Notre Dame OL commit Cole Mabry found fit in first visit to South Bend

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Cole Mabry arrived on Notre Dame’s campus last Friday with few expectations.

The 6-foot-6, 270-pound offensive lineman hoped to see the facilities, meet some of the current players and coaches and learn where he stood with the Irish moving forward.

He couldn’t have predicted that he would receive a scholarship offer on Saturday and verbally commit to the coaching staff three days later.

"I had no idea what was going to happen, but I'm glad they did offer,” Mabry said Wednesday.

“I'm glad to be committed there."

It didn’t take Mabry, a 2018 recruit from Brentwood (Tenn.) High, long to settle on his decision.

“After the weekend was over, I was super pumped up thinking I wanted to go there. But I really didn't want it to be an emotional decision,” Mabry said. “So I waited a few days and still felt that was the right for me. So I just went ahead and committed."

Mabry had been to plenty of campuses before, but a scholarship offer didn’t always come along with it. In fact, only four schools had extended offers before Notre Dame: Memphis, Indiana, Colorado State and Cincinnati.

With nearly a full year until the 2018 signing day, more offers were almost certainly going to come Mabry’s way — especially after Irish offensive line coach Harry Hiestand showed that he coveted him. But Mabry didn’t see any reason to wait to see what other offers may come.

"I definitely thought about that,” Mabry said. “I've been to a lot of schools, and I was thinking, 'If I could trade this offer for any one in the country, I don't think I would trade it for anywhere.' That was kind of the moment that I knew I was ready."

Mabry’s previous visits included trips to Auburn, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. His visit to Notre Dame was sandwiched by Purdue on Friday and Indiana on Sunday.

“I weighed them against Notre Dame, and I thought Notre Dame was better in pretty much every aspect,” Mabry said.

Mabry’s favorite part of Notre Dame’s campus was the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

“They took us inside, and I was kinda blown away,” he said. “It was just amazing."

He spent time getting to know some of the Notre Dame’s 2018 commits and hung out with some the Irish offensive linemen after the men’s basketball game on Saturday night. Junior Alex Bars, Notre Dame’s last offensive line recruit from Tennessee, served as his host.

Like many of Hiestand’s recruits, Mabry found a camaraderie with the Irish offensive linemen. He saw a group he wanted to join.

"That influenced my decision,” Mabry said. “They're all great guys. I fit in well with them."

Any movement in Mabry’s recruiting ranking in his final year of high school will be worth tracking. His three-star rating is a rarity for Hiestand’s commitments. Eight of the last 10 offensive linemen to sign with Notre Dame have been rated at least a four-star prospect by both Rivals and 247Sports.

Both recruiting services currently rate Mabry as a three-star recruit. 247Sports slates him as the No. 42 offensive tackle in the 2018 class. Rivals did not include him in its latest list of the top 30 offensive tackles in the class.

None of the numbers matter for Mabry. He found what he was looking for at Notre Dame and the feeling was mutual.

"I really just wanted to find the right fit for me,” Mabry said. “I was willing to drag (my recruitment) out or let it go short just to find that right fit.”

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Offensive lineman Cole Mabry, a three-star recruit in the 2018 class, reported a Notre Dame offer on Feb. 11, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Rivals)