End of the line for Notre Dame OL target Foster Sarell

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Foster Sarell inflicts pain on defensive linemen with regularity.

Whether he’s shielding his quarterback from a pass rush or mowing down a defender to clear a path for his running back, Sarell tends to wear down his opponent. That’s why Rivals, 247Sports and Scout all peg him as the top high school offensive lineman in the entire 2017 class.

But when it comes to the recruiting process, Sarell is the one ready to tap out.

“Extremely,” Sarell responded when asked in a phone call how tiring the process has been. “I’m ready to be decided and be done with things.”

The end is indeed near for Sarell. The five-star tackle prospect will announce his college decision during the NBC broadcast of Saturday’s

U.S. Army All-American Bowl (1 p.m. EST). He will choose from one of five schools: Notre Dame, Stanford, Washington, Nebraska and USC.

Sarell took time during his week of preparation for the game to break down each of his finalists. The 6-foot-6, 311-pound product of Graham (Wash.) Kapowsin High would be a welcome addition to any recruiting class.

The home-state Huskies couldn’t have picked a better time to have an elite offensive lineman emerge from Washington. The opportunity to stay home and play for a national championship contender is always a hard one to beat in the recruiting world.

“I expected they were going to have a breakout year pretty soon, because the coaches are so good and they have good players,” Sarell said. “They have a good culture over there. And that’s exciting for them.”

As Stanford’s program regained prominence in the last decade, the Cardinal have successfully recruited top offensive linemen. Adding Sarell to its 2017 class would give Stanford a pair of five-star offensive tackles, with Walker Little already committed.

“They just have a really good program, and they run a lot of pro-style (offense),” Sarell said. “They have a great degree, and I enjoy the coaches there. It’s another good spot for me, just like the other four.”

Notre Dame has remained a contender for Sarell, despite its 4-8 season. The Irish hosted Sarell for two visits this past year — for the Irish Invasion in June and the Stanford game in October.

“(Offensive line) coach (Harry) Hiestand and the O-line guys there, the bond they have, the aura of Notre Dame and South Bend on game day,” Sarell said of the factors favoring the Irish.

Nebraska’s coaching staff, led by offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh and head coach Mike Riley, has also kept the Cornhuskers in the running.

“I have a great relationship with Coach Cav,” Sarell said. “He’s like my favorite person in the world. That’s a big deal with the fans at Nebraska and the game day experience there.”

Lastly, USC has made a late charge and has pushed the opportunity of early playing time.

“They’ve stressed how they need offensive linemen, so that’s always a good thing to hear,” Sarell said. “It’s always good to go in and have the opportunity to play early. They’re in Los Angeles, and there are a lot of good academic connections there. It’s desirable from that standpoint.”

All five schools had to squeeze in their final in-person recruiting pitch before the dead period began on Dec. 12. The commitment this weekend should wash away any signing day drama.

So does Sarell have a decision made in his mind?

“Pretty much, yes,” he said.

The world will know on Saturday.

tjames@ndinsider.com | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Five-star offensive lineman Foster Sarell will announce his college decision on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Army All-American Bowl)