LB recruit Tristan Sinclair has seen everything he needs from Notre Dame

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

FRISCO, Texas — Tristan Sinclair learned a lot during his official visit to Notre Dame, including the fact that his ping pong game isn’t up to snuff.

The Irish linebacker recruit said he couldn’t hang in an impromptu tournament with the defensive linemen at associate head coach Mike Elston’s house on June 24.

“I’m not as good,” Sinclair said with a laugh.

His failure at the ping pong table didn’t put a damper on the weekend. Sinclair appreciated the chance to get to know Notre Dame’s players and coaches better.

“The thing that sticks out to me about Notre Dame is the people,” Sinclair said. “The people are amazing. The players and coaches, you can tell they’re really invested, and they love the program. They’re just great people.”

The Irish hold the 6-foot-2, 199-pound product of Danville (Calif.) San Ramon Valley in similar esteem. He’s one of the top remaining priorities for defensive coordinator Clark Lea’s linebacker unit.

Much like Irish linebacker commits Osita Ekwonu and Jack Kiser, Sinclair would bring valuable versatility and athleticism to the position. Sinclair has been pitched on the opportunity of playing rover with the potential to moving inside if he outgrows the position.

Sinclair is intrigued at the chance of filling the hybrid linebacker/safety role.

“It’s a really interesting position, because I like playing all over the field,” Sinclair said. “At my school, I play strong safety. It’s kind of similar. You’ll see me in a deep third (coverage), you’ll see me in the box, you’ll see me on the edge rushing. I’m used to playing all over. I think I’m ready for that spot.”

247Sports slates Sinclair as a four-star recruit and the No. 18 athlete, a designation for recruits who can play multiple positions, in the 2019 class. Rivals rates him as a three-star recruit and the No. 27 outside linebacker.

At The Opening Finals, Nike’s gathering of the top recruits nationally, Sinclair has been playing linebacker. With his natural coverage ability, it’s a good opportunity for Sinclair to show his talent in the seven-on-seven tournament that started Monday night. Because the recruiting calendar is in a dead period until July 24, the event could be a chance to get away from the recruiting process. But Sinclair said that hasn’t necessarily been the case.

“It kind of follows you everywhere,” Sinclair said. “The coaches kind of leave you alone, but the players don’t. The players are after you. (Stanford running back commit) Austin Jones has been in my ear. (Notre Dame safety commit) Kyle Hamilton, I’ve been hanging out a lot with him too. They’re all in my ear about it.”

Sinclair said he plans to make an unofficial visit to USC at the end of July. Stanford may also receive another visit. The Cardinal are a perceived favorite because Sinclair’s father, Andy, played offensive line at Stanford in the ‘80s.

But it’s important to Sinclair to give every school a fair chance.

“I try not to be biased at all,” Sinclair said. “Obviously I have a great love for Stanford, but I’m a big Notre Dame fan too. and Cal as well. So I try to be unbiased in everything. You could say it plays a factor because I’m so used to the program. But I wouldn’t say it plays a huge factor in my decision.”

Notre Dame may be the only school with a realistic chance for Sinclair outside of the state of California, but that doesn’t mean distance will be a factor. He’s already experienced a taste of the long winters in South Bend. When he made an unofficial visit April 4, it snowed on campus.

“Everyone was like, ‘Oh, it’s cold.’ That stuff doesn’t really impact my decision at all,” Sinclair said. “If you’re worried so much about weather, it’s nothing that should be a factor in your decision at all.”

Notre Dame likely won’t get another chance to host Sinclair again before he makes a commitment. But the Irish have already answered all the questions he has about the program and school.

“I’ve seen everything. I know so much about it now,” Sinclair said. “I met all the people, the coaches. I’m just going to wait it out a little longer and check off all the boxes for all the other schools, and then I’ll make my decision from there.”

Notre Dame is trying to pull linebacker Tristan Sinclair away from the California colleges hoping to keep him in his home state.
Notre Dame is trying to pull linebacker Tristan Sinclair away from the California colleges hoping to keep him in his home state.