m going to get it done up front. It’s nice to have that feeling.”

Happy birthday to my brother @David_Adams1335 not even blood could make us closer. Happy birthday, love you bro ❤️ pic.twitter.com/HnUp2YyGPd

— Kurt Hinish (@Hinish51) March 22, 2016

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Three-star defensive tackle recruit Kurt Hinish (left) visited Notre Dame for its junior day March 19, 2016. (Photo courtesy of Trib Total Media/Christopher Horner)