OL recruit Foster Sarell sees 'a good thing going' at Notre Dame

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

A great college visit for an offensive lineman usually includes a good meal. So it’s no surprise that one of the highlights of Foster Sarell’s visit to Notre Dame in June was a dinner on campus.

Sarell, an elite recruit from Graham, Wash., met with offensive line coach Harry Hiestand at Legends of Notre Dame during his stay for the Irish Invasion. Even though Sarell was complimentary of the food, he was even more impressed by the company.

“It was amazing,” Sarell said. “I’m pretty sure coach Hiestand told just a couple linemen to meet us for dinner one night, and I think all 12 of them came. It’s awesome.”

The tight-knit group of Notre Dame’s offensive line became apparent to Sarell. Witnessing it in person rather than hearing about from Hiestand made a difference.

In the same way, Sarell gained a better understanding of what Hiestand could do for him as a coach. Meeting with him and discussing his coaching style with current Irish players helped bring Hiestand’s résumé to life.

“Everyone loves him,” Sarell said of Hiestand. “He’s super genuine with everything he tells you. He means what he tells you. He’s kind of a father figure to the O-line, which is a good deal when you’re halfway across the country. That’s been good.

“His technique’s amazing. He’s learned from some awesome O-line coaches, (former Irish coach) Joe Moore and the list goes on and on. His technique is believable, he’s a great man, and he’s just very genuine.”

Some of the same superlatives were thrown Sarell’s way after his performance at The Opening Finals in Beaverton, Ore., last week. He was named the MVP of the offensive line group that dominated against some of the country’s best defensive line recruits at Nike World Headquarters.

247Sports even moved the 6-foot-7, 304-pound Sarell up to the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2017 class following the camp. Rivals ranks Sarell as a four-star recruit and the No. 7 offensive tackle in the class.

Sarell’s visit to Notre Dame allowed the Irish to become a serious threat to pull him off the West Coast. Sarell said he hasn’t lined up future visits and doesn’t know when he’ll make a decision. But if he does choose to make official visits in the fall, Sarell said Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington would be at the top of his itinerary. Sarell also named Nebraska, UCLA, Michigan and Alabama as other programs he’s taking a serious look at.

Sorting through his options hasn’t been easy for Sarell. He described all the schools he’s interested in as “pretty awesome.” He’s just waiting for a gut feeling to tell him where to go.

“Definitely the feel would be a great thing,” Sarell said when asked what he’s looking for in a school. “Academics are a big thing. All those schools I’m looking at have pretty strong academics. With football, the O-line coach and my relationship with him, my relationship with the O-line coming in and the O-line that’s still there are probably a big deal too.”

Based on that list, the distance from home could be the biggest obstacle Notre Dame has to overcome in Sarell’s recruitment. One trip to South Bend turned the possibility into more of a reality. A second visit may be needed for a complete convincing.

“I love coach Hiestand. Coach (Brian) Kelly was great. The O-line boys were wonderful to me. They treated me well,” Sarell said. “I definitely enjoyed it. They have a good thing going over there.”

Ewell decision

Notre Dame could bolster the interior of its defensive line on Friday when four-star defensive tackle Darnell Ewell announces his commitment.

The 6-4, 295-pound product of Norfolk (Va.) Lake Taylor will share his decision in a ceremony at his high school at noon ET.

Ewell, who visited Notre Dame in June, will make a commitment to one of five schools: Notre Dame, Alabama, Clemson, Michigan or Ohio State.

Both Rivals and 247Sports peg Ewell as the No. 8 defensive tackle in the 2017 class.

tjames@ndinsider.com

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Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Notre Dame offensive line target Foster Sarell was recently named the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2017 class by 247Sports. (Photo courtesy of Nike)