Chicago OL and lifelong Notre Dame fan Pat Coogan commits to his favorite school

Carter Karels
South Bend Tribune

To his delight, Pat Coogan knows the man on the accordion.

Tim Kennedy, a longtime neighbor of the three-star offensive lineman, tweeted a celebration of Coogan’s commitment to Notre Dame. In response to Coogan’s tweet announcing his verbal pledge on Wednesday, Kennedy posted a video of himself playing the Notre Dame Victory March on his accordion.

“That was hilarious. It was awesome,” Coogan said. “He has two younger girls who are twins. I’ve gone to school with them since preschool, and I go to (Chicago) Marist with them. That was really cool. We’ve known them forever.”

Coogan grew up as an Irish fan in Chicago surrounded by influences like Kennedy. So LSU, Ohio State, Texas A&M and Oklahoma offering Coogan scholarships in the last three weeks didn’t deter him from committing to his favorite school.

Irish offensive coordinator Tommy Rees and offensive line coach Jeff Quinn learned of Coogan’s decision via a video call on Zoom. As the geographic recruiter for Chicago, Rees did most of the legwork on Coogan’s recruitment and offered him a scholarship on March 26.

“Just the opportunity that they provide beyond the football field is very important to me,” Coogan said. “It was a huge impact on my decision. I know I want to live in the Chicago area. When I graduate, a Notre Dame degree will do a lot for me in that area.”

A return trip to campus before committing wasn't necessary. Coogan had been to South Bend countless times throughout childhood. He attended a Notre Dame recruiting camp last summer, and the Sept. 14 ND-New Mexico game. 

The Irish project the 6-foot-5, 275-pound Coogan as an interior offensive lineman. Avon (Ind.) High offensive tackle Blake Fisher represents their other offensive line pledge in the 2021 class. Coogan's addition brought Notre Dame to eight commitments overall.

247Sports ranks Coogan as its No. 55 offensive guard in the 2021 class, while Rivals pegs him as its No. 36 offensive tackle. Notre Dame’s class ranks No. 5 and No. 7 nationally on Rivals and 247Sports, respectively.

“I like him. He’s a workman-like, steady offensive lineman,” said Tom Lemming, a recruiting analyst for CBS Sports Network. “He could play inside. He could play guard. He’s a good player and a good athlete.”

Notre Dame missed on one of its top three offensive line targets, Landon Tengwall. The four-star tackle verbally committed to Penn State last month. But the Irish are in prime position to land Rocco Spindler, a four-star interior offensive lineman from Clarkston (Mich.) High.

Magnolia (Texas) High’s Matthew Wykoff and Ocala (Fla.) Trinity Catholic’s Caleb Johnson are two offensive tackles expected to take official visits to South Bend in June, if visits are allowed at that point.

Coogan joined Fisher’s efforts in recruiting Spindler shortly after his announcement. Spindler also considers Michigan and Penn State as top schools. Whether Spindler committing to Notre Dame would trigger another viral accordion video remains to be seen.

“Me and Rocco have a good relationship already,” Coogan said. “To get him to Notre Dame would be awesome. I’m going to try my best to do that.”

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Chicago Marist’s Pat Coogan, a three-star offensive lineman in the 2021 recruiting class, reported a Notre Dame scholarship offer on March 26 and has verbally committed to the Irish.