How Notre Dame closed on OL recruit Jarrett Patterson

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Jarrett Patterson spent the final days of his recruitment trying to sleep on his decision.

Every time he woke up, the senior offensive tackle recruit came up with the same answer: Notre Dame.

“Every morning I knew that's where I wanted to be,” Patterson said. “Tuesday night I called coach (Brian) Polian and coach (Jeff) Quinn, and I told them the news. They were both really excited for me and happy to have me in the family.”

The 6-foot-4, 280-pound product of Mission Viejo (Calif.) High finalized that decision by signing with the Irish on Wednesday. It marked the end of one of the most unconventional recruitments in Notre Dame’s 2018 class.

Patterson, a former Arizona State commit, received a scholarship offer from Notre Dame on Jan. 9. The next day, news broke that offensive line coach Harry Hiestand was leaving the program to rejoin the Chicago Bears. That left recruiting coordinator Brian Polian, who leads the Irish efforts on the West Coast, to try to recruit Patterson without an offensive line coach in place.

Mission accomplished. Despite UCLA and Michigan receiving serious consideration, Patterson made an official visit to Notre Dame the weekend of Jan. 20. On Jan. 23, Jeff Quinn was named the new offensive line coach.

“They told me to come out for a visit and see how I liked it,” Patterson said. “I decided to go on the visit when there was no O-line coach there. Coming back, I knew I liked the place. It was special.”

But Patterson still needed to meet Quinn. When that finally happened on an in-home visit, Quinn came prepared.

“I had an iPad in his living room talking about football,” Quinn said. “He didn’t want to talk about anything else at that point. Which was great.

“For me, personally, to have that ability to really demonstrate to him and show him and communicate to him who we are and what Notre Dame can do for him and what he can do for Notre Dame — that was a huge get for us.”

Patterson and Quinn got on the same page pretty quickly.

“He showed me different drills that he did,” Patterson said. “He talked about different techniques and how he would game plan. I knew he was a really smart guy. He knew what he was doing. That's who I want to be coached by."

But Notre Dame didn’t leave just Polian and Quinn to close on Patterson. He received an in-home visit from four Irish coaches — Polian, Quinn, head coach Brian Kelly and offensive coordinator Chip Long — on the penultimate day of the contact period last week.

"It was definitely exciting because I got to hear all of their opinions and takes on Notre Dame and the program and how they're going to get better next year and hopefully bring a championship soon to South Bend,” Patterson said. “Hearing what they had to say about their past coaching experiences, it was really interesting."

Patterson gave Notre Dame a fourth offensive lineman in the 2018 class. But he’s the only one of the group to receive a four-star rating from either Rivals or 247Sports. The other three offensive line signees are pegged as three-star prospects by both recruiting services.

247Sports slates Patterson as a four-star recruit and the No. 17 offensive tackle in the 2018 class. Rivals rates him as a three-star recruit and the No. 29 offensive tackle.

Notre Dame needed a fourth lineman in the class, and Patterson became a priority for Quinn.

“With my transition, it was one of the first people I wanted to get out there and meet and see more of,” Quinn said. “It was a great find for us and a great addition to our program.”

If not for Polian, the Irish might not have had the opportunity.

"(Polian) always answered every question 100 percent honest and full in detail,” Patterson said. “He made me comfortable with the process, and I was able to be confident in my decision to go to Notre Dame."

tjames@ndinsider.com

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Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Offensive lineman Jarrett Patterson signed with Notre Dame on National Signing Day. (Photo courtesy of Orange County Register/Leonard Ortiz)